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Aug 26

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The Practice Gloves – an attempt at 10,000 hrs

I started thinking about how much time I spent doing things after I read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers. I’m an average person. I have some skills, but I have some talents too. But The Outliers talks about what it takes to become an outlier – a person with incredible skill, an expert, a virtuoso. The magic number is 10,000 hrs of practice. This is an incredible number, which is why Gladwell speaks of the importance of starting young and practicing. The number of hours of practice eventually supersedes the innate talents of anyone who was “born with a gift.” Practice means everything and it is usually the children who have the time, the means, the sponsorship and the assistance to achieve this amazing number of hours of practice. It is required practice at something from childhood through adulthood.

To give you some perspective, Gladwell found that teachers exceeded 4000 hours of practice. So I began asking myself, did I have anything in my arsenal of skills and talents that added up to anything that close? Admittedly, I was a misdirected kid. My level of insecurity as a young boy meant I didn’t believe in myself to follow a dream, or recognize any innate talents, until much later in life, well into adulthood. Yet, when I did the math (really rough estimate) I figured there were things in my life that I spent hours on, and thankfully it wasn’t just watching TV.

Now, that reminds me, I wanted to mention TV. I like TV. I really can’t speak poorly about it because I watch it and enjoy it. Oh, sure there’s a bunch of crap there, but there is also some of the best writing, directing, and performing there has ever been not to mention documentary. I just believe people spending way to much time with it. How many people do you know that have big dreams and plans they talk about but spend 4 hours a day watching TV? I know a few. My point is, if you gave up 2 of those hours to doing something productive – practicing something – in no time you could know a new language, play an instrument, or acquire a skill. There is SO MUCH that can be done! And that’s where TIME comes into play.

As an adult male I understand that my most precious commodity is TIME. Like Napoleon Hill once said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Time is funny stuff. You can’t save time without spending it wisely.” Thankfully, I always focus on spending my time wisely.

Time spent wisely. That’s how I assessed my hours. I realized that I had practiced somethings like tai chi chuan over the years to the point that I had some skill. But there was so much more. I thought about how much time I spent with my children and understood that I will always be a father. Fatherhood was a part of my time and I believe that I am a good dad.

It is time to understand time and what you get out of your time is based on attention.

Anything that you devote attention to will grow greater in your life. So, while you spend time focusing your attention be mindful of what you attention is on. Make the object of your attention worthy of your attention. Ensure that it promotes your life, not detracts from it.

Life promoting skills. That is what time should be spent practicing.

And don’t be too quick to judge what your children as spending their time on. I understand that with my children I won’t always understand their passion, but there passion is their passion and I will help them follow it.

So, where does that leave us? Time waits for no one. Spend your time wisely, consider it deeply. What do you really want to do with your time? Now, go for it. Follow your life promoting passion. Go practice.

When it’s all over what will be your 10,000 hrs? Will you be happy with it?

Go live your dreams.

Peace and blessings to you all.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.harrisonbarr.ca/?p=105

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