One of the important books of my life is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The main gist about this book is 10,000 hours.
Based on the book, successful people invested 10,000 hours of practice to be where they are. He provides examples of Bill Gates and Beatles who invested many hours of practice on programming and music respectively in their youth. The many hours of practice moved them to the rank of Outliers.
So is it a guarantee that clocking 10,000 hours equate to success? Are there some who invested 10,000 hours and never really got in front?
My own assumption. I believe some didn’t make it even with 10,000 hours in their pocket. The thing is success is contributed by other factors as well, the 10,000 hours is more of a pre-requisite to ultimate success.
Even with 10,000 hours, you run a risk of not joining the rank. You can reduce your risk, and improve your chances. Read on if you intend to join the outliers.
Ask The Expert
Anything that you decide to invest your 10,000 hours on, there’ll always be someone who is more knowledgable and more experience than you. Find this person, learn from this person humbly.
The information from the expert may not be free but it’s worth investment. An expert can shorten your learning curve, accelerate your success. You can avoid the frustration of making a “wrong” decision by learning from an expert. Instead of investing 10,000 hours, an expert may save you 1 hour or 1,000 hours.
Please be grateful to anyone who is willing to share their knowledge. Personally I’ve learned from many experts/mentors. I contributed back to them whenever I had the chance by helping them without being asking to be paid.
Get The Distinctions
What made Outliers outliers because they gain finer distinctions on their area of expertise. People are willing to pay top dollars for these finer distinctions.
I love to watch singing competition. In one of the competition, I thought that a contestant sang pretty well, but the judges were able to point out the time when she was out of pitch. To me a song is a song, but to the judges, a song is made up of many technical pieces.
I have my distinctions on public speaking after many years of learning and practicing. I’m proud to say that with my eyes close, I can tell the strengths, weaknesses, energy and emotion of a presenter. This provides me the confidence to create Public Presentation Mastery with my partner.
Learn and discover finer distinctions about the area you like to explore.
To really stand out from the rest, challenge the convention. How come things are always done in a certain way? Are there more effective and efficient ways?
Do not just accept things at face value including the expert’s sharing. What if the experts are wrong? What if that information on the research paper is not accurate?
I used to take things at face value not questioning the message. I believed what was presented without processing too much until I had my learning experience.
A simple illustration of an aspiring entrepreneur who shared his business idea to demonstrate the issue of not questioning.
Aspiring entrepreneur: “Many people said that my idea is good. There’s a huge market.”
10 years ago I will be impressed. Wow, many people supported this idea. My response is different now.
Me: You said many people. How many?
Aspiring entrepreneur: 8
Me: Who are they?
Aspiring entrepreneur: My friends.
Eight people is not enough to represent the market.
Many are not questioning enough, therefore you can really get forward by questioning and challenging the conventional.
Read and Test
Brian Tracy mentioned that if you study the same topic for an hour a day. In five years time, you’ll become an expert of that subject.
I am going to challenge that statement.
Studying the same subject for five years make you a Professor. It doesn’t make you an expert. Only if you study and test the ideas or theories you have a chance to become an expert. Studying extensively without testing is like a chinese saying, fighting a war on paper.
Testing these ideas allow you to gain finer distinctions of the subject. Of course, if it’s too much of a hassle doing that, you can choose to be a Professor.
Accept Feedback Openly
Feedbacks are hard to come by. Most won’t provide feedback to you because it’s our human nature to want to be nice. Only two types of people will provide feedback. Those who care enough and those who don’t care at all.
Before receiving feedback you may like to prepare yourself emotionally. Because some people put up their defense armour when being hit by feedback. Then there is another group who is extremely fragile to feedbacks like toilet paper meet water. Whichever group you belong to is not important. What you do with those feedbacks is more important.
Receive feedback with openness. Be thankful for the feedback. It tells you that there are people who care. I gained the most from some of the harsh feedbacks given to me. I got stronger and gained huge distinction to move closer to an outlier.
Practice these five steps in your 10,000 hours to move towards being an Outliers. Make that 10,000 hours worth your time.