Monday, November 10, 2008

How To Be Fucking Awesome

The research over and over again points to just one thing: 10,000 hours of practice.

take the case of Bill Gates. Gladwell cites a body of research finding that the “magic number for true expertise” is 10,000 hours of practice. “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good,” Gladwell writes. “It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” Gladwell shows how Gates accumulated his 10,000 hours while in middle and high school in Seattle thanks to a series of nine incredibly fortunate opportunities—ranging from the fact that his private school had a computer club with access to (and money for) a sophisticated computer, to his childhood home’s proximity to the University of Washington, where he had access to an even more sophisticated computer. “By the time Gates dropped out of Harvard after his sophomore year to try his hand at his own computer software company,” Gladwell writes, “he’d been programming practically nonstop for seven consecutive years. He was way past 10,000 hours.” Yes, Gates is obviously brilliant, Gladwell concludes, but without the lucky breaks he had as a kid, he never could have had the opportunity to fulfill the true potential of that brilliance.

NY Mag piece on Malcolm Gladwell - read it.

Say for the sake of argument that 10,000 hours of practice really is the only thing that matters.

That means you can become fucking awesome at anything.

There's got to be more to it than that, but 10,000 hours of practice is a damn good way to start.

Another good place to start:



Update: I should probably point out, 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is very different from 10,000 hours of generic exposure.