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World-Class Blogger or Unknown Blogger? Your Choice: 10000 Hour Rule

Ever read about a book so fascinating that you couldn’t put it down even if you tried to?  Last night, at 3 a.m. actually, I finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s outstanding book “Outliers“.


If you haven’t read it, you need to read it.  Buy it, or borrow it from your local library if you have to.  Can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s that big of an eye-opener.


One of the most oft-repeated points to come out of the book is the concept of the “10000 Hour Rule“.  The rule basically presents the idea that almost anyone, regardless of intelligence, talent, background, economic status, etc, can work to become a world-class expert and possibly among the greatest ever in their field.


The catch is that they need to have the opportunity and the willingness to invest at least 10,000 hours into their craft.


How committed are you to being the best

at what you’re passionate about?Click to Tweet


What If Becoming a World-Class Expert Was Your Job?


For some perspective on the rule, let’s say your 40-hour a week job was solely to perfect your craft (pick one: become a pianist, basketball player, painter, writer, etc).


In a 52-week year, you’d average 2080 hours (40 hours x 52 weeks).


It would take you almost five years (four years and 42 weeks to be exact), to hit the 10000 hour rule mark.


Does that mean you have to invest 10,000 hours to be successful?  Not at all.


You can still fall short of the mark and do pretty well for yourself.


The 10000 Hour Rule: The Difference Between Playing at Carnegie Hall & Your Local High School


In one study that looked into how much practice time violinists had put into their craft, world-class violinists always hit the 10000 hour rule mark.  By contrast, violinists that were merely “good”, but likely to end up as music teachers at a local high school, had put in roughly 4,000 hours of practice into their craft.


The question is… how motivated are you to be the best?  Now that you know it’s not a matter of intelligence, money, or talent, are you OK with just reaching music teacher status, or would you like to go for world-class violinist status?


The decision to be great

rests on no one but you.Click to Tweet


10000 Hour Rule

Flickr @ ibm4381


What do you think?  Are 10,000 hours achievable?

Realistic?  Unnecessary?


I’d like to hear what you think in the comment below.


UPDATE:  Since this was published I found out that Corbett Barr, from ThinkTraffic.net did an interview with Dan McLauglin from TheDanPlan.com.  Dan is testing the 10,000 rule theory by deliberately practicing golf for 10,000 hours (he’s already at 3,300 hours).

 See Corbett interviewing Dan at ExpertEnough.com here.

About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.


  1. Hi Rich,

    Talent is Overrated is also a great book on the subject.

    One thing though, is that the Anders Ericson experiment this refers to, talks of 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice.” Working a 40 hour workweek like you suggest is not the same thing. Deliberate practice is very focused effort where you make minute adjustments to improve your skill.

    In golf, an example might be doing the exact same shot hundreds of times with minor adjustments to see the best way to do it.

    Practice like that is very disciplined and therefore difficult. Doing more than 3 or 4 hours a day is unlikely. The 10,000 hour process typically takes more than a decade and is generally done in adolescence.

    I’ve easily put in several thousands of hours of guitar practice over the years, however, very little of it has been deliberate. I would guess that I’m only 1,000 hours into my 10,000 hours in terms of skill level. I know there are much more effective ways to practice, but they are also boring if you are doing it for a hobby.

    However, the link to the ExpertEnough Dan Plan is very interesting. I can’t wait to see where that goes.

    • Rich Polanco says:

      Excellent point, John. How one invests the 10,000 hours matters a lot :)


  2. Very true. When my son began taking violin lessons using the Suzuki method years ago, there was a popular book, written by the parent of a Suzuki student. One of the first – and most important – pieces a Suzuki student learns is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The book was titled “How I Survived my First 10,000 Twinkles.”

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