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Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

~Pele

 

I was recently listening to a podcast called Freakonomics Radio (highly recommended). The episode I was listening to talked about how to become great at anything. The host Stephen Dubner referenced the Malcolm Gladwell's Rule that it takes 10,000 hours to become great at something. Stephen and his guests talked about Gladwell's Rule and talent and the relation between the two.

 

After listening to the episode a few times 2 things always came to the forefront for me. I realized that in order to be successful or great you need these two things.

 

The Magic Bullet: Practice

Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule says it takes 10,000 hours of focus and practice in order to become great at something. To put this into perspective it would take about 4.8 years if someone worked 40 hours a week to become great at something. This assumes that for every second someone is working those 40 hours a week they are working at one specific topic or area. A bit unrealistic to think that every second someone is at work for almost 5 years they are heads down working but it gets the point across. It takes a long time.

I partially agree with Gladwell's rule. I don't think a specific number can be put on how much time it takes to be great at something. I do however agree with the premise behind the rule. It takes hours and hours of practice to possibly be great at something. Nothing is guaranteed but without practice it'll be near impossible to achieve.

 

How The Bullet Is Fired: Environment

The actor Will Smith did an interview on his personal keys to success. In a part of the interview he said "If I get on a treadmill with someone then one of two things is going to happen. The other person is getting off first or I'm gonna die." What Smith is doing is expressing that he will not be outworked. What you might not see is Smith puts himself in a place where people will push him. People that are better than him will force him to push himself and become great. The environment in which someone puts themselves will do 2 things: It will make the person quit or it will push them to be successful. It is always important to remember that the people who are around you pushing you to take that next step are just as important as the practice you put in.

 

 

 

Note: I am aware of the Princeton study that was done that claims to disprove Gladwell's rule. I just wanted to explore the 10,000 hour rule in this article and the underlying meaning behind it.