"… ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is the equivalent to roughly three hours per day, or twenty hours per week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people don’t seem to get anywhere when they practice, and why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It sees that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery."
- Daniel Levitin, This is Your Brain on Music
It’s hard to defend yourself
against critical relatives, high-achieving friends
when your mouth is always full to bursting
with many-flavoured side projects, film clippings
and music notes dribbling down your chin.
Life’s too short not to order the works, even if
the resulting burger dislocates your jaw.
It’s hard to live with the heat
of peers so strong and focused like magnifying glasses.
I long to be consumed, devoured, to wake suddenly
like Robert Louis Stevenson and write feverishly
for three days, burn it up, and write it all again.
There is fever here too; I am a ravenous bee
suckling a world of flowers. These fragmented
pieces scattered haphazardly, taking over my
living room are not failures -- they are seeds
waiting ten thousand hours to bloom.
Sorry if this poem sounds kind of "boo-hoo, poor me." I'm just a little frustrated because I spent all yesterday working on one particular side project that I'm pretty focused on right now, and it's going really slowly because there are a bunch of technical setbacks. You know the feeling, I'm sure.
Photo by Alvesgaspar
Can you think of a time when you went crazy with a project and just worked obsessively on it for a period of time (even if it wasn't a particularly long period)? Alternatively, can you think of a time when you worked steadily on a project, taking small, regular bites at it over a long period of time (if you're the kind of person who works like this, I bow down to you)?