Most of the serious Money Gym players are readers too and we discuss new ideas vigorously on the private Money Gym google group. “Outliers” was a recent read and we all loved it, asking ourselves “What are we good at and did we spend 10,000 plus learning how to be good at it or practising”. The topic has come up again as my son gets into skimboarding on holiday and spending the last 4-5 days doing it endlessly (must be up to about 36 hours by now) – see my Note From Nicola this week for link to his YouTube video.
Most of us agreed, that like Donna with her horseriding, and me with my Wealth Creation, and Judith with building businesses, and Marion & Steve with their website building, that yes, we have spent a lot of hours doing those things….in my case definately 10,000 hours because I’ve been learning about and then doing wealth creation every evening and weekend since 1998, and latterly every single day, all day, all year.
Seth Godin discusses the concept on his ever-excellent blog and says….”It’s not surprising that Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Outliers” has made a splash. All his thought-provoking writing does and deserves to.
The argument of Outliers:
- Where you’re born and when you’re born have an enormous amount to do with whether or not you’re successful.
- Becoming a superstar takes about 10,000 hours of hard work.
- Both of the bullet points above are far more important than the magical talent myth.
Bill Gates, the Beatles, Beethoven, Bill Joy, Tiger Woods – do the math, 10,000 hours of work.
In some ways, this is a restatement of the Dip. Being the best in the world brings extraordinary benefits, but it’s not easy to get there.
For me, though, some of the 10k analysis doesn’t hold up. The Doors (or Devo or the Bee Gees) for example, didn’t play together for 10,000 hours before they invented a new kind of rock*. If the Doors had encountered significantly more competition for their brand of music, it’s not clear that they could have gotten away with succeeding as quickly as they did. Hey, Miley Cyrus wasn’t even 10,000 hours awake before she became a hit.
Doc Searls and Scoble didn’t blog for 10,000 hours before they became the best, most important bloggers in the world. Molly Katzen didn’t work on her recipes for 10,000 hours before she wrote the Moosewood Cookbook either.
*(There were bar bands in Buffalo, where I grew up, that put in far more than 10,000 playing mediocre music… didn’t help. Hard work may be necessary, but not sufficient).
Here’s my take on it:
You win when you become the best in the world, however ‘best’ and ‘world’ are defined by your market. In many mature markets, it takes 10,000 hours of preparation to win because most people give up after 5,000 hours. That’s the only magic thing about 10k… it’s a hard number to reach, so most people bail long before they get there….”