In Search of 10,000 Hours
Outliers’ author publicized the occurrence of the 10,000 Hours of Practice Rule that leads to extraordinary success. His examples include young performers such as musicians and athletes.
This Rule has been presented as evidence that hours of repetition and practice are necessary to succeed. It also implies that those who do not ‘stick to one thing’ will fail.
I am in the later group. I am curious and enjoy the thrill of exploring. My resume is filled with variety and diversity. I have completed multiple degrees and certifications though never at the top of the class.
Am I a failure? Have I been “…chasing my tail.” as accused by some?
In the process of evaluating my life accomplishments, I revisited the success Rule and wondered how long it would take to perform 10,000 hours. In order to grasp the concept of 10,000 hours, I needed to translate hours into everyday terms as a visual representation.
I chose the calendar because there are 24 hours in a day and the day forms an easily recognizable measurement.
10,000 hours converts into 417 calendar days
Who practices 24 hrs a day?
The Midwife in me immediately thought of infants and how they start breathing after birth. It is a new skill being practiced. After 417 days the infant is an expert at integrating air into its lungs and over its vocal chords.
“But,” you may protest, “All infant breathe. This is not an exceptional accomplishment.”
And I would disagree with you.
True all viable infants do 10,000 hours of breathing by 417 days. Maybe this is an unrecognized mastery of becoming human.
Are there other human achievements that are ignored because they are expected?
I decided to expand my inquiry to discover if the Rule could be retro-activated to detect an individual’s ‘extraordinary successes’, especially those not previously acknowledged.
My search criteria needed to be widened to capture a range of activities and ages. After all, the previously identified performers did not practice 24 hrs a day and they were all less than 30 years old.
I modified the Rule to a 10 years span so that 1,000 hours per year were required to satisfy the Rule.
Ten thousand hours over a 10 years span = 1,000 hrs/year
OR approximately 3 hrs/day for 10 years.
Using my own life experiences, I began searching for activities that fit the Modified Rule and would qualified as ‘extraordinary successes’. I was delighted with the initial results.
CERTIFICATE OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
My Extraordinary Successes
Parenthood, Spouse, Friend, Student, Midwife, Lover, Wage Earner
In addition, I can expand on any or all of my passions in the next 10 years to add to my repertoire of success. Writing is the top of my list.
My age, 60+ years, allows more opportunities for achieving expert status than as a 20 year old. It’s OK to take your time and savor life according to your own heartbeat.
What are your unrecognized expert accomplishments?
Identify a 10 years period in your life where you have performed a specific activity for at least 3 hours daily. If you have the advantage of mature age, you can modify your timeline as well.
Remember to CELEBRATE your successes.