The 10k Hour Rule was popularized in the book Outliers. It is a summary of Anders Ericsson’s concept of deliberate practice that is required for a person to reach peak performance.

Sadly, we tend to live in the moment and disregard what happens in the future. Forget planning for years in the future, I can’t even plan the next week! But we cannot deny that a lifetime is limited. The earlier we realize that we have finite time, the earlier we can use that time more wisely.

How much time does a person have in life? Let’s use a ballpark estimate:

65 (retirement age)
18 (legal adult age)
65 - 18 = 47 (adult age)47 (adult age)
52 (weeks in a year)
40 (hours in a week, of meaningful practice)
47 x 52 x 40 = about 100,000 hours

100,000 hours.

That’s our time limit. To reach mastery. To affect change. To find meaning.

The 10k Hour Rule describes the time required to master one ability. What I propose is the 100k Hour Rule that adds an important constraint to the former. This means we only have a few attempts at learning and practicing something.

He dedicated 100k hours to ball

Granted, this number is simplified at the cost of nuance. Each of us has a different number due to circumstances, and some skills require more than 10k hours. Furthermore, some people don’t even think about life in terms of achieving mastery. Ultimately, we should use the 100k Hour Rule as a context when we get caught up in the trivial aspects of day-to-day life.

The jig is up. Our time is limited. We only have a few tries.

What will you do with your 100k hours?

Engineer + teacher + gamer

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