Thursday, January 6, 2011

Allie Pleiter on Ten Thousand Hours

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.  While the book has loads of interesting information on what makes success and what doesn’t, one fact stuck with me:  10,000 hours.
It’s been scientifically and anecdotally documented that the point of mastery for most given skills and techniques comes at the 10,000 hour mark.  Be it cooking or music or computer programming or calculus--the mastery mark seems to universally rest at around 10,000 hours.  Talent may be a launching pad, but it is still no short cut to excellence.  Gladwell presents the theory that opportunity and cultural environment fuel success just as much as--in fact more so--than intellect or talent.  The person closest to their 10,000 hours will be the person “in the right place at the right time” to achieve greatness.
As a person who views the world with the eyes of faith, I found this fascinating...and challenging. Not because I believe in “luck,” but because I believe it’s God’s providence that gives us opportunity and environment and talent.  Which also means that it’s my job to put in those 10,000 hours to be ready to use the gifts He’s given me when my time comes.  In writing, in life, in whatever I pursue.  

It’s why the hero in my story MISSION OF HOPE is a favorite of mine.  Quinn Freeman's life--his “10,000 hours”--led up to God’s unique invitation for him to make a difference.
Where are you on this road?  Can the concept of “10,000 hours to mastery” fuel a goal for this new year?  Where is God calling you to be ready and working?

9 comments:

  1. Great cover. And, interesting that 10,000. I've watched you knit. Did it ttake you 10,000 hours to master? I crochet, and I'm thinking it took me a long, long time. When I try to teach others, a lot of people quit because they want it to be three lessons and I'm as good as you.

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  2. Now, you tell me, Allie! I didn't keep track of all the hours I've written. Should I start over? GRIN

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  3. You know, Pamela, I did wonder how many hours I've been knitting when he mentioned that. Funny enough, I figure I average about 20 hours a week of true writing (manuscripts, not PR or emails or...ugh...twitter) so I guesstimate that I've just about hit my 10,000 mark in writing last year. After a dozen published books. That was sort of humbling.

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  4. Allie -- 10,000 hours! That is humbling. I haven't counted, but I expect I'm very close to that. I've always said one needs to liken learning to write well enough to publish to learning to play the piano well enough to perform a concert for pay (ie not just for your family and friends). Not many expect to sit down to a piano and play well enough to do that, but too many expect to sit down to a computer and write a publishable book on the first try.

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  5. 10,000 hours? I'm n ot sure I want to calculate how many days that is. But after 17 years, I'm probably pretty close.

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  6. My husband quotes this saying to me all the time whenever I say I don't feel like I've mastered my writing yet. I don't know how many hours I've put into this career. It makes my brain hurt to think about sitting down and trying to figure out the hours. Ugh. I just hope one day I'll know when I've hit that number. do you think something exciting will happen?

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  7. First off...hunky hero on your cover!!

    And 10k hours. Wow. I'm sure I have a good bit to go. Wish there was some way to figure it out.

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  8. Ooo, love the new blog look!!

    I just finished reading Outliers too! I loved it. Fascinating stuff. It solidified my feelings of God's providence as well. He puts us in the right place at the right time, and it is up to us to put in the work to grab the opportunity.

    Great cover, by the way, yum!

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  9. They DID do a nice job on my hero, didn't they :)

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