Have you read the book “Outliers”, written by Malcolm Gladwell? Even If you didn’t, you still no doubt have heard of his famous theory that in order to master most fields, one needs to put in 10,000 hours of focused practice. If one were to practice something in a focused manner for four hours a day, six days a week, mastery would happen in about eight years. If you put meaningful practice in for two hours a day, it would take more than a decade and a half to master a skill. Having never “mastered” anything, I don’t know if that particular standard is achievable no matter the hours of practice, or if there’s also some inherent ability required. Perhaps some can master right away, but others can’t no matter the hours put in. But it doesn’t stop with getting there –– not if you want to maintain mastery.
The other night I was fortunate to see an amazing guitar player –– Joe Bonamassa –– perform live. He’s more than mastered the instrument, and yet, watching him play, I couldn’t help but to think that beyond the stage time, he still continues to practice every day. All the greats do. It doesn’t matter what field: sport, music, art, writing, or any endeavor in which some amount of skill is needed. If one wants to be elite, truly a world-beater, one needs to practice. And practice. And practice.
So where do you find the time? You don’t. You make the time. If you want to be elite at something that requires skill, you need to make the time today. Make your desire to achieve greatness a priority. If you would have done so ten years ago, imagine how great you could be at that special something right now.
With that thought in mind, here are a few movie quotes on the topic of getting to your practice:
“I thought, how many new lives can we have? Then I thought, as many as we like.” Judy Dench in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
“You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.” Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness
“There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Laurence Fishburne The Matrix
“You’ve got to own your own days and name them, every one of them, or else the years go right by and none of them belong to you.” Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns