Friday, March 6, 2009

10,000 Hours

I saw a book mentioned the other day which I may have to buy. Malcolm Gladwell has written a new book called "Outliers" and it is about extraordinary people. When you graph things and they all fall within a certain range, sometimes one will fall way outside the range. That one is an outlier. Best example I have seen lately is the cricket player from Australia who is the furthest out outlier I have ever seen. Go look at Wikipedia and look up Sir Donald Bradman, generally conceded to be the best cricket player in all of history. Knighted for playing cricket. More dominant in his sport than Pele in soccer, Tiger Woods in golf, Ty Cobb in baseball and Michael Jordan in basketball. Wow.

Anyway, Gladwell in his book says that the way people get to be an outlier is with at least 10,000 hours of practice. One good example is Bill Gates who accumulated his hours before he got to college. I want to be a turning outlier, so I have been trying to figure how much longer I need to practice before I get my hours. I have been turning about eight years as near as I can remember. That is 416 weeks and if I averaged 5 hours per week, which is generous, then I may have upwards of 2000 hours on the lathe. That makes me about 20% competent. That's about how competent I feel sometimes, so maybe Gladwell is right. I have more time to spend in the shop now, so I figure another four to six years should get my 10,000 and I can begin to feel as if I am somewhat competent. Then I can be rich like Bill Gates. Maybe someone will knight me.

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