I've often quoted an ivy league study that says you need to invest about 1000 hours of practice to develop expert level skill in most any endeavor.
As it turns out new research says that may not be true. Malcolm Gladwell's newest book called Outliers looks at the research done in the early 90s, by psychologist K Anders Ericsson and two colleagues. They studied students at Berlin's elite Academy of Music. With the help of the academy's professors, they divided the school's violinists into three groups. The first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. The second were those judged to be merely "good". The third were students who were unlikely ever to play professionally, and intended to be music teachers in the school system.
Not unsurprisingly everyone from all three groups started practicing about the same time, around age five. In the first two or three years they all practiced about the same amount of time, about 2 - 3 hours a week. But then changes started to occur. "Students who would end up as the best in their class began to practice more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight by age 12, 16 a week by age 14, and up and up, until by the age of 20 they were practicing well over 30 hours a week. By the age of 20, the elite performers had all totalled 10,000 hours of practice over the course of their lives. The merely good students had totalled, by contrast, 8,000 hours, and the future music teachers just over 4,000 hours."
So as it turns out, to develop what we would consider genius level ability in certain areas takes about 10,000 hours of dedicated practice. Chess grandmasters take about ten years or 10,000 hours of practice, only Bobby Fischer did it faster in nine years. Sometimes people will tell me that I have a natural gift for influence . . . and I'd suggest that from the time I was 16 until now that I've put in well over 10,000 hours of diligent study and practice of the art of influence and that well may explain my ability.
So what does that mean to you if you want to totally reinvent yourself and become a recognized expert? Well, I'll hold that at about 1000 hours of practice you'll be very efficient but if you want to be the standout in your field, the person who excels above everyone else, you need to get busy now and buckle down . . . or maybe you just need to look at the hours you've already put it, you well may be there if you've turned your past experience and career into a new business. But here is the caveat, if you've spent 10,000 hours perfecting your craft, you've likely not spent the requisite amount of time to become expert at running a business so your time may be well spent learning and practicing the nuances of running a business if you intend to do both well or simply hire someone who has already done the hard work of learning how to run and grow a business.
I'd like you to ponder this question today, where will I put the next 10,000 hours of my time and to what outcome?