Does it really take 10,000 hours to be good at something?

You might have heard about the 10,000 hour rule. It’s the result of a research by Prof K Anders Ericsson who decided to discover what it takes to be an expert in any field of endeavor. What he did was to observe world best in certain fields, professional athletes, world class musicians, chess grand masters etc. His discovery was astonishing. He discovered each one of these experts had invested nothing less than 10,000 hours of practice into their profession which ultimately makes them better. This rule was made popular by my favorite author, Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers. I must confess how grossly inadequate I felt after reading about this in that book. I was shocked. I thought “where do I get 10,000 hours from?” “Why didn’t I know about this rule before now?” I would have made arrangements to start doing things early, instead of waiting and chanting the “when I grow older, I will…..” mantra that we all are guilty of. While it is no lie that you may need at least 10,000 hours to be an expert at anything. It has crippled so many people into thinking they don’t have the time to achieve their goals.

However I think what Malcolm and Prof Anders, were actually trying to say is that practice makes perfection. The more you practice, the better you become.

So how long does it take to learn something new and be good with it?

This is the question Josh Kauffman sought to provide answers to in his insightful TED Talk video.The first 20 hours: How to learn anything.

According to josh, the 10,000 hour rule came out of studies for expert level performance and not learning new skills. You would be shocked at his [josh] findings.


20 HOURS!!!!

Scratch. Are you kidding me? You mean I can learn anything new and be good in just 20 hours?

Yes. You can go from knowing nothing about anything at all, to being reasonably good at it. If you put 20 focused, deliberate practice hours into any skill, you’d be astounded by your results. That’s about 45 minutes every day for about a month.

And here’s the method josh proposes:

    1. De-construct the skill- decide what you actually want to be able to do when you are done. Then look into the skill and break it down the basic important things. Practice those important things first.
    2. Learn enough to self-correct- get your hands on resources you can to learn about the skill you desire to acquire. But don’t use that as a way to procrastinate. You don’t have to wait till you read all the resources before you begin practice. All you need to know is enough that you can practice and self-correct.
    3. Remove practice barriers- get rid of everything that hinders your practice. Television, internet, gossips.
    4. Practice for at least 20 hours. Just go ahead to practice at least 20 hours.

My high points in that video were:

a) When josh pulls out a ukulele (A small four-stringed guitar of Hawaiian origin) and plays an “axis of awesome” medley. Josh later confesses playing the medley completes his 20th hour of practice on the ukulele. Isn’t that amazing?

b) When josh says “the major barrier to learning something new is not intellectual… it’s emotional. We are scared of feeling stupid.

However, “feeling stupid doesn’t feel good at the beginning of learning something new if we are really stupid.

So is there anything you want to learn? Give it 20 hours. You may not become an expert, but you will surely be good at it and be proud of yourself.

You should see that video yourself.

If you find this post interesting, don’t hesitate to share your comments below. Thanks.


14 thoughts on “Does it really take 10,000 hours to be good at something?

    1. Whoop whoop! Yes! Go get something done. (Y) I’m glad you like it. Thanks for reading. I’ll be doing something in your field soon. I’ll surely let you know. Thanks once more.

    1. Wow! That’s a great way to put this theory to test. You know, you should see that video & see how it helps you. You should also check out “axis of awesome’s” four chord medley video too. I’m so glad you found this piece intriguing. Thanks for reading & the comments too. 😀

  1. This is so cool. I will take this up as a challenge…will let u knw the result….Thanks a lot for this..God bless the work of ur hands xx

    1. Awww. Mia, thanks so much for reading. I’m so glad you found it useful. I’m patiently awaiting your experience & results with this. May God honor & bless you too. [{}] Do check back some other time.

    1. Yes Boss! Just 20 focused, dedicated, well planned hours. What you are working towards is not the expert level performance, but knowledge enough to build your expertise on.

    1. Oluwafisayomi, *dancing smiley* … Errm… Madam, welcome ma. Honored to have your presence here. Hope you’ve been awesome. 😀
      Go ahead and learn dearie, you’d be amazed by your accomplishments. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I only heard about this concept in parts. But now have read a little more than in “part”. Thanks for the compilation it indeed helps. Am set to put some reasonable hours into my career on daily basis.

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