Among the things I wish I had learned before it was too late was the 10,000 hour rule. Malcolm Gladwell’s amazing book, Outliers, was my first exposure to this principle. Stated simply: If you want to become an expert in any given endeavor, it is necessary to involve yourself (study and practice) for a minimum of 10,000 hours. You want to be a great musician? Learn the basics of music and your instrument and then practice for 10,000 hours. You want to be a great scientist? Get the basics of your field and then research, experiment, collaborate, etc. for 10,000 hours. Baker, butcher, chef, artist, salesperson, preacher, teacher, actor, you name it…after 10,000 hours of serious pursuit you will achieve expert status. You can read more here.
My attention, sadly, has always been divided. I have always had too many irons in the fire. I have been too interested in too many things. I see something that interests me and I think, “Hey, I can do that!” Maybe so…but without the dedicated pursuit and practice…no achievement of expertise. Now, I find myself at the “twilight years” able to converse about many things but not as a maven, guru, whiz-kid, ace, go-to-guy, virtuoso or hotshot.
I may come close in a couple of areas where I have some native ability, but it’s a bit too late to become a real expert. What was needed was to find my passion of passions and then focus, focus and focus. Hopefully, it is not too late for you.
If you want to read a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, I recommend “The Times, They Are a-Changin'” by my good friend and brother in Christ, Bob Odle. You can read it here.
Filed under Apologetics, Culture Wars, Discernment, Good & Evil, Integrity, Life, Meaning of Life, morality, Music, Music and Poetry, Peace, Philosophy, Politics, Post Modernism, Religion, Skepticism, Supernatural
Part of an advertisement for a fancy thermostat: “Instant readings are available within 10 seconds.”
My immediate reaction was how can it be both? It is either instant or it is within ten seconds.
Of course, there’s “instant” and then there’s “real quick.” When I was a kid, we used to play outside (those were different times) and, come suppertime or bedtime my mother would say, “Come inside this instant!” “We’re coming!” we’d reply…but we weren’t doing any such thing. We were still playing. We were going to squeeze every bit possible out of the interval between her expectation and our compliance. She wanted instant action; we wanted to delay her desire in favor of ours for as long as we could. It was a delicate balance between what she wanted and what we thought we could get away with.
When my wife (who, incidentally, is a gourmet cook whose culinary creations are not to be missed) tells me “Dinner is ready,” I know she means that I should stop studying, writing, carving or gardening, and wash my hands, a process taking up to five minutes or so. It really means, “Dinner will be ready about the time you have finished getting ready to come to the table.” We have that understanding developed in our nearly fifty years of marriage.
So, I’ll give you all of that but I still don’t understand how something can be “instant” with the possibility of a ten-second delay. Sorry, advertising agency, I can’t let you get away with such a contradictory claim. You might call it nitpicking. You can feel free to express that in the comment section and I will instantly give you my reply sometime.
I was driving down the alley when this old fellow (“old fellows” are, by definition older than me) opened his gate and his little dog ran between his legs right into my path. I slammed on the brakes kicking up a cloud of dust. A look of relief came over his face (the man’s) when he realized I had not flattened Rover. The dog looked aged. He was sprinkled with gray hairs in his coat and he was a little overweight. I had come close to sending him to his doggy reward. His owner grabbed him up, came around to the driver’s side and I rolled down the window to hear what he had to say.
“Oh thank you!” he said, his little dog safe in his arms.
“Sure glad I didn’t hit him,” said I.
“Me too!” he replied. “You want some granite slabs?”
“Uh…granite slabs?” I asked, a little confused at the abrupt change of subject.
“Yep. I’ve got eleven of ‘em,”
“Well, I don’t know…”
“Well, I’m puttin’ eleven of ‘em out here in the alley for anyone who wants them.”
“Okay, I’ll think about it.”
I slowly drove off, pondering the unlikely conversational combination of old men, old dogs and old granite slabs.