Take a moment and think back to 10 years ago. What did your life look like? Who did you spend time with? What have you learned since then? A lot has happened in the past decade. Whole families have been created, children became adults, degrees have been earned, life changing technologies have become common place and even South Sudan has emerged as the world’s youngest country. Maybe you’ve gotten married, maybe divorced, friendships ended, new ones began, maybe you’ve dropped old habits, or developed new addictions or maybe you’ve found yourself in a rut finding it difficult to shift out of your redundant routine. The question is, considering all the events that have transpired in your life in the past ten years, how much of it was intentional? And with the promise of another decade emerging, how much advantage will you take of its potential?
In Malcom Gladwell’s best-selling book “Outliers” he reveals the true secret to skill mastery and success: 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Whether it is law, sports, art, business, mathematics or communication, 10,000 hours of focused deliberate practice is what creates the Michael Jordans, the Warren Buffets, Richard Pryors, the Kanye Wests and the Mozarts of the world. Those 10,000 hours roughly translate to 1 decade of dedication. In order to complete 10 years of dedication, you need to practice for 3 hours a day. That is all. That is what is separates the good from the great. Now that you’re armed with this simple but powerful information you’re just one deliberate decision and a decade of dedication away from soaring to the peak of your personal potential.
Take a moment and visualize yourself in 2010. You’ve adjusted your schedule to incorporate 3 hours of practice a day. Maybe you’ve decided to wake up earlier and get an hour of practice in before work, you’ve taken 30 minutes of your lunch break to practice, you spent an hour and a half every evening practicing. Over the years you’ve seen yourself progress. Now 10 years later, you’re a decade older but you’re also a bona fide master of your craft. Your mastery is paying off. You get paid premiums for your work, new opportunities arise and you can pick and choose what projects you participate in, because as a master in your field, you’re in extreme high demand. In 10 years your life could be completely unrecognizable.
The 10,000 hour rule doesn’t discriminate on age. It’s never too late to start. Begin with a goal. What do you want to do? In what skill do you want to have world class mastery? Then find resources to help you. Join communities, take online courses, read books and practice, practice, practice. There will come a level to your mastery journey where you will require a coach. Mastery is never fully self-taught and the journey is never linear. There will be a lot of plot twists as your story unfolds. Most importantly, take pride and enjoyment in your mastery journey as opposed to being hyper focused on your end goal. This is how you can fully take advantage of the new decade and start focusing on reaching your personal potential. If 2020 is really your year, it’s time to get to work and start putting in that practice.