“The expert in anything was once a beginner”. The tech giant, Bill Gates built his empire by starting with simple programming. Roger Federer started with learning how to hold a tennis racket. Mozart started with learning the basic piano chords. Name any elite expert; they started out with the basics. They were once a total noob. But how did they attain such great heights? How did they become a world class expert at a skill?
In the book Outliers, the author Malcolm Gladwell gives a detailed analysis of his study. He interviewed many violinists, pianists, hockey players, chess players and even mastermind criminals. He found that there was an emergence of similar pattern which made him come to the following conclusion:
People who dedicated around 4,000 hours into a skill were considered as teacher material. People with around 8,000 hours of practice were considered very good at something. But the people with around 10,000 hours of dedicated practice were the MASTER CLASS, THE ELITE WORLD CLASS.
What? Who are these master class people?
They are the elite and expert ones like Michael Jordan (Basketball), Roger Federer (Tennis), Mozart (Piano), Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.) and many others. They have dedicated more than 10,000 hours at a particular craft and have reached the pinnacle of a skill.
Here are the key takeaways from the book Outliers:
A] When you’re on the first few hours, stop expecting to be good.
When someone incurs loss at their first business, what do they usually say? “Oh God! Maybe I’m not good at this” and they quit. You start learning piano and after the first few hours of practice you can barely play a song perfectly. You just cannot expect to become Mozart with a few hours of practice. It’s gonna take time, it’s gonna take lots and lots of hours of dedication to become good at something. So, don’t quit in the first few hours of practice. Keep going. That’s the secret.
B] Talent is a Myth.
Come on! I’ve been told that people like Bill Gates are born with natural talent. Why does this Tejasvi say weird stuff like “Talent is a Myth”?
No! This was the conclusion from Gladwell’s study. He says that there is no such thing as talent. The level of achievement depends on factors like practice, mindset, passion and prior knowledge. For example, from his study, no one with around just 4,000 hours of practice were at the master class.
The extraordinary tech giant, Bill Gates used to spend hours and hours of programming whenever he had spare time. He went way past 10,000 hours thus making him able to build Microsoft.
But, is it all true? Does the 10,000 hour rule really work?
How to hack this rule?
First, let’s look at something interesting:
Okay. Now here are the four IMPORTANT HACKS you need to consider first:
A] PASSION MATTERS
You can spend hours and hours …and hours and hours working on some particular skill. But, if you’re not passionate about it, you cannot reach the master class. For example, if you’re working at a job you hate, even if you spend 10 years, you won’t get that desired promotion. You won’t be even close to the CEO level.
THE HACK: You’re going to pick up the skill early if you’re passionate about it rather than being forced to do something.
B] QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
- Smart work beats hard work: There are days when you’re super productive. Then there are days when you just don’t feel like doing anything. There are times when you do the work like an animal. But working smart is really, ten times better than working hard. Try some of the productive stuff which you can incorporate with your work and in life. I have written an intensive article on being super productive. Check it out here: How to increase productivity.
- Learn from others: You can get a mentor/coach to show you the road to success. You can read books to learn things from great people. Instead of making a mistake and figuring out the solution by yourselves, which other people already did, it’s better to learn from other people’s experience.
C] DELIBERATE PRACTICE
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice.”
Here’s an infographic I created. Check this out:
D] FORGET THE RULE UNTIL YOU BECOME AN ELITE
Why does the 10,000 hour rule matter to you when you’re getting lost at practicing something which you really love? You wake up in the morning and start working on your skill and you look up, it’s already 5pm in the evening; are you getting what I’m trying to say? Don’t keep track of time while following this rule.
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE RULE
The 10,000 hour rule is a statistical quantity. Yes, it is true that it roughly takes 10,000 hours to master a certain skill. But the rule doesn’t expect you to count each and every hour of your practice. You need to understand the reverse approach. i.e., by the time you become a world class expert you’d have spent around 10,000 hours of DEDICATED AND REGULAR PRACTICE. The key to reach the world class is to pour-in hours and hours of QUALITY TIME.
So, what’s stopping you from becoming a world class elite?