A friend called tonight and told me about an interview she had seen with a talented classical musician turned rock star. The rock star was speaking to a group of budding musicians about how long it had taken him to craft his art. He told them he started playing music when he was ten years old and figured it took about 10,000 hours to do anything well. I think he is exactly right. You have to put in the time to be an expert.
Another insight the rock star shared was that he was self critical without being self punishing. I remembered the day my younger daughter rode a bike on her own. She had starts and misses and fell down quite a few times. But she approached this milestone with tenacity and delight. Learning can be frustrating and joyful. It’s the combination that makes the ride so worth it.
Thoughts? Questions? Please post your comments and I’ll do my best to reply to you personally.
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Judy – wonderful to share and teach by example as you do. The best thing about attaining expertise is often the process of getting there. We rarely appreciate the talents in our life that come to us easily- it’s those that require that extra effort which generally mean the most to us. So I would advise all to enjoy the learning process and the trip getting there! Be it healing from an injury, learning hypnosis and to relax or achieving expert status in an area you choose. I recall enjoying my music more when I was learning to play and my practice at home almost more than the years I spent playing as a professional. Passion rewards us within and often the personal rewards are much greater than the public ones.
Thanks for your great comment. I absolutely agree that one of the best things about attaining expertise is the process of getting there. I loved starting my own business nine years ago, I love being a school board member (yes, I admit that I might be crazy but I do love it because it is new and interesting and I am learning so much), and tonight I watched a television program in which a man in his seventies climbed Mount Everest for the first time. I wish you all great new adventures in learning and life.
This rock star’s experience aligns with Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule! In his book the Tipping Point he argues that to be successful one must put in 10,000 hours of practice honing your skill; whether it be sports, music, science, or business.
Yes, now that you say it, I did read that in The Tipping Point. You make a great point! Thanks so much for sharing.
So true of everything in our lives. Would love to hear more about being “self critical without being self punishing”.
Here’s what I think this means … that you must be completely honest about what you are doing well and what you need to improve upon without blaming yourself or giving up. If you don’t know it, you might want to read the book, Learned Optimism, by Dr. Martin Seligman. In it he talks about how not to give up or blame yourself.
Does anyone else have something to add or share?