Read Part 1 here: Talent And Excellence: Are Athletic ‘Naturals’ Born Talented?
The 10,000 – Hour Rule chapter of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell presents many examples and points that I found very fascinating. The thesis of this chapter is fascinating in itself, “In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours” (Gladwell 40). The amazing opportunities and trends throughout history that have enabled some of the world’s most successful men to achieve their success was also a striking to realize. Finally, after reading both Gladwell and Chambliss, there is a seeming contradiction to their views on success and talent.
The 10,000 hour rule concept subtly knocks world-class excellence off of its pedestal by making it seem attainable to anyone willing to put in 10,000 hours. Chambliss also uses a 10-year time frame to achieve this 10,000 hour, which equals out to less than 3 hours everyday; definitely achievable if you have a fiery passion. This also raises the question of checkpoints; are there checkpoints for the 1,000th hour? The 5000th hour? Will 9000 hours of practice make you near world class but not quite there yet? Besides these points, the 10,000 hour rule makes a lot of sense because the processing power of the human brain will unconsciously retain successes and fix errors until many hours of repetition and practice later, excellence is achieved.
Birthdates at the right times and having numerous special opportunities was also an interesting read. For the longest time, I always assumed that Bill Gates and other Silicon Valley successes were simply geniuses with a great idea, but after reading through the numerous examples and facts, there is no doubt that not only were Bill Gates and Bill Joy geniuses, they were extremely lucky in achieving their 10,000 hours. Looking at various industries for the “next big thing” I have concluded that my year was born too late to catch on to the next big thing: the Internet. As a youth, I spent a lot of time on the Internet, enough to easily rack up 10,000 hours. As a 1989 baby, I was born approximately 5-10 years too late to catch onto the internet trend which companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have capitalized on. According to Gladwell, my year will probably be too old to catch onto the next big thing after the Internet.
Upon reading through The 10,000 Hour Rule and The Mundanity of Excellence, a first reaction may be to think that they are contradictory. Gladwell emphasizes the 10,000 hours of practice to success while Chambliss emphasizes that you can practice all you want, but unless you have a qualitative change, you will be stuck in your class. These two seemingly contradictory views actually fit perfectly with each other. Not only do you have to have a qualitative change, but you must also have a strong work ethic and drive, which can easily lead to 10,000 hours of practice. On the other end, using Bill Gates and Bill Joy as examples, I can only assume that whatever programming they spent their 10,000+ hours on was challenging, world-class level programming. Gates and Joy did not just spend all of their time programming, they were likely making qualitative changes to their programming whenever they saw fit.