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May 3rd 2023 - 10,000 hours

I'd heard of the 10,000-hour rule a few times but last night was the first time I properly read about it. I couldn't sleep and ended up reading some of Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers. In the book, he looks to redefine how we view success by looking at the conditions that create the people we see as successful in the world.

The 10,000-hour rule simply means that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practise in something to become a master of that thing. Gladwell talks about the Beatles and how they managed to cram in thousands of hours of live shows by performing in clubs in Hamburg that required them to play for 5,6,7 or 8 hours straight. Doing that consistently for years meant that by the time the Beatles enjoyed their major successes, they had clocked in way over 10,000 hours of practice. The Beatles didn't hussle or earn their time in Hamburg but instead go the opportunity via a random chance and a bit of luck.

Bill Gates had a similar experience. He was incredibly lucky to be sent to a school that not only had access to a computer but also resources that could allow him to spend hours and hours learning how the machine worked. By the time the personalised computer revolution came about he was in a prime position to take full advantage of the 10,000+ hours he'd crammed in as a kid.

Now I'd wondered about the 10,000-hour rule for myself a few times and how it might apply. If I assumed I was starting from 0 today and wanted to reach my 10,000 hours in 10 years, I'd need to do 1000 hours a year - which immediately sounds more doable. But breaking that down further means I'd have to do 20 hours a week or just under 3 hours a day. That's 3 hours every day for 10 years.

For someone who averages about 10 minutes a day, adding 2 hours and 50 minutes onto that is a bit of a tall ask. Is it something worth aiming for? Maybe. Will I aim for it? Not sure yet. I've known for a while that I need to increase the amount of time I spend writing at my desk. More often that not it becomes a question of what can I drop from my life to allow that to happen.


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