Wednesday, 14 December 2011

10,000 hours

I found out the dreadful truth yesterday. That I will (probably) never be an expert at anything.
An unreliable source (who was backed up by a reliable one) told me yesterday that it takes 10,000 (, so...slow...and...tired) hours to become an expert at a task.
That means about...I'm not even good at using a calculator but I'll try - just to save you the trouble -

2.762430939 hours a day for 10 years.
5.479452055 hours a day for 5 years.
13.69863014 hours a day for 2 years.

And that's without weekends or holidays.
This means I won't ever even be a world class nose picker let alone a world class cartoonist. If I have enough time to become an expert I probably don't have enough time to achieve fame and fortune.
I don't know how many years I've got left but I don't think I have the willpower to stay up all night writing and drawing all day long.
When I was a teenager the thought of a two year art certificate course seemed forever, 'But I'll be eighteen before I'm finished!'

I simply haven't done enough of anything I thought I was relatively good at to become great at it.
Faced with the possibility of my SOB (significant other body) being out of work next year I'm being pressured to come out of retirement and do something that I'm good enough at and that people will pay me to do.

There's not many things...

I had a good long think this morning whilst walking the dog and started feeling pretty sorry and regretful and wishing I hadn't been such a damned learning slut all my life, flitting from one instrument to the next...

Harmonica - when I started 20 years ago I was playing a couple of hours a day for about a month except for that time traveling in Ireland when I played an average of three hours a day. I've picked it up a couple of times a year since and now am proficient at When the Saints come Marching In and Moon River is coming along nicely.
Violin - 25 years ago I had ten Suzuki lessons and completed Book One, practicing an hour a day.
Tin Whistle - Got one 15 years ago and played every day for a couple of hours for about a month and since then an average of an hour once every six months.
Guitar - I've had one for two years now and can play a bit of Romanza and Stand by Me is shaping up.

I wish my parents had forced lessons on me when I was young and didn't want them.

What have I become expert at?
There must be something.

I tell myself it's the simple things that count and start counting the simple things.
I'm nice to people, mostly.
If I've spent twelve hours awake I would be nice to people at least 6 out of the twelve - I should be expert at that.

There isn't even enough ideas yet to have bullets.

I know it's ridiculous (but I'm desperate) I have spent all my life breathing and that just came naturally. Isn't it a good thing we don't have to practice that for 10,000 hours before we're expert at it!
I'm not even good at vanity. When I was a teenager I would've easily spent an hour a day looking in the mirror. In twenty years I would've been an expert.

Expert...ex pert...

- What! - where did that word come from? If it means not pert anymore then hey! - I am expert and didn't even realize it!




  1. I checked your math for you.
    There are 365 days in a year not including leap years
    There are 365.25 per year if you include them, one every four years.
    So ten years is 3652.5 days
    It sounds strange to have an eXtra half day thrown in there, but that is just because the leap day is every four years.
    365.25 days is the length of time it takes the earth to make a pass around the sun, and thats why there are leap years.
    Depending on where you start your group of ten years, there could be somewhere between 2 or 3 leap days in any 10 year period, by watching a calendar.
    But the eXtra "0.25" isn't perfectly correct.
    With our current system, leap years are divisible evenly by four eXcept century years. Century years have to be divisible by 400.
    For instance the year 2000 was divisible by 400 and was a leap year, but the year 1900 was not.
    10000 hours / 3652.5 days = 2.737850787

  2. Part Two:
    Your calculation result had 
    2.762430939 hours a day for 10 years.

    It appeared that you forgot about leap days, so I tried
    10000 / 3650 = 2.739736027

    That didn't get your result, so I took 1000 divided by your result to try to see how many days your year was:
    1000 / 2.762430939 = 362.0000000

    So I think you accidentally used 362 days per year.

    Your other two rates appear to use 365 days per year:

    5.479452055 hours a day for 5 years.
    13.69863014 hours a day for 2 years.

  3. Esbboston - Thank you for pointing that out. You are much more expert than me.
    I did say I wasn't good with a calculator.
    So it seems I'd have a few leap days up my sleeve...


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