Is the amount of hours I roughly estimate I have spent working out in the last 8 years. That works out roughly to 8 hours per week for the last 416 weeks… give or take. Why do I bring this up?

Dr. K. Anders Ericsson is a Swedish psychologist and Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University and is a leading researcher on the subject of expertise and success and has conducted a prominent study regarding the success of the greats in the business, music & sporting industries. He has found a magical number that all the ‘gifted’ and ‘elite’ people in the field shared, it was the fact that they’ve all spent 10,000 hours honing their art, or approximately 10 years. This is the most important thing; natural talent, upbringing, genetics don’t actually amount to a lot, apparently. Pure persistence time and time again proves to be the redeeming factor of any successful person.

Keep in mind it isn’t simply 10,000 hours of just performing the activity, but rather 10,000 hours of concentrated effort and practice.  10,000 hours of pushing and toil, improving their skill set. Consistently moving forward over the years and consistently learning is the key to becoming successful in whatever you choose to focus on. Consistency, tenacity and a focus over the long haul will make you stand out from the rest.

For an example that’s possibly a bit more relevant: an average person working a full time job will accumulate 40 hours per week, totalling 2,000 per year. To hit 10,000 hours it will take 5 years. Now this may not necessarily mean in five years you will be successful or in a top level position (do you really put 100% focus & concentration every hour of every day of every year?). What it most likely will mean is that you’ll be very proficient at your duties and know your job back to front.

Simply performing the prescribed hours doesn’t exactly breed success. What separates the champion is that his 10,000 hours will be spent with purpose and not merely an obligation. It’s not 10,000 hours spent passing time. Every single hour was focused, targeted and purposeful. Arnold started bodybuilding at 15, Tiger Woods picked up a club before he was 2, each was a dominant force in their respective careers and at very young ages becoming champions and Number 1. Was it God given talent? Was it their genetics? Probably not.  I don’t know a lot of 15 year olds that lift weights with the drive & intensity of Arnold for as long as he did and I certainly don’t know of many two year olds that can swing a golf club…

A little table was showing what ‘level’ of skill you are at depending on how many hours you have spent practicing. Fun little guide to see how you’re progressing.

10,000< Elite
5,000-8,000 Master
1,000-5,000 Proficient
250-1,000 Competent
250 Starter

Where do you fit in?

Now, my 3250 hours? I wouldn’t call all of that focused. But I’m on my way. Where are you on your journey?

Persistence, Persistence. Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. 

Calvin Coolidge

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