December 29, 2013
Malcolm Gladwell’s outliers, and it’s 10 000 hour goal have been quoted, written and talked about to an extent where it’s so boring, over analysed and have lost most of it’s meaning.
There is something to the 10 000 hour rule. I don’t think it is a magical number, or a strict rule; something a lot of beginners and morons do.
I have learnt, developed and gotten paid for quite a few different skills up to this point. And there is no magic here. I learnt everything I know about programming, computers and system administration in the room I lived, in my mothers house, until I moved out.
You don’t need to be a genius to learn most skills, you need to me smart enough. My personal opinion is that mosts persons have the required intelligence to learn what they want, if they really want it.
And it is with this craving to learn something that the 10 000 hour rule comes in. I don’t think it will be 10 000 for most, or all people. I don’t talk about all of the people that have an guitar and some “Learn to play guitar book”, I don’t talk about all of the people with a copy of some “Objective-C Programming” or “Developer iPhone apps” book at their desk.
I talk about all of the people that pick something, they don’t know, and they start doing it, and they keep on doing it, until they are really good at it.
The key here is both the patience and time they put into it. But it’s also how they use their time. You need to put pressure on yourself, to do something you don’t know. I didn’t continue to write “Hello World!” programs for 10 000 hours, I wrote more and more advanced apps, and web sites. And I continued to write those things I had written in the past in new and better ways. In new and better languages and frameworks.
I have not written the same blog posts over and over again. But I have written about many of the same subjects. And I think most of what I write today is a lot better than the stuff I wrote a year ago.
The difference between the people that get really good, and those whom just waste a lot of time, is that those of us that get really good always know where they need to get better. They know what part of their skill set, that are the weakest.
One thing is to know it. It is another thing to do something about it. This is why you need something like the 10 000 hours. It might be 10 000 pages, or 10 000 versions of your iPad app.
The important thing is to not just keep doing what you are doing. It is important is to wander into deep water. To keep on pushing yourself to the better. This is the critical sense. You need to be your biggest critic.