Time after time, we’ve heard about how being in the right place at the right time doing the right things with the right people contributes significantly to success. We’ve also heard how practice makes perfect. But Gladwell prefers to move beyond those clichéd or somewhat vague ideas and offer a more specific treatment on the roots of success.
In chapter two of Outliers, he argues that that it’s not simply practice that matters but rather that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to gain a truly remarkable mastery of a given skill. In other words, people would have to work on perfecting their skills for approximately 20 hours a week over the course of 10 years in order to acquire and display exceptional degrees of expertise in their fields. Gladwell cites the early careers of computer whizzes Bill Joy and Bill Gates as well as the rock group The Beatles as examples and explains how all of them achieved their 10,000 hours of practice before (or perhaps as an entry into) achieving tremendous levels of success.
If we buy into the “10,000 hour rule,” then we would need to also acknowledge the enormous and certainly unique resources and opportunities required for someone to take advantage of so much practice time.
But what did you think about practice and mastery as it relates to the idea of a 10,000 hour rule?
Or, another question: what kinds of conflicts do you see between the notions of studying hard as opposed to practicing long? That is, to what extent, if any, do the conventional processes of going to college (without unique resources and opportunities, for instance) hinder the kind of practice routines necessary for extraordinary success?