This 10000 hour thing is rubbish.

10,000 hours is about 5 years – that only gets you to the start line. Most apprenticeships take 4 years to complete, some take as much as 7 and in my world there’s no apprentice just out of their time in any discipline that has achieved master status, dispite their oftentime dillusion to the contrary. Plenty of hospital registrars have these dillusions only to be outclassed by the lowly nurse for example.

Look, the 10000 hour thing is a great sound bite but it’s bollocks. To reach what would generally be referred to as mastery in anything takes 3 times this or more. 5 years for basic level understanding, 5 more years to become an expert, another 10 to get anywhere close to mastery. A lifetime is more realistic. Mastery is more than the technical skill of the thing. A deeper understanding of the world is required, of people, nature and relationship. 5 years of work, or 2.5 if you work 80 hour weeks (tongue firmly in cheek), doesn’t even come close.

Mastery is not something that we can bestow upon ourselves. It’s not something we can strive for through some process or other either. It’s not something we decide one day we’ve reached. Mastery is what others see in us when we have put our time in, whatever that time happens to be. It sits in the back of the room and looks for no attention. It talks very little and when it does everyone that is supposed to hear it hears it. Without mastery what’s offered is like an echo; vacuous and without real substance.

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Writer on Psychology of Creativity, Human Performance, Behaviour & Expertise | Examining Happiness & Work | Slight Perfectionist | larrygmaguire.com/subscribe

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