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Dreams and the 10,000 Hour Solution

October 11, 2010

Dreams and the 10,000 Hour Solution:

Practice is the difference between a dream and a dream realized. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, provides example after example of the role practice plays in success. His examples show that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice, the rough equivalent of five years of full time work, to become truly proficient or expert at a complex skills set. This is true whether the goal is mastery in playing a musical instrument, computer programming, science, writing, or excelling in just about any field. Repeated and continual practice is the key.

Timing is also important when it comes to successfully breaking new ground or pioneering a new concept or technology. The ability to see the opportunity often occurs when we are immersed in it – working at it, learning, practicing, experimenting, innovating, and thinking of applications that would create value or appeal to others.

When I was a kid I wanted to be good at something instantly. I thought, “I don’t need to practice, I’ll just do it.” Or I would pretend to practice and not really put in the required effort. Some people may be blessed with certain talents and be able to develop skills much faster than others, and be more successful regardless of how much someone else practiced. I was never one of those people. I always had to work at it. I think most of us are that way.

The not so secret “secret” to fulfilling aspirations is practice, learning from mistakes, more practice, more learning, more practice, more trial and error, and just as important a passion for what you are doing.

If one of your objectives is to live a fulfilling, meaningful and purpose-infused life, then you must also practice the art of living it – emulating the vision you have created for yourself – which is your dream.

Dreams can come true. Unfortunately, wishing for them to happen is not an effective strategy, so don’t expect it to work. Most dreams are realized though practice, persistence, and hard work. If you haven’t already, now is as good a time as any to begin your 10,000 hours! Think of it as the 10,000-hour solution.

Steve Weitzenkorn

Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 8:38 am

    Nice post. I know Robin’s sister… I always teach that action is the missing step to the “secret.” That and “creating” from your soul’s purpose and being willing to “share” what you create.

    That said, you lesson here in this post is so important. Often we do have to learn and practice so we can bring into the world that which we desire. We have to gain the skills. I know this as a writer. I teach people how to get published from a place of learning it myself. We teach what we most need to learn. It has taken me 10 years to build the author platform I need to attract a publisher, for instance….learning and practicing along the way.

    Not everything happens over night or with the lightening speed of a thought even though our thoughts are, indeed, creative. That’s why so many people get disillusioned by these “secret” methodologies. It isn’t that they don’t work…it’s just that they don’t have all the facts–the reality–of how they work.

    • October 13, 2010 6:23 am

      Nina, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and insights, which reminded me of something Danny Kaye said, “It took me ten years to become an overnight success.”

      I hope you are enjoying our blog and look forward to hearing from you again. And if you think others would find in a valuable read, please let them know.

      My best,

    • October 13, 2010 9:26 pm

      Hi Nina,

      It’s a small world!

      Action and repeated action. I learned once that when we get close to a goal, we often encounter the most resistance. It is as if God is asking us to make that last push. Unfortunately, so many people get to that last barrier and see themselves as failing. They quit rather than continue to practice and persevere. It is only through that complete and total commitment, and the continued action required–over and over again–that we see the obstacles finally crumble, and we at last achieve our goal.

      Many blessings,

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