Tuesday, February 2, 2010

10,000 hours? You gotta be kidding me...

So, I recently finished The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a great book for many reasons, but it does put forth his theory, which sounds unfortunately true, that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become a real expert at anything... which generally entails about 8-10 years of regular work. If you're actually doing whatever it is for 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, it's probably closer to 5 years... but even still, that's a lot of time. Especially considering all the skills implied in woodworking that I want to become expert at.

Considering that my workdays right now consist of getting up at 6, eat, go to work by 7, work 8 hours, (and working on my new business and marketing plan during lunch break) ...then go to the shop for a few hours, then home, eat, and bed... so it's going to be a while before I'm an expert small businessman or woodworker or anything like that. AND I have to keep up my woodworking skills in the meantime.

I guess it could be a really imposing thing, but it's really helped me get a few priorities in order. The last few times I've been to the shop have been overshadowed by the fact that I'm still trying to put gas in the tank for the shop, get a better sense of direction with all of it, work full time, and more. So typically I show up in the evening for an hour, futz with a few things, lamenting that I need lumber and more time, and blah blah blah...But now that I think about it from the 10,000 hour perspective, I really don't have time for any of that. I gotta start working. Even if I'm just dusting off skills I already have, shop time is work time, and I need to make the most of everything while I'm in there.

So... I just about have the details worked out for the next chair prototype, and with any luck, this one will be the last before I can start trying to crank them out more regularly and sell them. And in the meantime, I have some dovetailing exercises to get back to, and then... and then...

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