Friday, October 2, 2015

LJD'S WEEKLY CATCH UP: The 10,000 hour rule, fact or fantasy? And what Karma has to do with it.

I have often wondered about life, why I’m here and what in God’s name I’m supposed to be doing. It seems that the things I want most I’m not getting, and what I want to do most I'm unable to do.


I can follow The Secret and say affirmations every day, write in a gratitude journal, think positively, but then that kinda goes against the law of karma.

Many think karma is an instant fix, and in some instances it is. But in reality it has nothing to do with those instant retributions. The law of karma states that the soul chooses the life it’s going to have before it even gets here. It chooses its parents, its family, sex, religion, race, whether it has disabilities, when it will die and what kind of life it will have.

Now this may seem far out and way too much for many to comprehend and I get that. I myself am struggling to figure it out and would really love to know why my soul chose the life I’m living. It’s mainly to do with learning life’s lessons and the lessons we chose to learn before we got here. Love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, you know, the usual suspects.

But what I am really struggling with is the myth, the fallacy, that if you dream hard enough, believe hard enough, wish hard enough, that everything will happen and come true.

I call bullshit on it!!!!

Dreaming about Michael Weatherly did not get me married to Michael Weatherly. Being positive about him and the life we would live together did not get me him or that life.

What will get you somewhere is hard bloody work? That’s what is comes down to. We will not be a published author unless we write the book. We will not be a pop star unless we take lessons and learn about music. We will not become the C.E.O of a mega conglomerate unless we work our way up the corporate ladder, or sleep with the boss, inherit the company or start our own business and that’s what it becomes. And very few people do the last three.

So how long are we supposed to work for it? How long are we supposed to be patient and tireless and positive? Five years? Ten years? Twenty-five years? How long are we supposed to wait for success, for fame, for fortune? How long are we supposed to slog our guts out before we stop and realise it’s not working and we’re getting nowhere? How long are we supposed to wait before our hopes are dashed that we will never achieve the heights of success that we want?

What if it’s not meant to happen? And that’s not being pessimistic. If, in this lifetime, we are not meant to be rich, successful, or have the fame and attention we so crave because our soul did not choose it, then how do we cope with that? How do we come to that conclusion? How long does/should/would it take for us to come to that conclusion? We are told to work hard and stay patient, but how long do we do that? How long until it comes? How long do we wait, and what if it never comes?

Many a year ago a study was carried out in Berlin, Germany and documented the practice habits of a group of violin students throughout their childhoods, adolescence and then adulthood. When asked how many hours they had practiced over the entirety of them playing, results showed that whilst times were similar in childhood, the most elite players had accumulated more than 10,000 hours individually by age 20.

This strong link between time spent rehearsing and level of ability made a very strong case for writer Malcolm Gladwell, and he brought the idea of the 10,000 hours rule to a larger audience. The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field. When psychologists talk about deliberate practice, they mean practicing in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible.

In Frans Johansson‘s book “The Click Moment”, he argues that deliberate practice is only a predictor of success in fields that have super stable structures. In tennis, chess, and classical music, the rules never change, so you can study up to become the best. But in less stable fields, like entrepreneurship and rock and roll, rules can go out the window.  One chess player had taken 26 years to reach the same level that another reached in two years. Clearly, there's more at work than just the amount of hours put in. "The evidence is quite clear that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice.”
Practice is great but practice alone won't make you the best in your field. It could also have to do with personality, the age you started, intelligence, or something else entirely.

David Epstein's book, The Sports Gene, thoroughly disproves the 10,000 hour theory. “Practice is important but there's a reason that Jamaicans dominate sprinting, Kenyans excel at long distance track, and tall people are much more likely to make it to the NBA.” Epstein also notes the world's best in high jump, darts, and track don't need nearly 10,000 hours of practice. “It's in the genes,” he argues.

Well, I could argue that a musician will tell you that there is not one family member before them who can sing or play an instrument. There are artists and authors who have no family ancestry of arts or writing either.

One of Epstein's chapters details two successful high jumpers, one of whom had practiced for far more than the prescribed 10,000 hours, and another who had done far less. The chapter is titled "A Tale of Two High Jumpers (Or: 10,000 Hours Plus or Minus 10,000 Hours).

Gladwell only applied the 10,000-hour rule to cognitively demanding activities that needed significant thought, unlike those runners and dart-throwers.

For me, very few people have extraordinary rare true talent. The ability to pick up an instrument and play a tune within minutes, or to open their mouths and sing without having had a lesson is extraordinary. For the rest of us, it is nothing but pure dedication to practising, learning, and educating ourselves on all aspects of our trade and then furthering our education every time something new is revealed, learned or released.

We are constantly honing and practising our crafts. We are constantly learning new aspects, techniques and software if we work online. We are reading new ideas and putting them into action. We are researching new directions and delving into vaults of old documents. We find, we research, we learn. THAT is how we get where we are.

Example: Russell Crowe spent 25 plus years as an adult in from of the camera making movies, and many before that as a child actor. The years of learning, education, practise, and understanding of what it took to be in front of the camera led him to also understand what was needed behind the camera.

Had it not been for the last 40 years of his life in front of the camera, time spent preparing him to become the actor he is, then he would not have become the director he needed to be to direct his first movie, The Water Diviner, a movie that scored him many awards and accolades within months of release. It was Australia’s biggest release for 2014, and one of Australia’s biggest selling movies of all times. It would not have been what it was if not for his dedication, time and energy to the craft of his choice and the story behind it.

Had he tried directing a movie any earlier it could have very well bombed, but because he was made to wait by the universe until this particular movie, it was the creation and success it was purely because the universe knew he needed the time to hone and learn until he could create the story that needed to be told.

Tiger, Serena, Venus, and many more children who start practising their sport at an early age would not have had the success they did if not for that practise, a parent pushing them from the sidelines, and their souls' choice of a successful career in their future life. No one comes out of the womb kicking or hitting balls. It is a craft that is learned and practiced.

Just as with martial arts, painting, jewellery designing and making, playing instruments, singing, driving, becoming a doctor, a lawyer or scientist. NONE of this is straight out of the womb, or even a pure talent. It is all education, understanding the craft of your choice and day after day after day of practise.

Of course success is another thing altogether and it comes back to how long are we supposed to work for it? And if we’re not going to get it because our souls did not choose it then when do we figure this out? When do we realise that all the years of slogging our guts out hasn’t been getting us anywhere?

How long do we wait, and what if it never comes, regardless of how many hours we put in?

At the rate I'm going it could well be 10 years instead of 10,000 hours. I started writing in 2006, next year it will be ten years since I started writing books, so maybe success for me will come next year, or not at all. For some, those 10,000 hours are not all together 8-10 hours or more a day, sometimes it's only a few hours a day, hence the longer it takes.

I won't know until July, 2016 and THEN we'll see if it's true. If it doesn't happen, then I really WILL call bullshit on it and know that success really isn't going to happen for me.

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