The Truth Behind the 10,000-Hour Rule to Success

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Mitzi Ilagan |

They say practice makes perfect. But Malcolm Gladwell says you’d have to do it in 10,000 hours.

Malcolm Gladwell claimed on his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, that you need at least 10,000 hours of work to master a skill. Jobs today are too complex that they need time and effort to be successful at it. This was based on Anders Ericsson’s research on the practice habits of violin students in their childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

This “magic number of greatness” has influenced a lot of people to actually push for 10,000 hours of work to perfect or be proficient in a skill. In fact, Gladwell has provided evidences on this matter. He has estimated that the Beatles had 10,000 hours of practice while playing in Hamburg in the early 1960s. He also mentioned Bill Gates putting in roughly 10,000 hours of programming to develop his skills that allowed him to create Microsoft. To sum up, Gladwell says that people don’t become experts until they have practice and developed it for about 10,000 hours.

On the other hand, Ericsson tries to clarify his findings, that Gladwell has missed important points from his study. Gladwell has missed the type of practice that the samples have undergone, which is called “deliberate practice.” This involves constantly pushing oneself beyond his comfort zone, work on his specific abilities and accept feedback to be able to bring out the best in what he could do. Ericsson says that there is no number of hours to be completed in order to succeed, instead, it will be the quality of the practice that would matter.

Sometimes, quantity isn’t always the only factor affects proficiency, it may also depend on genetics, age, gender, personality or even intelligence. Science could prove that even when you’ve just practiced something for a little less than 5,000 hours, you could be someone better than who has been doing it for 10,000 hours. Deliberate practice could be of great help, because it would help you push yourself in achieving what you want to happen. Even if you spend 15 hours a day trying to accomplish the 10,00 hours, you may not be as skilled as the ones who has been so honest with themselves about wanting to improve and persevering and patient enough to do it.

By observing how you do it rather that how much you’ve been doing it, you could help yourself improve and learn more even in your first 100 hours. Do not just work at something without giving all of your heart out. All it takes is patience, effort and perseverance, and in no time, you could be the master of your craft–in less than 10,000 hours.

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