Paweł ChalacisPaweł Chalacis

I’m sure many of you heard about the 10,000 hour rule at some point. In short, it states that in becoming a world-class in something requires 10,000 hours of practice. There are many articles disputing that claim, but for the sake of this entry, I will assume that the 10,000 hours rule is correct. Where does it put me then?

There is one problem with bigger numbers. How many of you knows without calculation how many years of doing something 8 hours per day adds up to 10,000? Well, if we commit 40 hours per week, then it’s 4.8 years. If you think about it - it seems quite accurate. Practicing something 8 hours per day every week day for 5 years would definitely make someone a specialist in a given field. But, the question is - who has 8 hours per day? What about more realistic example?

First entry in my training log comes from December 2012. Over the last 18 months I’ve trained for 500 hours. That means little over 6 hours per week on average. With this pace I should hit those 10,000 hours around my 60 birthday. Not bad, huh? If I up my game to 15 hours per week, it looks much more promising - I should be there in about 13 years. 10 thousand is not a magic number, nor is a necessity, but it’s nice to think about fitness in a “lifetime” terms.

Jokes aside, this only shows how much effort needs to be put into anything in order to be successful. The 10,000 hours rule was introduced by Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers. Yet, like I said before, it was met with a lot of criticism. Technology makes huge difference these days. In Cycling, for example, power meters, concept of threshold training, heart rate monitors and various other electronics changed the playfield completely. Supplements (legal and illegal) also played huge role in last decade.

It’s not only what we do, but how we do it. Whenever I see people reading books while cycling at the gym (with cadence around 60) I know that they could do it for 20,000 hours and it wouldn’t make any difference for them. I’m sure that I make a lot of mistakes and focus on things I shouldn’t be focusing at all.

I won’t bother getting to 10,000 hours. I mean, I will get there eventually, but it will be just a side effect. Instead I will keep giving as much as I can (and a little more) in everything I do.