So I’ve come across a few articles this week which went through a number of concepts around time. One reference was about how in Malcolm Gladwell book Outliers, he believes that you must do something for 10,000 hours to get good at it. I find it interesting that all it could take is 10,000 hours. Or adversely what does not take 10,000 to be good at it? The other was a email subscription I have where the author spoke of a new movie where you had limited time and it centred around what you would do.
These two concepts, and the many other articles and blogs I read last week got me thinking about greatness. Being good at something is nice but being great at something is what we all long to do right? So based on the 10,000 hours you theoretically have to put in I set down the path of finding out just how hard it is to become great.
So first I had to break the 10,000 hours into days, months and years to see what this meant on a calendar.
- So if you could do the impossible and run at 24/7…
- You would need 417 days
- Which is just shy of 60 weeks
- And just over 1 year
- But this is not possible
- Then I though about hobbies and weekends
- This would take 6.86 years
- or 347 4 hours a weekends
- But what if you could get paid to become great?
- Now you have 1,250 days
- Which is 169 work weeks
- Or just over 3.25 years in a job
So when you look at the math it all seems so achievable right? Spend 3.25 years of your career focused on something and you be good at it right? But then again if your job is to answer phones or dig holes will you need 10,000 hours to become good or great at that? Now we all know that you will not have all your time to yourself. What about holidays, social commitments etc. So lets say that if you dedicate yourself to something for 4 years straight you will be good at it.
- Yet 3 questions remain in my mind:
- What have I spent 10,000 hours doing?
- Of those “things” what I am I good at?
- Which of these “things” benefit me, my future and well-being?
Then there are all this concepts that are nagging at me. I have driven a car, spoken words, walked or even programmed etc for 10,000 hours. I would say I am a good driver but would not know if I am great. I know that I can speak well and hold a conversation with the best of them but does that make me great at articulation? Ah but I can walk. I can walk well! Why can I walk well??
So, to get good at something then you need exposure to someone who is great at something. You need to be show the light. How else will you gain the experience. Just because I have driven a car for over 10,000 hours does not mean I can race rally cars tomorrow or drive in the Indy500! I am also excluding “naturals” from my thoughts as they just have the unfair advantage of being great already.
So now it all becomes a little clearer. If I have access to someone who is great at something and I have the capability to be great at something then all I need to do is put in the time under mentorship/leadership and I could be well on my way to greatness at what ever it is I am wiring at.
In the workplace you may have the opportunity to work with someone great who can mentor or guide you over 4 years and you could potentially become great at what ever it is you do right?