Have you ever watched a newly-released movie and wondered where the lead actor/actress came from? Sometimes it seems as if they became famous out of nowhere. But then, you watch an old movie and spot them in the background as an “extra?”
There’s this weird thing I do, which I’m sure annoys my husband. Any time we watch an old movie, I’m always scanning the “extras” to see if any of them are now famous. Partially because I like seeing the underdogs win, but also because it reaffirms the 10,000 hour rule, which I’ll explain in a bit. (Have you ever seen a ten-year-old Ryan Gossling in the Goosebumps movies? I’m talking the really old, poorly-filmed, have to get it at the library Goosebumps?).
It is said that in order to master something, it requires on average, about (drum roll) … 10,000 hours.
When we first learned about this in a financial services training years back, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed. (Ok, a lot overwhelmed). That’s a massive amount of hours. How could we ever fit in 10,000 hours?
But we wanted to be successful and nothing was holding us back. We didn’t have any other major obligations so we made a pact to hit our 10,000 hour mark as quickly as possible. We realized that if we crammed it in, we could work more than a 40-hour week for a 3-5 year time frame and become masters of the trade. So we did.
Our commitment meant taking naps in the car in the office parking lot (especially when pregnant) and the saying, “Late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise,” became our mantra. We ran a lot of appointments in a short period of time. We got uncomfortable and made our goals bigger than our fears. We attended seminars, trainings and read a TON of motivational books, that have carried over to most areas in our lives.
These days, anytime our kids want to be overnight successes at any of their sports, we remind them of the 10,000 hour rule. If they want to try something new, but feel it’s too late to learn the skills to keep up with others who started at younger ages, we reassure them they can cram in those hours if they are willing to in order to collapse time frames. We remind them that if someone is better at their sport than them, they’ve put in more time and have gotten closer to the target. It’s not what they want to hear, but hey, who does? The good thing is that anyone can hit it if they are persistent and willing.
When I look at how horrible my first manuscript was, I have to remind myself of this. What was harder, was facing the realization that I wasn’t going to be some natural-born talent and that this manuscript probably would never see the light of day. So, I’ve been reading and studying and drafting and taking classes like crazy to get better (and have some really great editors who DO have their time in the game) and every so often, like to calculate just how many hours, roughly, I’ve put in. I’m hoping to eventually get it right. Or right enough to interest at least a few people.
So if you feel like you’re stuck in a mundane routine or can do your job in your sleep, maybe it’s time for a new challenge, whatever that might be for you! Working a 40 hour work week, mastery takes about five years. If part-time, about ten. Ten thousand hours is doable and can go by quickly if it’s something you love to do. So hone your craft and make great things happen:)