Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Putting The Hours In

Malcolm Gladwell has been popping up on TV shows from 'The One Show' to 'Working Lunch' during his trip to London. Much talk on those shows has been about his new book 'Outliers' and what factors contributes to success. One of his theories about reaching success is that to be truly great at something you need to have spent 10,000 hours doing it.

I actually think people can be truly great at something quicker than that so long as they are fully focused and passionate. If you are determined and focused, I believe you can achieve most things.

Gladwell argued his case with The Beatles, who reguarly played mammoth 8 hour sets in a bar in Hamburg before they were famous, giving them incredible experience in playing live every day.

He's right that you have to put in the hours to be good at something but I don't think you always need to clock up the full 10,000 hours- that's about ten years worth. 10,000 hours over 9 years is equivalent to 3 and a bit hours a day. Looking back on my 9 year career 'Juggling' and doing my own thing in business, I have for sure, invested that many hours in those areas that have become my own expertise. But more generally it's just a matter of paying your dues, accumulating your ‘flying hours’. And whilst self-belief, passion and determination can help fast-track success, it’s the experience that’s going to make you brilliant.

Were you ever really that good the first time you did something? I know that my second book is much better than my first. I know when I first presented a radio show at the age of 17 I was crap (I was crap the tenth time I did it too - but better quality crap). The same goes to the first time I had staff to manage, the first board meeting I attended etc etc.

So whether it's 10,000 hour or 100 hours, make sure you’re putting the hours in…

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