Have you ever heard of the notion that it takes 10.000 hours to master any skill? The idea was introduced by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book Outliers. Although Gladwell’s 10.000 hours rule has been disputed by others, it still got me thinking. Which skills would I find worth putting in 10.000 hours of practice for? So, I sat down to consider the skills I’d like to develop and learn.
Skills I’d like to develop
There are a number of skills I’ve been practising for a while – not quite 10.000 hours probably, but we’re on our way. From what I understand, getting to the 10.000 hours would mean (over) 10 years of regular practice. Here are some of the skills I’ve been working on that I’d like to develop further.
Current years of experience: approximately 12 years (with breaks in between)
I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with dance since I started at the age of 8. I’ve tried many different styles; first “kidswing”, then street dance, then show dance, hip hop, show jazz, urban contemporary, modern and even a bit of ballet. At one point I was following classes 5/6 hours a week!
The reason why I’d like to get more practice is because dance is an important emotional outlet for me. Also, it’s great exercise. A while back I noticed my motor skills had deteriorated shockingly in a short time, so now I’d really like to pick it up again and improve my skills. All I need to do is find a class I enjoy and can attend on a regular basis.
Film and photography
Current years of experience:
approximately 12 years photography (inconsistent practice)
6 years for film
Another hobby I’ve held onto since childhood is fiddling with cameras. What’s tricky though, is that film and photography are really creative and subjective practices, meaning there is no direct way to measure progress. I often feel untalented, which really affects my motivation.
However, when I look back on older work, I often do still find little gems that show some talent – but at the same time, I can also see how I’ve improved over the years. As I said before, it is difficult to measure progress with creative skills, but I am finally starting to see it is there. I can tell that I haven’t been standing still, and that there is room for me to grow too. I look forward to gaining more experience, and even better, more confidence with it!
Current years of experience: 2/3 years
I’ve always loved to sing. I can’t say I have dreams about becoming a proper famous singer, but I do enjoy making music a lot. Being part of a band and also two choirs were very special experiences for me. Singing is another emotional outlet that helps me on a personal level, but at the same time I also like to take it a bit more seriously than that. So, I recently joined the teachers’ band at work (it’s a thing!) and I also hope to pick up singing lessons again at some point.
Skills I’d like to learn
It just seems like one of those extremely useful skills that could help you out a lot, but it also looks terrifyingly intimidating. Where and how do I even start? Sewing totally feels like something I could never learn. I’d like to though, because it could help me alter clothes – which as a very petite person is necessary if you want to become a successful second-hand shopper.
Another skill I am quite intimidated by – but I love languages, and Spanish just seems so useful! Especially since I met so many Spanish speakers during my time abroad. However, I know I learn best in a traditional classroom setting, and how one earth am I going to motivate myself to do that if I’ve got all these other things in my life going on?
Practice makes perfect
So, there they are, my top 5 skills to develop: dance, film/photography, singing, sewing, and speaking Spanish. It’s been quite helpful to put these on paper, as it’s forced me to consider what things I’d like to focus on in the near future. For one, I’ve already signed up to try a new dance class!
Although the 10.000 hours rule itself is up for debate, we all know practice certainly cannot hurt. Which skills would you consider putting in the hours for? Let me know!