The magic number

Awhile back, I read an article about a man who decided to become a professional golfer. He quit his job and went all out to achieve his goal. While that sounds admirable, a story like that isn’t completely without precedent. Just another feel-good human interest story, right?

Wrong.

Digging a little deeper, I learned that this man had no golf experience whatsoever. He wasn’t even particularly interested in the sport. Nowhere along the line had he displayed any sort of extraordinary talent for it. His foray into professional golfing was all about testing a theory. Whoa–now that’s different.

This man had read somewhere that 10,000 hours of dedication can make a person good at anything, and now he wants to see if that’s true. While he chips away at the requisite time frame–his plan covers 6 hours per day, 6 days a week, for 6 years–I’m pondering the implications.

To what would I want to dedicate 10,000 hours? Where would I want to focus? Can I leverage that time against my talents? How much further could I get if I devoted those hours to an area where I actually have some natural ability? Could I go from good to great? What about 5,000 extra hours? 1,000 extra hours? Is there really a magic number, or will any extra time help? What can I learn from this?

This experiment notwithstanding, I should ask myself questions like that all the time. I should know where my talents lie and then search for ways to develop those talents. And then I need to put time into them.

Time and dedication. I think those are the key elements to this man’s experiment. What that means is that becoming really good at something takes a lot of hard work. 10,000 hours? Maybe, but why count? A few extra minutes every day still move me further ahead; every bit adds up.

I guess that means I need to crack open my French book.

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