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Become an Expert with the 10000 Hour Rule

Updated on January 14, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect with the 10000 Hour Rule

Here's the good news. If you want to become an expert in your field, be that art, sport or business - you can. Contrary to popular belief, it's not always innate genius or talent that will make you a success, it's the hours that you put in, which means that ANYONE can do it.

I first came across the 10000 hour rule or ten year rule a few years ago when I read Learning from Wonderful Lives by Nick Baylis and immediately it made sense. I just wish that I had discovered this when I was younger!

I've put this lens together to act as a comprehensive reference tool for anyone interested in the 10000 Hour Rule. Hopefully it will help you to fulfill your dreams.

What Is the 10000 Hour Rule?

The 10000 Hour Rule is just that. This is the idea that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill.

For instance, it would take 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day to become a master in your subject. It would take approximately 5 years of full-time employment to become proficient in your field. Simply work out how many hours you have already achieved and calculate how many more you need to clock up before you reach 10000.

The 10000 Hour Rule - where do I find out more?

Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell's book has sparked off a lot of interest and debate about the 10000 hour rule. This is a great starting point and reveals many surprising examples of the rule at work.

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

A slightly different perspective from Gladwell's, but along the same lines.

Learning from Wonderful Lives: Lessons from the Study of Well-being Brought to Life by the Personal
Learning from Wonderful Lives: Lessons from the Study of Well-being Brought to Life by the Personal

This is a fantastic reference book for anyone interested in the art of success and wellbeing. Pricey, but worth it and with a chapter on the 10000 hour rule.


Squidoo Hour Poll

How many hours have you put into Squidoo?

See results

Bill Gates on Expertise: 10,000 Hours and a Lifetime of Fanaticism

Bill Gates talks about Gladwell's theories in this video clip and relates the 10000 hour rule to his own success. It's about being committed, perhaps even fanatical and never quitting. He also mentions luck, but he says that if you practice for long enough, luck will eventually come your way.

Is the 10000 Hour Rule Working for you? Let us know!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      it works for me definitely and l am a supporter of this theory, persistence is the magic word

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow that is 5 years of full time 40 hour work weeks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yes folks, go for it! Invest those 10,000 hours in the project of your life and you will not regret you did. It worked perfectly for me, today I enjoy the results of all the effort from all those years of hard work. Make sure you learn what you need to learn from the right source so that you don't waste your time. Best of luck!

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 

      6 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      I believe it's one of those "it depends" situations. And it DEPENDS on what your objectives are. Can you become an expert in your field in 10,000 hours? Absolutely! If you have sincerely passion for what you're pursuing, you can probably do it in less... I've heard it said that you can become an expert in your chosen field in five years.

      However, we must not overlook what that MEANS. Or doesn't mean. I'm a bona fide expert in at least four "microniches." None of that makes me a "commercial success" however... mostly because I lack the work ethic. But I definitely AM an "expert." My point being that being "an expert" and being "a success" are two quite different things... had I chosen to become an expert on motherboard design, I'd probably be singing a different song.

      Cool lens, however!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      10,000 hours is not a rule. The more you work at something, the better you will become at it, no sh*t. 10k hours doesn't guarantee success. Its more like a requirement if you want to hope to be successful.

      In other words, you won't be successful without putting a minimum of 10k hours. But you can still fail miserably even if you put in 10k hours. Don't foolishly believe you will be successful by working hard. Everyone works hard. Only a few succeed. Those are the outliers.

    • practicemastery1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Yep, investing 10 000 makes you a master practitioner in any field.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      True, but also be aware that the 10,000 hour rule is also flawed. As you'll see it's pointless to take 10,000 hours to learn cartoons. And the 10,000 hour rule is also people working (mostly alone) and making a ton of mistakes (which they have to fix, mostly alone). Plus the fact that they then become experts of a degree that most of us may never want to achieve.

      In short, it's possible to become exceedingly good in about 600 hours, or even less, depending on your group, your teacher and your system. A good group, a good teacher and a good system means you learn exponentially without having to figure out a ton of mistakes yourself (and then having to fix them).

      And daily practice.

      Weekly or monthly practice is slower. And certainly not as useful for the brain as daily practice. A person can, in about a year, have tremendous mastery over a language. Blind people, for instance, working between 2-4 hours a day, master braille in about 9 months. Sighted people are too impatient to master too much and look for shortcuts.

      There are usually few

      The best shortcut I know is to find the right group, the right teacher and the right system. And practice. Daily practice.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There is one way to short-cut the 10,000 hour rule. That is to work with a system that actually gives you 8000 hours worth of hands on experience in one week. The system has to be designed intentionally to accomplish that.

      One of my clients has that kind of system. You can become an expert in a weeks training time and a master with one years practical experience.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in England

      1% inspiration 99% perspiration. Get the 1% wrong and you're wasting your time though. In answer to the question, it makes sense that if you devote 10,000 hours to something you'll be an authority.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      'Practice Makes Perfect with the 10000 Hour Rule'....


      only perfect practice makes perfect!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I think this rule is fairly accurate, I first read it in Malcolm Gladwells book Outliers. I didn't realize it is discussed in so many other books, thanks for the info! Now I must read more...

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    • kathysart profile image


      7 years ago

      Love the idea! So become obsessive until you learn it. Yes to that. Angel blessed lens.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      7 years ago from Ljubljana

      Haven' heard about that rule but I noticed many many talents who came 'from nowhere' and after a while only found out they put a lot of work to succeed. The rule of 10 years was obvious and it stands for actors, singers, sportsmen... I guess they need a little bit of luck too to be in the right time in the right place, without injuries, with proper connections...

      Informative and inspirational lens, thumbs up!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Years ago I heard or read James K. Kilpatrick state that it took seven years to become a good writer. In thirty-five years of teaching and leading a fiction writing workshop I have witnessed that "rule" many times. I've even had a hopeless writer who passionately wanted to write stick with it for that seven years and come out as a very passable writer. Seven years or seven books has invariable held true. I also ban my fiction proteges from using first-person narrators for seven years because of the difficulty of using first-person in fiction.

    • Formosangirl LM profile image

      Formosangirl LM 

      8 years ago

      I can personally vouch for the 10,000 hour rule. I have over 16 years in my field, and I definitely feel comfortable at it, even if the information changes daily, thanks to the 9th Circuit.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 

      8 years ago from Missouri

      This is a good rule to know. Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @JoshK47: ya

    • mulkurnia lm profile image

      mulkurnia lm 

      8 years ago

      I first came across this rule a few years back through reading Malcolm Gladwell's book. In terms of full-time employment, if we need to put in 5 years to gain expertise, then the number makes sense.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very interesting - never heard of this before. It makes sense, though, gotta put in a lot of time to get a skill down pat.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes it works for me.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      8 years ago

      Practice makes you better. There's always a room for improvement. You should also love what you're doing for you to become the best.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This does seem like a lot of time. But when you look at college and other job training school maybe it make sense. Very informative. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • Othercatt profile image


      8 years ago

      10,000 hours seems like a lot, but if that's what it takes to become an expert.....

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      As a man eats, so he works. - German Proverb

      hcg diet drops

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: The stitch is lost unless the thread be knotted. - Italian Proverb

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have never heard it quite put this way but I have to agree with your topic. Excellent job and a good read.

    • WritingforYourW profile image


      8 years ago

      I first heard about this in one of Malcom Gladwell's books. I'm hoping to get there someday with my writing. :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I could see that squidoo is addicting because the lowest and highest levels got the most votes in your polls...once they start, they just keep going as there are many at the top...there must be some who fell off the cliff. Great lens.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      8 years ago

      When you learn to program in a particular language is takes that time before it becomes "natural" no effort to program where you are just concerned with implementing the project.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have to try it! Thumbs Up!

    • ChaosAndCritters profile image


      9 years ago

      This makes TOTAL sense to me. As a nurse, I find that it takes the first year of full time employment just to become baseline proficient... and another 2 to 3 years to really get good in a specific area. It's nice to see a number placed on it... I think it would help newbie nurses feel better about not feeling so confident!!!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      9 years ago

      I never tried your poll because I do not know but far too many to still be an amateur. Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'd never heard of this role either. Wish it took less time!

    • GonnaFly profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      What an interesting read. I had never heard about this rule. Now. Let me think. Where do I want to spend my 10000 hours?


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