10,000 Hour Myth: Does It Actually Lead to Success?
When I first started on my entrepreneurial journey years ago, the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of a skill was drilled into my head. As someone eager to see results quickly, this conventional wisdom was tough to swallow.
I recently had the chance to pick the brains of some industry veterans on my podcast to get their real-world perspective. Personalities on set included Dawn, a personal finance blogger of 10 years known as “SG Budget Babe,” and Sian, host of the popular Chinese podcast LiCaiOhYeah.
What is this 10,000 hour concept?
As Xian explained, “It’s a metaphor for the idea that to become good at something, you need to put in the work and effort over an extended period of time. If you do three hours a day, it equates to around nine years to really start being recognized and successful.”
It is not without flaws, “It’s not just about the time – you need to make sure you’re grinding in the right direction. How do you know you’re not just repeating the same mistakes for your first 1,000 hours?”
This sparked a discussion around finding shortcuts. As experts who’ve tried multiple approaches, they both emphasized exploring shortcuts but understanding potential trade-offs. Sian shared that some shortcuts require compromising your morals. If a client brings you cash to bypass proper processes as an agent, what are the consequences down the line if caught?
We agreed that while talent exists, experience is what allows you to navigate diverse circumstances and truly hone your expertise. Dawn recalled influencers she knew who couldn’t sustain success beyond initial viral hits and shows that “Experience teaches you how to stay relevant through different seasons, handle crises, and continue engaging new audiences.”
Both Dawn and Sian attributed their ability to weather industry changes to racking up 10,000+ hours in their fields. But they acknowledged commitment itself matters more than any hourly benchmark. People get attracted to shiny new prospects but don’t always stick with one path long enough to reach mastery. That’s really the failure – lack of commitment to see things through.
So, while a definitive number of hours may be an oversimplification, their advice reinforced that real success depends on continual growth over an extended period – not overnight fame or quick shortcuts. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With focus and perseverance and willingness to learn from failures, true mastery develops in time.
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