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Mike Baxter says
So, I think there’s a lot of value in the whole concept of 10,000 hours but it’s running completely counter to what I’m talking about.
10,000 hours is what you need to do to get into the top 1% in a single subject.
And I think that’s a bit of a fool’s errand to be perfectly honest.
The idea of me ever spending enough time to become an athlete or musician, chess champion, frankly it’s absurd. It just makes me smile. The very thought of it you know I’m just not like that.
But to get to a much much lower level of expertise, up to the top 25% in two subjects, now I can see that but not sure it doesn’t take 10,000 hours.
Josh Kaufman wrote a book in response to the 10,000 hours which Malcolm Gladwell made pretty popular in his Outliers.
You need to spend 10,000 hours to become an international superstar in your particular discipline. Yeah, fine, but says Josh (in his book The First 20 Hours) you only need 20 hours to get beyond beginner level.
And that I think is more telling.
And my argument there is that we’re going to spend six hours together that is not going to get you pass together, because you will not your fingers will not have learned the vocabulary of HTML in that time. You’ll still be struggling over where’s that strange pointy bracket thing that I need to put at the start of every HTML line.
Whereas if you spend a weekend trying to build a little web page or even a little website, by the time you’ve got to the end of that weekend and you’ve put in your 20 hours you’ve gone from the wobbly skier that falls over every time they try and go down the slope to somebody who can actually get from the top to the bottom of the slope. That takes 20 hours as well.
So I think there are lots and lots of versions of going from wobbly and competent skier, to get down the slope skier. And that is a much more interesting threshold for me.
Once I’ve got to the stage of being able to get down the slope, whether it’s an HTML or skiing or learning to do whatever, that’s been life begins to get interesting because you’re no longer getting the fundamentals, you’re actually building your skill level and you’re getting better and you’re relishing your competence.
I guess I think I’m probably pretty lucky because I have a pretty positive disposition, and I think that people differ profoundly in the positivity they have towards life, you know, there are quite a lot of my friends who do not bounce out of bed first thing in the morning and think, great, I’ve got an interesting challenge, you know, even getting out of bed, getting engaged in stuff is kind of struggle.
Speaking from myself, I think it is hugely important to be passionate about things because I just am. I’m the being in my family’s life because “oh my god he’s gone off on another one”, and you know I pick up things and I become hugely enthusiastic and passionate about them very quickly.
And I realised that just a part of me so I don’t think it’s essential. It sure helps, and it helps to carry you over those difficult times where you’ve perhaps got past the beginner stage but you’re struggling and all that sort of intermediate ” I can’t quite do complicated things” yet in whatever field, and having passion gets you over those bumps, but I still think that you can make a big success of this notion of two overlapping areas of expertise, even if you have to work with both.
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