When asked, most people say they want to be successful. But what is success? And is there a single factor that distinguishes successful people from others.
Merriam-Webster defines success as the desired result of an attempt or achieving wealth, respect, or fame. But that’s just one definition. We all have our definitions of what success is. Still most of us can agree that success, is the result of some type of achievement. So what does success have to do with the title of this post, Time…The Golden Rule for Success? Glad you asked! J
In his book, Outliers: The Stories of Success, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His conclusion, it takes about 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill, be it playing the violin, computer programming, or skateboarding. Simply put, the “Outliers” the most successful people, have put in the time.
Gladwell isn’t the only one who believes this. We’ve heard variations of the 10,000 hour rule all of our lives…”practice is everything, practice makes perfect, failure to practice and prepare is preparing to fail, etc”. So to some degree, we’ve been taught form an early age to believe practice or work ethic makes perfect or will lead to success. Now, armed with Gladwells book, we have an idea of how much practice is required.
I was first introduced to this 10,000 hour principle while listening to Eric Thomas, (etinspires.com) whose life is a testament of how practice and persistence can yield success. Since then, it’s like I hear about this 10,000 hour principle from everyone. Will Smith, one of my favorite actors said “Talent is Overrated”. According to Will, it’s important to separate the perception of talent and skill. Talent is natural and skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating up on your craft. Thus, talent will fail you, if you’re not skilled and becoming better every day.
So if 10,000 hours (about 1 year and 51 days total) is the golden rule, How many hours a day should you practice? Keeping in mind that 5 years of full time experience (40 hours a week) = 10000 hours. Should we be spending 3 hours? 6 hours? 9 hours? 12 hours? Well, according to Dr. Noa Kageyama, who addressed this question in an article written last year, the number of hours will vary according to professions. Dr. Noa Kageyama, also referenced the research of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, the world’s leading authority on this subject (his research is the basis for the “ten-year rule” and “10,000-hour rule”), who says the real key is not the amount of practice required but the type of practice. In other words, just practicing any old way doesn’t cut it.
After devoting hours trying to find a clear cut answer to this subject… how to follow The Golden Rule for Success, I’ve come to the conclusion that like most things in life, there is no black and white answer. However everyone seems to agree that “a whole lot of structured/ perfect practice is required”. I guess our take away should be that the 10,000 hour rule, even if it isn’t 100% accurate helps us set proper expectations. We know that practice plays a major role in success and that just any kind of practice will not cut it. I believe we could all benefit from a 10,000 hour challenge. I’m also confident that an increase in structured practice above and beyond what we already do will serve us well. What do you think?