Saturday, June 2, 2012


Ever heard of Gladwell's "10,000 hours rule" idea? You give yourself 4 or 5 years of doing something, 40+ hours per week, a job or anything else, and you're gonna get real good at it. There's a "tipping point" in there someplace where you go from being okay at something to really gettin' down with it. The idea struck a chord with me because of being able to look back at a few different jobs I've had. I knew I had the job down after a few months or a year or whatever, but 4 or 5 years of doing it takes things to a whole 'nuther level. Your cocky co-worker who's been there a whole year and half? Still a rookie, and he doesn't even realize it.

I think the same general thing applies to using Linux or shooting a basketball or writing or working on cars or anything else. Maybe it's why that degree takes four years to earn. Reminds me of this old Prince song, "Joy in Repetition," or John Wooden's book The Wizard of Westwood -- as I recall, the title of the first chapter was "Practice, practice, practice." Or, John Handy's jazz classic, "Hard Work." I tell M.A.L. that this is the old dude's secret that he wishes he understood when he was young. 

When I was around 18, I had dropped out of college and I was working on a Building & Grounds crew and the crew leader was this old, toothless dude from Oklahoma, way past retirement age, they called him "Robby." I asked him why he was still out there, driving those trucks and tractors and all that, bustin' his butt. Cat was the hardest worker of all of us. 

"Work is pleasure," he answered. Dang. Took a lot of years for the truth of that to really sink in.

No comments: