In detail

The 10,000 hour rule for success

The 10,000 hour rule for success

Do you know the 10,000 hours rule? Do not? Good thing you're here, because it's a rule that can change your professional life forever, especially if you're young and you're not sure what to do with your life. So ... are you ready? Let's go there!


  • 1 What is the 10,000 hour rule?
  • 2 How we move forward and how much we learn according to the hours spent
  • 3 What is true in this theory?
  • 4 So ... What should I do?

What is the 10,000 hour rule?

The 10,000-hour rule is a theory that emerged from the mind of Malcolm Gladwell, and that he put black on white in his book Outliers The story of success, a book that explains what factors influenced some successful people to achieve their success.

And what factors influenced? Well, the book explains many influencing factors, such as family, education or culture. But the truth is that the bulk of the book focuses on the 10,000 hour rule.

This rule comes to say that, If you want to achieve excellence in an area, it is essential that you dedicate 10,000 hours to that area. This implies 10 hours per week over 20 years, 20 hours per week over 10 years, or 40 hours per week over 5 years.

In the book, Gladwell shows Mozart's example, which is considered a great genius. However, the truth is that his great symphonies are after 21 years, moment in which he had already accumulated 10,000 hours of work (He began composing at age 7).

In the same way, we can put the example of Paco de Lucía, whose main works are after 25 years, having started playing the guitar at age 9. That is, constant work and experience are fundamental.

How we move forward and how much we learn according to the hours spent

In general, it can be said that, Depending on the number of hours dedicated to a certain area of ​​knowledge, we can get to know the following:

  1. With 1 hour: One hour may be enough to know the basics, but the basics rarely work for anything. A greater degree of learning is needed.
  2. With 10 hours: With ten hours, you have a broader notion of basic knowledge. From there, you can learn more and better, because you understand the basics.
  3. With 100 hours: With 100 hours you get to get a medium level. You can find work from what you are learning, but you will not stand out.
  4. With 1000 hours: With 1000 hours you are already a professional with all the letters. You can become the highest ranking worker in your company, for example. However, you are not yet a genius in your area.
  5. With 10,000 hours: From 10,000 hours, one can consider himself a teacher in his profession. It is here that many people decide to create their own companies, innovate or create something new with their knowledge.

What is true in this theory?

Regrettably, Although the theory is beautiful and motivating, the truth is that it is not true. The truth is that, as we can deduce from a meta-analysis of more than 88 scientific studies in this regard, Intensive practice only explains 12% of the performance in a specific task.

This study shows that, on many occasions, intellect, age or innate talent is more important than the hours you spend practicing. That is to say, As much as you practice 10,000 hours in football, you will not become Messi.

Nevertheless… This is something you already knew, right?

I personally believe that That meta-analysis, although useful, forgets something important. I explain it in the next section.

So what should I do?

The above could lead you to think that “It's not worth trying anything because that doesn't make you an expert" But here you have to understand that 10,000 hours are necessary, but not sufficient. If this is understood, everything is understood.

Can you become Messi just by dedicating 10,000 hours to football? Do not, because certain additional features are needed.

Can you become Messi without dedicating 10,000 hours to football? Do not, Because practice is essential.

So the key here is to find what you have aptitude for (generally, something you like), and then dedicate 10,000 hours to becoming an expert.

This is how excellence is achieved, because 10,000 hours are not enough, but they are necessary.

As you can see, the 10,000 hour rule is a way of saying that, if you want to succeed in a certain area, you will necessarily have to work and strive with all your strength. Of course, it is not infallible, but it is a good metaphor for the effort necessary for success, don't you think?