10000 Hours Rule: Rethinking Mastery

10000 Hours Rule: Rethinking Mastery

The Rule of 10000 Hours

Ever hear the adage that you need 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill? For how popular it has become, this saying is almost completely false (and at best, misleading). Made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success, the theory goes that once this magic number is hit, you should be a master of any skill. Yet this doesn’t really reflect reality, and the research paper that Gladwell based his research on is woefully misquoted and misinterpreted. 10,000 hours is more of an average; there were many “masters” who achieved success in many more--and in some cases, fewer--hours than 10,000.


Quality Over Quantity

Still, the myth persists today as a de facto method and goal of learning a new skill. Is practice important? Of course! But Gladwell may be overstating the quantity of practice needed, when, in fact, it’s not so much about the numbers. So what really counts when it comes to mastery?


Not to preach, but FactSumo has the answer. It’s not about quantity, but quality. How you learn seems to be a bit more important than for how long. And this intuitively makes sense. If you’re trying to master a language, for example, you’ll find more success going to a host country or getting a native speaker to teach you, rather than trying to learn by yourself through books. Reading up by yourself won’t hurt you, but it can only get you so far.


How Do I Practice?

Instead, the secret to success lies in a combination of quality instruction, sources, and methods. Exposure is key. The more you surround yourself with the material (make it an inescapable part of your life), the more your brain won’t be able to ignore soaking up the information. Further, if you’re stuck in a classroom for an hour a day, and not practicing those skills in some other way in the real world, you’ll get burnt out pretty quickly. The same goes for reading books to acquire a skill. It’s all technically theory until you apply those skills outside.


But guess what? You’re going to make mistakes. It will even feel like failing at first. Perseverance is an extremely important quality to possess when you’re learning a new skill. So it’s ok to mess up. In fact, it’s something you should get used to. If you’re never getting a question wrong, that means you’re either an expert, or the skills are too basic for you.


The best to learn is to do. Now go out there and start doing! Interested in mastering the low-level basics so you can move on to more advanced concepts quicker? Check us out at our site! We think you’ll love it.