The Rule Of 10,000 Hours


My first blog post was about optimising your life. How can you do that? How can you apply focus, restraint and balance to what it is that you want to achieve and become world class in utilising your potential?

There is an answer and I refer you to Malcolm Gladwell‟s book, „The Outliers – The Story of Success‟ (reviewed at This is a fascinating book that challenges one‟s perception of why people become successful. Success is about two things, optimisation of innate talents and optimisation of preparation.To succeed you need to have innate talent.

Yet achievement is based on talent plus preparation. Research shows that innate talent seems to play a lesser role than preparation in gifted people‟s lives. Research shows also that once a person has the talent to be the best, the thing that distinguishes the people at the very top from others is that they work much, much harder than others. So to optimise your life you must first put in the hard yards to be able to do that.The idea that excellence at performing any complex task requires a minimum amount of time – and researchers believe that the time is 10,000 hours. As Daniel Levitin the neurologist wrote:

“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert in anything… It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery”.

 - This Is Your Brain: The Science of a Human Obsession p197

In Malcolm Gladwell‟s book in Chapter Four called „The 10,000 Hour Rule” he outlines how people may achieve 10,000 hours and optimise their lives. It is important to note that the 10,000 hours rule is an important factor in being able to optimise your life. After 14,000 hours of coaching CEOs and leaders I understand what he is saying and believe that this applies to any human endeavour. It is reported that Phil Smyth, former captain of the Australian Boomers Basketball team and 36ers Coach would shoot 1,000 baskets for three hours after a match. .

So to be able to optimise your life focus on becoming world class. Apply restraint, balance and commitment with persistence as these are essential prerequisites.As Calvin Coolidge (former President of the USA once said):Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing as 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..

In the next post we will focus on what do you need to do everyday by telling you Steve Hooker‟s story.