But don't use this as an excuse when you mess up at your piano recital.
I don't know if I would say 10,000 hours is the proper number. I would indicate that my personal experience has been that it takes years of practicing your skills, refining your abilities, honing your competitive edge of what you do really well, and applying it under competitive pressure to become a real master in your chosen field/discipline.
1. I've been very lucky to have great mentors in my career as an executive recruiter over the past 30 years. I've learned, digested, adapted, and internalized from two of the greatest recruiters on this planet - Lou Adler and Brad Remillard. I've spent 30 years perfecting how I conduct executive search - I'm very good at it - but I also have almost 60,000 hours of experience learning, refining, and applying my skills. I'm proud to toot my own horn that I'm in the top 1% of all executive recruiters.
2. I am one of this country's top speakers on improving hiring accuracy and success. I've been conducting workshops and seminars for over 15 years. I probably do 60-70 talks a year with over 1000 people attending my programs each year for the past 15 years. I'm an award-winning speaker. If I add up the preparation time, practice time, and actual delivery time - I am in excess of 10,000 hours on speaking to groups on how to hire more effectively.
3. I coach high school girls basketball. I've been doing this just shy of ten years. My first few years, I had no idea what I was doing. Between reviewing game film, attending games, and running practices almost year-around - averaging 20-30 hours a week of coaching, I'm well over the 10,000 hour guideline. I find myself coaching against other coaches with fewer years of experience (fewer hours refining their craft). We don't recruit like some schools - even with weaker talent, frequently I win games because I've been doing this so long - adjusting during a basketball game and extracting the highest level of performance from a group of diverse student-athletes has become second nature. It's not because I am a brilliant basketball coach - it's because I've got over 10,000 hours of moving toward mastery in coaching.
4. In my years of interviewing candidates - personally leading over 500 searches and interviewing over 125,000 candidates, I've come to the conclusion that the number one attribute of success is initiative and self-motivation. Does someone, regardless of whether they are a high school girls' basketball player, chess master, or CFO work on their own to get better - or do they do the minimum amount of work to just survive and get by? The best - the top 25% in any field - have extreme levels of personal initiative and self-motivation to improve themselves and invest the time to get better.
I do realize there are natural prodigies which can achieve great success with very few hours of investment - for the bulk of the population - folks like you and me - we need years and thousands of hours of practicing and applying our craft to become to become true masters.
Do you agree with this premise - or disagree? Do you believe in the 10,000 hour requirement to become a master?
Master of Hiring Accuracy
Doctor of Hiring Failure and Pain
Prognosticator of Radical Hiring Improvement