Thursday, February 13, 2014

10,000 Hours

I had a rather inspiring conversation with a friend yesterday.  She said that she once heard that one must spend 10,000 hours to become good at something.

10, 000 hours

I ran some calculations.  If I worked 8 hours a day (no weekends or holidays or any other breaks) on my craft, then I could become good in about 3 and 1/2 years.

Three and a half years

Or let us suppose that I only worked 8 hours a day for 5 days a week for 50 weeks out of the year.  Then I could be good in 5 years.

Five years

Perhaps I do not write that much.  Perhaps I write 2 hours a day for 4 days a week for 50 weeks out of the year.  In that case, I could be good in 25 years.

Twenty-five years

Yikes.  How is this inspiring?  Believe it or not, I think it is.  I like to have goals in mind.  I like to know that if I keep working, I will eventually become good.  And the older you get (and the more you realize how many years your schooling requires), the shorter these times seem.  So these time frames, instead of jumping out to me with how terribly long they are, they rather jump out at me with a "hang in just haven't been doing this long enough WILL get good at this."  And, in my opinion, that is encouraging.


And maybe we are closer than we think.  Perhaps some of our thinking time, our research time, or our I-am-watching-a-movie time counts for some of this.  Maybe we are closer to becoming good -- really good -- than anyone imagined.  Now, THAT is encouraging.

Hang in there!  
You are closer than you think!

It's time to become good at what we do -- really good.

Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.

Daniel 1:19-20 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.  And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.


  1. I have no idea how old you are and you don't have to tell me, but I do know that it took me from, say, twelve or thirteen years old to about nineteen or twenty to really get a handle on my craft. Of course I'm still growing and maturing and honing my skills, but now I know I have a voice and I have presence, which took time to build. Thankfully all that "work" took place when I was young and I hadn't fallen prey to the notion that "I don't have enough time!" It does take time, but the time will pass anyway: might as well work hard! :)

    1. So true!
      And your comment at the end reminds me of a story I once heard. A lady was trying to decide whether to go back to school to pursue her dream or not. While consulting a friend, the lady complained that it would be 4 more years of school. "I'll be 43 years old when it is done," she whined.
      Her friend looked at her and said, "How old will you be in 4 years if you don't go?"