The 10,000 Hour Rule – expert on what?

There is an estimate that it takes 10,000 hours to become expert in a field. I´m sure you´ve read about it. Malcolm Gladwell and tons of other authors in the same and different fields have written books, papers and articles about the theory built on Anders Ericssons study. But what exactly is a field of competence?

The 10,000 hour rule

If it takes 10 000 hours to become a good copywriter, does that mean that I have to sit on my boney ass and write copy for 10,000 hours? Because for me, copywriting is about so much more than just the writing phase. Practically everything you do can benefit your ability to write good copy because the more dots that you can connect, the bigger is the chance of getting a brilliant idea and consequently create a great piece of art.

A psychological hurdle

My point is that fields and categories melt together and crosses each other border. Instead of focusing all those hours on the particular activity that represents your field you should find sub activities that in the end will flow into the end goal – to become a good copywriter. 10,000 hours is an intimating number that may prevent people from even try because it feels overwhelming. The 10,000 hour rule may become an unnecessary psychological hurdle if you focus to much on it .

The 10,000 hour rule

Curiosity beat hours

Do what you like to do and follow your curiosity instead of counting hours. Not that I think many people actually are counting hours, but you get the point. It is by doing what stimulates your mind you´ll reach excellence, and I think that most people are pretty fucked up when they reach the magic number and fulfill the 10,000 hour rule, at least if they´re doing it reasonably fast. And if you get bored you will need a lot more than 10,000 hours to become an expert. You might be able to do something very good technically, but it will lack soul.

Pieces of knowledge

Of course, this is a huge simplification of the 10,000 hour rule. There is no doubt that practice breeds excellence. I just think that it is an interesting view, to look at those 10.000 hours as pieces of knowledge coming from a diverse range of activities rather than just the main competence. It is the diversity of knowledge that creates great minds.



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