Tag Archives: books

10,000 Hours To Become A Master…only 9,999 to go

I have been reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell called The Outliers. This novel outlines the misconceptions on how society perceives success. The basic principle that Gladwell argues is that we (as a society) always view the successful, as the people who have struggled hard and were branded with an innate gift from birth. Now every chapter in the book is dedicated to argue a different perspective of how this view of the success may not be as simple as it seems. Now please feel free to read the novel as it is very interesting and filled with stories and statistics that really help drive Gladwell’s arguments but what I would like to hone in on in this post is what is called the “10,000 hour rule”.

To make things extremely clear this rule is simply a repeated observation with examples that back it up from a variety of different fields. The rule boils down to this: In order for an individual to master a certain skill, talent, or career, they must work at this specific task for a minimum of 10,000 hours. Now many of you reading are probably thinking this is a very arbitrary number but from the examples given it is a very understandable figure. The first example we can look at was The Beatles. their “opportunity” to perform for this amount of time came in the form of their invitation to play in Hamburg, Germany. This set the stage to allow them to perform for absolutely ridiculous chunks of time. Every night with a crowd that didn’t speak their language, for hours upon hours on end. If they didn’t get this break they would have never hit that 10,000 hour mark, they would have been playing one hour gigs as opposed to concerts that never seem to end. Another example that is worth mentioning is the story of Bill Joy a programmer who not only rewrote the Java language, and the UNIX language (which is the basis of windows/macs/etc.) but he also was one of the original founders of Sun Microsystems. This mans’ “opportunity” was the fact that he had access to a Computer Center that allowed for time-sharing (as opposed to the deathly slow punch cards) and 24 hour access throughout college. This served as the perfect working grounds to begin his mastery of programming.

What I am saying here and what Gladwell makes clearer is that it isn’t just their will to succeed but it is also their surroundings and opportunities that allowed them to make their impact on society. The novel views many other factors in the making of an “outlier” but what is very interesting is a conversation I had with a friend who read the book and subsequently was the one who recommended it in the first place. We were discussing this very topic of the time it takes to become amazing at something, and he brought up a point that opened up my eyes a social pattern I over looked when reading. He proposed the argument that because of the nature of the time that is needed to become so great at a task, many people in our society are crippled by their socioeconomic status from a young age, and because of that limitation they can not meet this criteria of proficiency (the 10,000 hours) in the long run. For example a child who has to work part time from the age of 15 until he graduates from college does not have the same time to “practice” a given task that he/she is fond of. All while another child that does not have to worry about that type of responsibility and can hone his/her efforts into said task. This can be seen in minority groups and poorer communities around the world. We are not saying that it is impossible to become successful under these conditions but it becomes more difficult, and there is more to overcome.

To become a master at a task you have to dedicate time, my only question now is, what should I be a master at  :) Please share your views and stories in the comments I would love to hear from you all, and will reply diligently. Thank you all for reading.

As I start my first of 10,000 hours slow, Im sure to find some wisdom as I go…

 

I love It!!!!

 

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Life of Mi

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I took my younger brother to watch the the movie Life of Pi. Now if you haven’t read anything by me before please be patient with this post as there is quite a lot to it. We leave for the movie and since movie theaters never have the right things, we brought the snacks along with us ( you try to find arnold palmer lemonade in the theater). I read the book a few years ago and I loved the book as I was in a phase where I spent a lot of time reading shipwreck novels. Being out on the sea, alone, held a symbolic parallel with how I viewed life when reading it. I began to see life very much as a solo mission, not because I was abandoned or because of some traumatic event but just because the coming and going of friends, the coming and going of the years passing by, and the lack of consistency is what drew me to the loneliness of the shipwreck that I could relate to.

I wont spoil a thing about the film so do not worry if you haven’t seen it yet. But one theme of the novel and subsequently the film was faith. I will not delve into the long story of how I became a Muslim but I will give insight on some of the things that drew me to believe in a higher power. Because you are never alway around someone, at some point in your life you will experience loneliness. When I say that, I don’t mean it in a depressing connotation, but it is more of a reflective, independent state, that you enter when you are alone. I was raised to be very independent, to go search for answers myself, and to figure things out on my own. My strongest social connections to this date are my brother, mother, and father. That is just how I was brought up. All of the friends I have had have been temporary in a sense and they come and go, and although I have plenty of people I talk to regularly, I realize that at the end of the day my independence is the thing I turn to. To fast forward a bit, my quest for finding the answers to more worldly questions that would pass my tests of logic and interrogation is what lead me to believe in the religion I am a part of today. Faith became a cane to lean on, to depend on, a cane that would never leave my side, even if when I rested my head on my bed alone at night where no other soul could hear my thoughts, I knew that there was a higher power out there.

This movie reminded me of how fleeting things can be, life, family, food, water, shelter, can all be gone in the blink of an eye and your level of appreciation of what you have left will be unlike any appreciation you had before. And with all of these things as variables, and as I began to become more mature I have found constants in faith and in the world around me. Not to say that everything in my life is perfect but I am trying to make the best out of everything and this movie reminded me of how important it can be to never loose hope.

My brother (just turned 17) absolutely loved the movie and was raving about it as we walked home (interesting because I was a year younger then him when I read it). We got home and he went on to watching an anime and I could not stop thinking about how beautiful a simple story can be. I love that now I have a simple outlet to tell stories of my own (and hopefully I get better at telling the stories). As I was sitting on my bed trying to come up with a cool idea for a unique logo my mother walks in and we start having a very mother-son conversation. I mean, it was very text book but at the same time it was very relevant. I am very close to my mother in that as I got older she became more of an advisor then a mother and her ability to be both at the same time and be so good at it is something I will never fully comprehend. But after watching that movie and after having some serious stress from school and relationship related stuff her advice was a beautiful complement to the movie. The film discussed the faith in life and what amazed me was that my mother focused her efforts of our talk on the observation of life.

Without her knowing that my blog was about picking things up from life she kept telling me to learn from every experience. But more then that, she told me something interesting about relationships and life in general. She talked about how in her marriage with my father how it is essential to set up ground rules for the relationship to last her. The two qualities that were highest on her priority list were respect and trust. I thought love would be up there on the list but she said that these two become the foundation for the relationship.

The conversation flowed into how important it is to learn from life. She told me how when she had me she was learning everything for the first time and with every year I grew she would read up as much as she could from the library to give her piece of mind on what to expect. She would learn from her life in addition to anything she could pick up along the way. She said that from the outside you could see more then when you are under stress in the situation, she also mentioned how important it is to learn from your mistakes. I suppose the majority of it was a reminder but I appreciated every word because no matter how many times I hear it I forget and I suppose that is why im staying up so late writing this, because at the end of the day the purpose of my blog is to learn from life and to benefit from it while having fun along the way. Goodnight reader and I hope I didn’t bore you to death :)

Search for what you need to know, and I’ll try to take that wisdom as I go…

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