Saturday, September 17, 2011

Axiom 11: 10,000 Hours to the Job of Your Dreams

"There is no substitute for hard work." -Thomas Edison

"The daily grind of hard work gets a person polished" -Unkown

There is a book that was published in 2008 called Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell. In the book Gladwell examines an earlier study by Anders Ericsson known as The 10,000 Hour Rule.

The 10,000 hour rule states that people who have become extremely successful in what they do all share one thing in common: 10,000 hours or more of experience in their craft. It is practice, not luck, that distinguishes the best and brightest. (I should also point out that 10,000 hours doesn't guarantee greatness either, it just give you a shot at it.) 

Why the number 10,000? Because that's about how long it takes a person to not only hone their skills but to also work through all possible scenarios and problems. By the time a person reaches 10,000 hours of experience there are very few problems that can occur that they haven't worked through before.

This news may be a depressing realization that your dreams are a little further away than you might have thought. That's why I'm here to help with some suggestions.

Here's how to use the 10,000 hour rule to your advantage:
  • Write a summary of all of the skills, hobbies, and experiences you already have. Dig deeper than just job titles you've had. If you were a car salesman, for example, you have experience in negotiations, contracts, etc. You may be able to parlay those skills into other things. You may be closer to 10,000 hours than you think.
  • Take up a hobby. 20 hours a week will be 10,000 hours in 10 years. Not a huge commitment if you are having fun in the process.
  • If you have worked full time for 5 years you already have 10,000 hours of experience in something. What is it?

Sadly there are no shortcuts when it comes to hard work. I've seen many dreamers give up after exerting minimal effort with no results. Great success comes only after hard work. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your dreams.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th - 10 Years Later

Wow, has it really been 10 years? It seems like just yesterday...

It was a Tuesday morning. I was going to the University of Texas at Arlington at the time. I had just turned 21 a few months prior, and a week before I did my last college radio show. Looking back it seemed like such an innocent time before 9/11.

I had a class from 8am until 9:20 that morning. I was a public relations major and was taking a PR class that day. The class went by just as normal as any other day and no one knew that anything bad was going on.

Class let out and I walked downstairs through the lobby of the communications building. There was a group of 15 people or so gathered around a television that had been wheeled out into the hallway. I could see the smoke coming from the World Trade Center on the TV but I didn't realize what was going on. I thought just a small commuter jet had strayed off course and crashed.

When I had reached my next class someone told me the whole story. My class was in a computer lab so I tried to go to online to see what was happening, but the Internet was jammed with all of the traffic.The campus was closed at 11am and I rushed straight home. I spent the rest of the week glued to the television trying to make sense of what had happened.

Even though it was 10 years ago I'm sure it was a day that you remember vividly. Think about how fast time has gone by since then. I can remember my life on that day so well that sometimes I use it to gauge my personal progress. 

Life is short. Life is fragile. Take this little reminder to set goals for yourself and put a plan into action before it is too late. No matter how rich you are you can never buy more time. Integrate a timetable into your list of goals. If you want to take a certain trip overseas, set a date. If you want to start a business, set a date. Don't let another year slip away into obscurity. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Best Meal of My Life Revisited After 6 Years

Back in 2005 I was hardly what you would consider a foodie. However, I was heading out to LA on a trip and wanted to eat at least one really good meal. After doing some research on the Internet Spago in Beverly Hills came up as not only one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles but one of the best in the country. So I made reservations for what would become the best meal I had ever eaten in my life.

I still remember how everything tasted to this day. The first course was an organic vegetable soup, followed by grilled prime ribeye steak for the main course. The dessert was some sort strawberry and ice cream concoction that was phenomenal. 

Wolfgang Puck came over and asked how everything tasted.

"This is the best soup I have ever eaten", I told him.

"You're still young. You still have many great meals left to eat", He told me.

And so a few years had past. I had since traveled many more places and eaten many great meals just like Wolfgang Puck said I would. However, that meal at Spago still held the top spot in my memory.  

Then a funny thing happened. I started to question if I ate there again if the meal would be as good as I remembered. I knew some people that recently ate at Spago in Las Vegas and they didn't seem to rave about it like I was expecting. So I decided as soon as I returned to LA again I would go back to Spago and try to order the exact same meal and see if it was just as good.

So last week I made the return trip to Spago. Wolfgang Puck was there again making the rounds the same as six years ago. I looked at the menu and saw the vegetable soup was not on there this time, so I ordered the Chino Farms tomato soup for the first course.

I casually took a picture with my phone so as to not draw attention to myself. I was a little embarrassed taking pics of the food, and honestly these pictures can never do justice to how amazing this food actually is. 

Anyway, after the first spoonful I knew it was just as good as I had remembered the other soup being. Rich, smooth, pure... delicious. A cracker placed on top to balance the rich flavor of the soup. Absolutely magnificent!    

I was excited about the main course because they still had the grilled prime ribeye steak, the exact same main course I had ordered six years ago.

Buttery, rich, tender. The steak was so delicious that I can only pray that the food in heaven is half as good. It was just as wonderful as I had remembered. Even as I became full I just wanted to eat this dish forever. By this point I knew this meal was the best meal of my life.

So lastly, even as I was bursting at the seams, I had to have dessert. I ordered the melba, which consisted of raspberries, golden raspberries, Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and other various goodies. Wolfgang Puck himself delivered it to the table making it a perfect end to a magnificent meal. 

I didn't get a picture of the melba, which was a shame considering it was not only the highlight of the meal but probably the best food item I have ever consumed in my life.  

All in all Spago was just as good as I remembered, and it still remains the best place I have ever eaten.