According to Malcolm Gladwell, in order to become proficient or successful at a skill, you must practice for a total of 10,000 hours. In Gladwell’s book Outliers, he says that both The Beatles and Bill Gates practiced their skills and talents for 10,000 hours – and that is how they became so successful.
I’m not sure how Gladwell came up with such a precise number. I’m not sure if there’s truth in that theory. What if you’re practicing the wrong way? What if you’re not following the correct techniques, and you still reach 10,000 hours of practice? Does that mean you’ll still be proficient?
I do agree with the common statement “practice makes perfect.” Practice and determination are absolutely necessary in order to do well in anything, whether it’s writing, playing a musical instrument, programming computers, etc.
It’s so easy to call yourself a writer, or to say that you’re a guitar player or a lead singer. But in order to succeed, you must practice and continually work on your craft or your hobby. If you’re a writer, it’s not enough to write intermittently, whenever “the muse” decides to strike. If you play an instrument or you’re in a band, it’s not enough to practice every few weeks. If you dream of success, you must make an effort to really work on your hobby.
Part of practicing is getting things wrong occasionally. Feeling rejection. Getting negative critiques or reviews. Having people tell you you’re no good. But if you love your craft, you will put all that behind you and try again. Practice harder. Find out what you’re doing wrong and correct it. Use negative critiques to your advantage.
You may reach 10,000 hours of practice. But don’t let that be “the end.” You can still keep on learning and growing and getting better. Even though you may be perceived as an “expert” at your chosen craft or hobby, don’t become complacent and prideful. Sharing your talent with others and helping them is also part of practice – you can learn from others as well.