10,000 Hours

Nary a day goes by that I don’t hear someone mention the book Outliers in a blog post, podcast, or tweet.  The bit that’s most often mentioned is the idea that to truly master a skill requires about 10,000 hours of practice.  That works out to about 5 years of full-time work.

That sounds like a lot, but I think it seems reasonable.  I’ve always believed that be good at something, you have to do it at least every other day, and to be great it’s more like every day.

The easiest way to get really good or great at something is to start when you’re a kid.  Of course you don’t realize this when you’re a kid, sadly.  But when you’re a teenager you have lots of free time, so if you’re dedicated enough (or your parents are) then you can totally master a skill, like say playing a musical instrument, by the time you’re 20 or so.

It’s not always fun, especially when you’re first starting out, to practice something for hours on end week after week.  But the better you get, the more fun it gets, and the more opportunities it opens up for you.  And once you’re a working adult, it becomes much harder to find even one hour per day to practice any given thing, whereas kids often have multiple hours per day where they’re just sitting around being bored.

Posted by Anthony on reply

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