They say it takes 10,000 hours to be a master at something. Who are the They? Not sure, but They know… ok?

After my last post about a human life equating to up to one million hours on earth, and pondering how many hours of that we waste in traffic, it seems somewhat appropriate to follow it up by asking how many hours we spend doing the things we actually want to do?

How many hours do you spend making love? Being creative? Working on projects that excite you? Developing your skills to become a master of something?

There are 8765 hours in a year. Assuming you spend a third of that sleeping and eating, you could be a master of something in 2 years. But add social commitments, trips to the gym, work etc etc… well 10,000 hours may end up being spread over an entire lifetime.

To give you some more precise numbers….

If you treat your skill as if a full time job, it’ll take more like 5.2 years.

10,000 / 8 = 1,250 working days
1,250 / 5 = 250 working weeks
250 / 48 = 5.2 working years

If you’re trying to fit in a full-time, or even a part-time job, on top of trying to master your skill, it will take a lot longer…

If you invest 3 hours per week it will take you 64 years!

10,000/ (3*52) = 64 years

A friend recently advised me to “choose something, anything, but ONE thing, and kick ass at it.” In a world of 7 billion people where to get anywhere you really do need to master something – be it a skill, a niche business or a niche role in someone else’s – you need to get good at something. Getting really really good at one thing is more highly rewarded than being pretty good at many things…

What’s your “one thing”? How many hours, years, decades do you have till you’ll be a master?

I think my “one thing” is writing, that’s what I really love doing. But what kind of writing? As the eclectic nature of this blog shows, I haven’t really chosen that “one thing” to write about yet. I probably should work at getting really good at writing on something more specific, for a specific audience.

10,000 hours out of 1 million hours – it doesn’t sound like much.

I turn 30 this year = I’ve already used up 260,000 of my hours. 740,000 hours remaining. And that damn clock – it never stops ticking!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
–- Mark Twain

Note: I took this pic in Jervis Bay a couple of weeks ago. Drinking beer on a catamaran watching pelicans float by may not be time mastering a skill, but it does seem to pause the clock.