Terrifying Thought

Some time ago, Seth Godin posted about Malcolm Gladwell's essay on music students. One study found that top students outperformed lesser students because of the amount of time, in total, they had spent practicing.

The magic number seemed to be 10,000 hours. That is to say, 10,000 hours of practice puts you at the top of your field. (At least for music, though Gladwell argues that it generalizes well.)

Godin came up with a few exceptions, but that's not what I want to focus on. What I want to focus on are the terrifying realizations I had after churning on this idea for a few weeks.

First, I decided that I haven't spent 10,000 hours doing anything. Not even writing code*. And maybe I should start focusing more.

Then I realized, with horror, I have spent 10,000 hours doing some things:

  • Playing computer games
  • Watching TV
  • Surfing the damn internet

Well, shit.


* Honestly, I've been a developer for about 11 years, which should put me around 20,000 hours! But developers spend--easily--less than 25% of their time actually writing code. ...I hope that I can add to that the many hours I spent coding for fun in my youth. Thus I'd like to think I'm close.

1 comment:

r_b_bergstrom said...

What an horrendously awesome post. Great point.