What does it take to be the best?
The best copywriter, the best graphic designer, the best blogger, the best content marketer?
The off-the-cuff answer is 10,000 hours, popularized by the great Malcolm Gladwell book Outliers. That’s what you need to become a renowned concert violinist, a brilliant mathematician, a chess grandmaster, a Pulitzer-winning novelist.
That’s 20 hours a week for 10 years.
You may respond to this one of two ways. You might get depressed and re-consider applying for that barista job at Starbuck’s. Or you may decide to sit down and start plunking away at those hours.
But there are some serious problems with both of those approaches.
The problem with giving up (besides the biggest problem — that it’s no fun) is that it assumes there’s nothing to be gained between hour 1 and hour 10,000. That you’re nothing until you’ve mastered greatness, and the road is too hard and long, so what’s the point?
And the problem with settling in to grind the hours out is that it matters — a lot — what kind of practice you put in for 10,000 hours.
10,000 hours of playing the scales is easy (if really, really boring), but it won’t get you to Carnegie Hall.
And even 10 hours of the right kind of practice will bring you something meaningful and interesting, and it builds the foundation for something you can start using today, not 10 years from now.
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