What have you done for a total of 10,000 hours, and why does it matter?
Since I was quite young - maybe eighteen - I've felt incredibly frustrated when somebody would look at great work done by somebody in a field such as writing, art or music, shake their head and say, wistfully, 'He's a genius.' This would often be said by people I respected, which added to my frustration.
It seemed to me that to explain these achievements Luke this short-changed the person who had accomplished such an amazing feat, and gave the reader/viewer/listener a perfect excuse for not even attempting to accomplish something of a similar standard.
At the time, I was working on my first novel, a vampire story that would take me the next three years to write, would be critiqued by teachers and other people I admired, and will probably never be published.
Since then, I have spent more than a decade writing in a number of mediums, for a range of audiences and purposes. Today, I consider myself a fluent and confident writer. If I have gained some expertise in the area of writing, however, studies suggest that it is not a matter of IQ or even innate ability, but is the result of a simple equation:
10,000 hours x task (including guided practice and feedback from experts) = expertise.
You may have heard about these findings before. They were popularized in the book 'Outliers', which attributed the 10,000 hour principle to the success of The Beatles, Bill Gates, and Oppenheimer, among others. The results of the original study are quite fascinating, and would have greatly reassured my frustrated 18-year-old self. In case you're wondering, acquiring 10,000 hours' experience equates to practicing for 20 hours per week for a decade.
The link below will take you to an article about the original study, and comes from the Harvard Business Review. It's a pdf. If you have any comments about the article, or the concept, I'd love to hear them. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Business_Review