Not An Expert? Put In More Hours.

This title sounds like a very general statement, doesn’t it? Well, it’s meant to be. Ever wondered how someone you know or have read about can be an expert in the very same field that you’ve been tirelessly struggling over for what seems like months? What if I told you that this aforementioned expert has you beat by a landslide? The truth is, it’s not months of work that will take you above being at a novice level- it’s years.

Malcolm Gladwell, staff writer for the New Yorker since 1996, conducted some extensive research on what type of work goes into the making of the famed grandmaster. His research spanned over various fields and creative outlets until he came to the universal “rule” for  becoming the best of the best in your chosen life path. The best chess players, basketball stars, expert surgeons and so forth have all gained their grandmaster status after about 10,000 hours or 10 years (whichever comes first) of daily, involved work toward their passions. Now, keep in mind, this is definitely an average as there have been master composers such as Shostakovich and Paganini, who took only 9 years and Erik Satie, who took only 8.

If you cross reference their greatest work with how long they’ve been in the game, you’ll find this theory solid for so many of the greats that have gone before us. You may be arguing, “Hey! I found an article online that claims it only takes around 4 years of intense training and dedication to play international basketball!” To this point I would respond, yes, but you don’t see a lot of international players in the NBA. You don’t often find a star power forward or guard in the NBA who didn’t pick up a ball and get to work before they hit college level. 

“The people we idolize the most, the grandmasters, have all made their struggle for greatness their life.” – Anonymous.

What can you take away from all of this? Keep going; keep plugging away and staying the course. There will be a lot of ups and downs. You’ll be faced with situations where you’ve so foolishly deemed yourself grandmaster, only to collide head-on with the real thing shortly after. Don’t get discouraged. They have just learned from the same mistakes, learned to stay humble, and to stay hungry. Sooner or later, just as they’ve experienced, you won’t be chasing the dream, you’ll be living it.