I read Malcolm Gladwell’s absolutely brilliant book Outliers. It looks at why some people are more successful than others and it really made me think and question, which is the main reason I read books of course. I really recommend that you get it if you don’t have it already and see what you think. Well, there are far too many interesting ideas and conclusions in it for me to go into here but one thing is that struck me is the 10,000 hour rule.
He states that pretty much anybody can become great at something if they do it for 10,000 hours. Musicians like the Beatles were obviously very talented but what singled them out from all the other bands around at the time? Well one thing was that they managed to get a series of gigs in Hamburg where they played for literally dozens of hours a week for years on end. At the conclusion of this period of their lives they had truly mastered their instruments (not really sure what happened in Ringo’s case – maybe he wasn’t in the band then) and all that front-line action meant that they were truly on top of their games.
Here is a thing that puzzled me when I read this: they surely weren’t the only band to be playing in the Hamburg dives at that time so why wasn’t there a German version of the Beatles? Gladwell does look at this in the book but the thing that occurred to me this morning whilst reading an article on the band was that they wanted to get better – they really, really wanted to be the best they could be not just as could as they could get away with.
So here it is. Maybe it isn’t the amount of hours alone it is the amount of hours you spend doing something and trying to get better at it as you do that counts. 10,000 hours can sometimes be 1 hour repeated 10,000 times over; no, what we want is each hour being better, albeit only very slightly, than the last.
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