The second chapter in the new book Outliers is titled The 10,000-Hour Rule. Author Malcolm Gladwell shares his research that shows few people get to the top of their game without putting in at least 10,000 hours of preparation.
”The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.”
Whether it’s Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, the Beatles, Yo Yo Ma, Mozart, or Warren Buffet, it appears no one gets to the top without putting in their 10,000 hours. If you put in 40 hours a week, that’s 5 years. If you only find 20 hours a week to work on your area of excellence it will take 10 years. If you’re just squeaking out 5 hours a week – it’s going to take 40 years. Talent will only take you so far; it’s the hours of work that will separate you from the pack.
The problem is that we have become an “instant” society. We have been spoiled with email, cell phones and microwaves – and become impatient with the nanosecond required to load a new web page. College graduates expect the $100,000 job and the $500,000 house instantly. Talented musicians and athletes expect fame and fortune long before investing 10,000 hours in practice. Writers give up after writing their great novel in a weekend and after a month of searching for a publisher. Christians are often confident their idea came from God, thus assuming success will be easy and instantaneous.
So where have you put in your 10,000 hours? If you are in a job that you hate, have you been investing hours in an area of excellence that will give you a new opportunity? Or do you just waste the hours away from work, hoping for something more fulfilling to appear? If you are a writer, a musician, a landscape designer, a web designer or a husband, have you put in your 10,000 hours of concentrated preparation to be great in that area?
I trust this is an encouraging bit of information. You don’t have to regret having average talent, or not having the highest IQ, or being born into the wrong family. Just find your area of excellence and put in 10,000 hours of preparation. You’ll bypass those with more “advantages” and find success that others only dream of.