For those of you who haven’t heard of the 10,000 Hour Rule, it states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill, any skill.
That means that it would take 10 years of practicing a skill 3 hours a day, or 5 years of practicing it 6 hours a day, to master something.
So, if this is the case, who ever truly masters anything? Is it good enough to be very proficient? Would 10,000 hours, really make us masters? Certainly, the premise behind the rule makes a lot of sense, in that it suffices that the more time we spend doing something (ie: practicing it), it stands to reason that we will become more proficient at that particular skill.
Health and wellness is no exception. The more I build skills and gain knowledge about nutrition and exercise, and the more I work out, the more comfortable I become, and the easier it is to access the skills I have acquired and am continuing to acquire and am able to produce better outcomes. I find that now I have a much better idea of how to create a meal plan, how to combine certain foods, how to target specific groups of muscles, etc. than when I first began my nutrition and wellness journey. I have become more proficient, but am far from considering myself a master.
As time goes by, I can see how much progress I have made, and how living a healthy lifestyle has become easier, and I am fairly certain that as I continue on my journey and continue to share my knowledge with others, I will continue to grow and become even more proficient.
Mastery though, is a hard concept for me, because the word has always seemed to indicate that a master has learned all their is to learn and is a fountain of knowledge of all things related to his subject of mastery. However, I believe that no matter how much expertise you have in something, there is always something you can learn. We are all becoming more proficient at whatever things we do regularly, as we are all almost always in a continual state of acquisition of knowledge and skills., whether intentionally done or not. The key is to be able to take that knowledge and skills and use them to benefit yourself or others in some way, no matter how small.
Perhaps the real reason the 10,000 hour rule seems to have such validity is that only people who are genuinely passionate about something and committed to it will put in the time and effort required to become proficient, and eventually “masters” a certain skill.
So it seems to me that having a desire to do something, combined with the dedication of practicing that skill to increase your proficiency, certainly seems to be the winning combination.
I know for instance that I will never be a mathematician. Why? Because I absolutely hate, hate, HATE, math! It is something that I have always struggled with, and never performed particularly well in. To be honest, I really don’t think that even with 20,000 hours of practice (not that I could ever force myself to contribute 20,000 hours of my time to such a boring and unrewarding endeavor), that I would ever be proficient enough at math to call myself an expert. I may be wrong on that, but I doubt it!
So, I guess I would have to say that the real key to “mastering” anything is a combination of talent, passion, and practice. Lots and lots of practice!