Here is another thought about the 10,000 Hour Rule.
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000 Hour Rule in his book, Outliers. It is based on the work of Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson. The rule states that the key to reaching world-class expertise at something is to practice it for about 10,000 hours.
While 10,000 hours might be a good average, I suspect it would vary greatly between different fields of expertise.
In American culture, the average person works eight hours a day, five days a week, with about 20 off days a year. That’s 1,920 hours of work every year. So if you treat whatever you’re doing as a full-time job, you can achieve world-class mastery in about five years.
But we all know that isn’t necessarily true. I worked as a patent examiner for ten years, and I am not world-class at the job. At five years, around when I reached the 10,000-hour mark, I know that I was not that great at it.
I think this discrepancy is due to the number of people practicing in the field. In crowded fields like cooking, running a business, shuffling paperwork in an office, or any major sport, 10,000 hours is not enough. You might have to go up to 20,000 or 30,000 hours to reach mastery.
On the other hand, you can probably become a world-class grasshopper trainer, domino stacker, or cat walker with as little as 1,000 hours of practice.
It’s all about how much competition you have. If you’re the only one in the world doing something, then you are the best in the world at it.
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