Become The Best At Something
Malcolm Gladwell has a theory about you. He thinks where and when you were born play a major role in how successful you will be in life. He also thinks that becoming a superstar takes about 10,000 hours of hard work, and that the hard work you do is more important than where or when you were born.
I did the math: 10,000 hours is about 416 day. If you practices non-stop for 13 months, you would become a superstar. Doesn’t sound too bad when you look at it like that.
But we all take breaks now and then, right? So, in reality, it’s going to take us a lot longer than a year to become great at something. If you practiced 8 hours a day, every day, it would take you 3.4 years to reach 10,000 hours. Practice 4 hours a day and you’re looking at just shy of 7 years before you reach the mark. Practice 2 hours and it’s going to take you 13.6 years to become brilliant.
Not every niche needs 10,000 hours to accomplish greatness. The more established a market is, Seth Godin points out, the harder it becomes to get through “The Dip.” If the market is small or novel, The Dip is shallower and requires fewer hours to establish credibility the marketplace.
The Dip that Seth refers to is the time when a new project seems hopeless and doomed to failure. In fitness terms, it’s that week (or month or several months) about half-way toward your goal when, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to hit a new personal record. The weight doesn’t come off; your bench press doesn’t increase; you just can’t figure out why everything seems so damn heavy.
Get past The Dip and glory abounds. But that’s the hard part. It’s so much easier to give up and walk away. “Too bad,” you tell yourself. “Maybe next time.”
Yeah, maybe there will be a next time. And maybe there won’t. Maybe the earth will blow up before you get your chance and then you’re out of luck. It’s like in the movies: nobody wants to die a virgin.
Don’t rely on Next Time being there. Act and act now. Push through the pain, push through the disgust and claw you way to victory, kicking and screaming if you have to. I dare you to do something momentous today.
When was the last time you went through The Dip? Why didn’t you give up and walk away?