Bending the 10,000 Hour Rule So That It Fits You

Most of us know that there’s a formula for success, and it usually involves hard work. As Malcolm Gladwell put it, if you spend 10,000 hours doing anything, you’re going to end up being great at it. And this idea has been borne out by many people who have become great at something.

Gladwell’s Examples of the 10,000 Hour Rule

Gladwell gives the example of the Beatles who performed together hundreds of times all around Europe. Finally, they got so used to performing with each other that they reached the pitch of greatness. Gladwell also gives the example of Bill Gates who used to sneak into his college’s computer lab and spend hours in front of the computer.

And we all know someone or the other who has achieved greatness in their desired field in a similar way—by spending a lot of time doing the same thing over and over.

What If You Don’t Have 10,000 Hours to Spare?

Repetition, it seems, is the key to greatness. But for those of us who may not have 10,000 hours to spend doing anything, this idea can seem really daunting.

What if you spend the majority of your time at your day job, but what you really want to do is start your own business? In this case, you can only spend a small amount of time on starting your own business, at least in the beginning. You’re only going to have evenings and weekends in order to fulfill this dream. And getting to 10,000 hours might seem downright impossible given that you don’t have time to put towards this aim.

Bending the 10,000 Hour Rule So That It Fits You

If you don’t have 10,000 hours spare, then there is another option that you should consider. Are you working in a field that is at all related to your dream? In that case, a lot of the hours which you put in at work can contribute to your dream.

  • Work Time: Maybe you’re working in human resources, but you want to leave the company where you work and start doing leadership workshops. In this case, a lot of the things that you learn on the job will help you in what you eventually want to do. You’re constantly going to be coming across people, understanding them and figuring out what makes a good leader.
  • Leisure Time: You can spend your leisure time reading about leadership or listening to podcasts about it. This also counts towards those 10,000 hours. If you meet people who seem to have knowledge about the field, you can have a conversation with them and that will also count towards those 10,000 hours.

So if the prospect of getting to this number is daunting you, remember that you can reach it in many different ways. There are many paths to the same goal. And it’s ok to switch from one path to the other now and then as long as you keep your final goal in mind.