how long is 10000 hours? 10000-hour rule

how long is 10000 hours

how long is 10000 hours?
10,000 hours is approximately 417 days. It’s 1.1408 years. If you devote 3 hours per day it would be approximately 3333 days or a little over 9 years.

The 10,000-hour rule has been around since the early ’70s but this rule was popularized and brought into the limelight by renowned Canadian journalist and author, Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm mentioned this rule in his bestselling book ‘outliers’ Outliers is a nonfiction book that was published in 2008 and examines the key factors that contribute to success. One of the factors mentioned in this book was the 10,000-hour rule. The book said “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness”  Taking this statement at face value makes it seem pretty simple. If you wanna be great at anything just devote 10,000 hours of practice towards it and you will be experienced enough to be called a genius or a master of that field. Ten thousand hours of practice roughly equates to around 20 hours per week for 10 years. The reality of the situation could be more different.

Deliberate versus Mindless Practice:

While an initial reading provides a simple enough explanation to the statement, the secret to success or greatness is not just giving ten thousand hours to the cause. One can mindlessly dawdle around and practice half-heartedly for as long as possible without actually learning anything or retaining any skill sets. 

The rule has a strong foundation. 20 hours of practice every week might not sound so bad however practice needs to be done with intent and diligence. Every time you practice you must have learned something from the previous day’s work and must work hard to implement some changes to improve and refine the way you work. This type of practice is referred to as a deliberate practice by scientists. Deliberate practice is practice with the intent to improve after each round. The ten thousand hour rule while specifying the amount of time one needs to practice does not mention that it’s not how much you practice but how you practice that makes the difference.

The Right Kind of Practice:

While most experts in their field have around 10 years of experience while some others who practiced the right way would have mastered the field in 8-9 years. The right kind of practice can go a long way in cutting the learning curve and making it easier and faster to become a master in a certain field.

A great example of this is the famous world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen. Who at the age of 13 became the youngest grandmaster at the time. While many other skilled grandmasters have been playing the game and studying chess theory for a long time, Magnus spent most of his time playing online against similarly rated players over the world. His practice and learning were more practical than theoretical. This is not to say that chess theory is not important but there is only so much you can learn and that knowledge is quite common amongst grandmasters. Therefore in order to surpass someone in chess openings and theory one has to study much more since the current bar for chess knowledge amongst grandmasters is so high. Practical games and positions however are far more versatile and can lead to games that have never been recorded in the history of chess since there are so many moving pieces and possibilities. Magnus and his way of practice were different but it was the right kind of practice for him which allowed him to undercut everyone and scoop up the world title making him the youngest to win it at the time.

Some Exceptions to the Rule:

The ten thousand rule as fascinating and doable as it sounds is not applicable everywhere. This is because according to a study by Princeton University deliberate practice makes up for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains. This is because while practice makes a difference, how much difference it makes depends on the chosen field. Frans Johansson in his book “The Click Moment” explains this by saying that practice can be considered a predictor of success in fields that have a super stable structure, history, and foundation. A few examples of such fields are tennis, chess, and classical music. However other fields such as rock and roll, entrepreneurship, and other professions are constantly innovating, evolving, and changing. In such fields practice is not the only way to move forward and become an expert. Innovating and directly impacting the field can also make you a pioneer. Some examples of people excelling in their fields without using the ten thousand hour rule are Bill Gates who was able to amass his fortune through Microsoft since he was familiar with a computer and used to operate it since his childhood days, In this case, it was the familiarity of the individual with the core product that his business ended up influencing that helped him understand the market and realize that there was a need for a product such as Microsoft Excel and word and create the product for the same. Another example is the rock and roll band called the sex pistols which gained mass fame and worldwide popularity even though the lead bass player Sid Vicious could barely play the bass at a professional level. 


So while some fields and professions are heavily influenced by the ten thousand hour rule, there are many other fields that are influenced by the rule to a far lesser extent making it arguably not as important as other factors that can contribute to success and excellence. However the core principle of the ten thousand rule still stands strong. The rule while at a first glance seems quite simple and straight forwards by stating “put in 10000 hours of work and you will be a master” can also be interpreted as saying “No matter the field or the starting point, if you put in enough hard work and effort you can make it to the top” this rule says that there are no prodigies and gifts in this world and if anyone wants to make it to the top they got to work hard, put in the hours and grind their way to the top

Also read I Don’t Want to Work – How to Address the feeling?

how long is 10000 hours? 10000-hour rule

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top