There’s a saying about plans best laid that never turn out QUITE as intended rattling in the back of my head right now. All of us are born believing — if even for the briefest of moments—that we have the capacity to do something GREAT. Something AMAZING. That we can make our mark on the world and earn our rightful place in the history books. Nothing will stop us from our pursuit!
But we get older and things get more… complicated. We get compelling yet contradicting advice from everyone in our lives. We get all this stuff that distract us from our goals. We essentially fumble through the darkness without a match, trying to make sense of our lives and everything in them.
However, it can often feel like we’re not making any progress—like we’re chipping away at the statue ofr our lives bit by bit, but all it looks like right now is one big ol’ hunk of marble.
We really give up way too easily, though. If we don’t get it right the first time; if we get tired of trying after a while; or giving ourselves a set amount of time to get something right are all approaches doomed to fail.Why? Because we’re impatient and don’t want to put in the time to get good at what we do—we’re trying to get our 15 minutes of fame before we put in the 10,000 hours of blood, sweat and tears needed to get there.I say this all assuming that Malcolm Gladwell was on the right track — that we need a MINIMUM of 10,000 hours of doing something in order to master it.
- That’s about a year and two months—that’s if you don’t sleep.
- Okay, with a healthy eight hours of sleep a night, it’s creeping closer to two years (or a year and four months if you’re like me and sleep only four)—but you’re gonna smell pretty ripe without showers, and that’s even before you die from starving to death!
- Alright, so between showers, quick meals and making yourself presentable, you’re down by 11 hours a day, bringing you to a month over two years. All fine and dandy—two years isn’t THAT much time, right?
- But then you have the magic of a full-time job! With a 40-day week, you’ve got 51 hours left in a week to do your thing! Doesn’t seem like a lot of time, right? It ISN’T. THAT means you can master your job after 3 months shy of 5 years and whatever past time you’re pursuing just shy of 4, if you spend every waking hour that’s not focused on survival focused on your hobby instead.
But life just isn’t that simple, is it?You can HAVE those 51 hours every week—you know, if you’re a recluse, don’t do chores, don’t pursue any sort of social activities or romantic relationship and have no commute to that J-O-B. If that sounds like you, then good luck with the next four years, and I hope you master whatever it is that you’re pursuing! But if you’re anything like the REST of us…The problem with many of us is that we have a multitude of interests, but we expect to become awesome at them OVERNIGHT. We’re unrealistic with our expectations for our self-growth, not to mention our ABILITY to grow, and beat ourselves up when we fail, despite the fact that we set ourselves up to do so.
Real smart, guys.
Ever since I made the observation way back in January about just HOW long 10,000 hours is, though I can’t say that my progress on things has sped up any, I CAN tell you that I’m not sitting here frustrated over the fact that I don’t seem to be much father along with many of my projects than I was at the beginning of the year.
Who are we racing? What’s the big hurry? Is it the fact that none of us are completely aware of how much time we have in this life? Or maybe we see the successes that others enjoy and want it for ourselves. Well you aren’t those people, and the more time you spend fussing and fretting over the things you don’t know about, the less you’ll be able to enjoy the time you do have!
Today’s lesson is pretty simple—the more you add to your to-do list, the less likely you are to be able to accomplish any of them perfectly. I refer back to the old KISS acronym I learned in elementary school—Keep It Simple, Stupid! If you really want to be successful, stop overcrowding your life with so many things to do! Find a few things you like and focus on those. If you finish them, then find something else! There will always be things to do…
…it’s just ridiculous to try to do them all at once.