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.