“If you really want to be good at something, it will take 10,000 hours to master those skills.”
In line with Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory, Bill Gates did 10,000 hours of coding sessions before establishing Microsoft. The Beatles played for 10,000 hours in small bars across the country before they were famous. But the real question that no one is asking is – how much of an expert do you truly need to be?
From a largely unknown music band to a world-famous ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’-worthy pop group, it may take The Beatles 10,000 hours. But is 10,000 hours really necessary?
Let’s take an example: playing the guitar. It certainly does not need more than 10,000 hours to learn to play “Jason Mraz – I’m Yours” with four chords. In fact, many pop songs use the same four chords.
In short, you do not need 10,000 hours to be good at something.
1. The first reason for misconception is that people tend to give up easily. Research shows that someone with zero knowledge can learn the guitar’s four chords in just around 20 hours of practice. The biggest limitation is not time or intelligence level – but psychology. Many people give up before taking the first step of their journey.
It’s true that the length of time actually required will range from person to person. Research shows that in the chess world, to claim the Master’s status, some people need only 728 hours, but others will need more than 16,120 hours to do the same thing. Research shows that many variables can affect how fast a person can absorb knowledge, such as gen factor, talent, and selecting the best learning method.
Therefore it’s not about the quantity of hours but the quality.
2. The second misconception is to study for 10,000 or more without learning from your mistakes. People who do not take feedback seriously and improve on it = 10,000 hours of wrongdoing = becoming an expert of misconduct.
So to conclude, 10,000 hours is just a number – nothing more. To become good at something, don’t get intimidated by the number of hours of practice you have to put in. Focus on deliberate practice: learning from your mistakes and being intentional with how you improve. Find shortcuts or ways to simplify the task (such as learning the four main guitar chords to play many songs). And soon enough, you’ll have mastered the skill of your dreams 😉
Written by Juandi
Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.