|10,000 pounds of pot. Seriously.|
Malcolm Gladwell failed at getting the term “outliers” to be as popular as “tipping point”, “bucket list”, or the “fiscal cliff”, but his book Outliers is certainly based on an intriguing idea. The 10,000 hour theory is not really a new concept. People talk about “success” without realizing what might really be at the root of it.
In 2008, shortly after Gladwell published Outliers, Seth Godin blogged about the book. Here’s what he said:
- Where you're born and when you're born have an enormous amount to do with whether or not you're successful.
- Becoming a superstar takes about 10,000 hours of hard work.
- Both of the bullet points above are far more important than the magical talent myth.
“Bill Gates, the Beatles, Beethoven, Bill Joy, Tiger Woods--do the math, 10,000 hours of work.”
“You win when you become the best in the world, however 'best' and 'world' are defined by your market. In many mature markets, it takes 10,000 hours of preparation to win because most people give up after 5,000 hours. That's the only magic thing about 10k... it's a hard number to reach, so most people bail.”
Although Godin had a few caveats in his analysis of the 10,000 hour theory, by and large, he acknowledges that getting there takes determination and most people don’t have it. “It” means honing a skill for approximately 20 hours a week, every week, for 10 years. Most people give up before logging 5,000 hours and then settle for the label, “hobbyist”.
Don’t believe there is something magical about the number 10,000? Consider this (from Wikipedia):
- In anatomy, each neuron in the human brain is estimated to connect to 10,000 others.
- 10,000 Days is the title of the fourth studio album by Tool
- In Zen Buddhism, the "10,000 Things" is a term meaning all of phenomenal reality.
- In baseball, on July 15, 2007, the Philadelphia Phillies became the first team in professional sports' history to lose 10,000 games.