Are These Shortcuts to Greatness For You?

Pathway to greatness
What do you want to do with your life?

Do you want to make a big impact, or do you want to continue being invisible and unknown?

If you dream of breaking free, this is for you.

If you want to step out of the shadows into the light, this is for you.

But maybe you have doubts about your ability to stand out.

Maybe you think you don’t have what it takes.

Or that people will laugh at you and your big dreams.

But the truth is, you can do it.

[bctt tweet=”You have the seed of greatness within. “]

But how can you make your seed of greatness grow, and how long will it take?

Okay, so let’s talk numbers.

Does it really take years or decades to develop greatness?

Or it possible to emerge out of obscurity and make it big in just one year?

I’ll say more about this in a moment. Let’s first consider the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule.

Does the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule apply to you?

In his book Outliers Malcolm Gladwell put forward the theory that in order to develop greatness, you need to devote at least 10 thousand hours to practice.

Let’s take a look at what this would mean for you, starting now. If this rule were true–and you wanted to achieve greatness in one year, you would have to practice for 27 hours a day…!

Absurd, right?

Let’s crunch some more numbers according to this rule. Let’s say you want to take your time.

In order to achieve greatness, you’d have to practice for one hour each day of the week for 27 years to notch up 10,000 hours. No break, no holiday, just a seven-year grind.

Seven years! Do YOU want to take that long?

Luckily, the rule has been debunked. It doesn’t hold true in all circumstances.

Four problems with the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule

Daniel Goleman, the author of Focus, the Hidden Driver of Excellence debunks the 10-thousand year rule, pointing out four flaws.

1. Why practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect

If you are a duffer at golf, say, and make the same mistakes every time you try a certain swing or putt, 10,000 hours of practicing that error will not improve your game. You’ll still be a duffer, albeit an older one. – D. Goleman

This is an important point! If you make mistakes and reinforce them through practice, you’ll never get good at what you’re doing. Just imagine completing your seven-year grind only to find you were practicing mistakes!

2. The rule only applies to slow-developing areas of expertise

This second point means that the rule of 10-thousand hours only applies to areas of learning that remain mostly constant over time.

Take sport, surgery, or music, for example. I know about music first-hand because my first career was as a professional flutist.

If you want to become a professional musician, you need to practice for hours on end each day. Your practice routines includes tone studies, technical exercises, and repertoire study. The kind of practice you need to put in as a musician is reasonably constant over time and hasn’t changed much in the last decade or so.

In contrast, as a web designer or blogger, you’d be left behind if you didn’t adapt to the continually evolving challenges of the Internet.

That’s why it’s much easier to become proficient in a fast-developing area of expertise, instead of choosing a traditional area where 10,000 hours of practice is mandatory.

3. Why mindless practice is a problem

As Goleman points out, the key to gaining expertise is to strengthen older brain circuits and build new ones for the particular skill you want to develop.

But for this growth to happen, you need to focus.

When practice occurs while we are focusing elsewhere, the brain does not rewire the relevant circuitry for that particular routine. – D.Goleman

In other words, mindless practice is a waste of time.

4. Practice without feedback leads to ingrained mistakes.

Have you ever experienced that feedback from an expert made all the difference? I have. Because in the field of music, the difference between mediocrity and excellence lies to a great extent in the quality of the teacher you’re studying with.

In my experience, getting feedback is the most important aspect of exponential success.

The secret of winning is “deliberate practice,” where an expert coach takes you through a well-designed training over months or years. – D.Goleman

So what does this mean for you?

If you consider the research I lay out above, there are three points to take away if you want to take a shortcut to greatness.

  • Choose a fast-moving area of expertise, like becoming a major player on the Net. In fact, the fastest way to dominate online is by creating an outstanding blog.
  • Get feedback. Choose a type of training where you get personal feedback (like you would in the A-List Blogging Masterclass). And if you’re really serious about accelerating your journey, enrol in a one-to-one mentoring program.
  • Take action. Most people have dreams of greatness–but don’t take action. The key to reaching greatness fast is to take action today. Not tomorrow or the next day, or next month.

What action should you take today?

Take time out to reflect, and answer these two questions:
Do you really want to achieve greatness this year?

How much time, energy and money are you willing to invest to fast-track your path to greatness?

In the next post I’ll outline exactly what to do to become a dominant blogger this year.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy creating a new tool for bloggers who want to crush it this year. It’s a cutting-edge bonus course in the A-List Blogging Masterclass, called the Traffic Avalanche Strategy.

I’ve road-tested this strategy myself and was able to increase traffic to a blog by 503% in just one week! It’s a fantastic new strategy to jumpstart your blog (however big or small it is) and become a dominant blogger.

The course runs for four weeks and starts in a few days. If you want to achieve greatness this year, join the Masterclass to get access to the Traffic Avalanche Strategy.

Click here to check it out.

Early on in this article I posed the question:

Is it possible to emerge out of obscurity and make it big in just one year?

What’s the answer?

Yes, it’s definitely possible!

Of course, it depends on the area of expertise you choose. Traditional, highly skilled careers, like becoming an Olympic athlete or a world-renowned heart surgeon need decades of training.

But the really amazing opportunities lie online. That’s were you can find shortcuts to greatness.

Just as I did. I went from knowing nothing about blogging to creating a six-figure business in just nine months!

It didn’t come easy; it was hard work. And it wasn’t straightforward either. It was a stressful but exciting time.

Finally, I pulled it off.

These days, it’s easier to achieve such results–if you get top training and jumpstart your blog, by using the Traffic Avalanche Strategy.

Thoughts, questions? Please share in the comments below.

About the Author:
Mary Jaksch has helped thousands of students successfully create outstanding and profitable blogs. Grab her FREE report, How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. Mary is Editor-in-Chief of WritetoDone.com and is the blogger behind Goodlife ZEN.

Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

37 Comments

  • Ann-Louise Truschel says:

    Interesting article. But stick to blogging. Your math skills need work.
    An hour a day for seven years = 2557 hours if I spot you two Leap Years.

    An hour a day for more than 27 years would yield 10,000 hours.

    I do get your point, however.

    • MaryJaksch says:

      Ha! ‘Stick to Blogging’ – my math teacher at school said something similar about my math skills, Ann-Louise :-) I’ll change the figures according to what you’ve laid out in your comment.

      Thanks!

    • Martin Enecke says:

      This is a very interesting post. I hadn’t considered that there are ways to circumvent the ten-thousand hour rule…!

      I always thought I’d missed the boat and would never be able to do something significant in life. This has given me a lot of food for thought.

      Thanks!

      • MaryJaksch says:

        Yes, Martin – it’s amazing how we can embark on a whole new career online! If you’re keen to really make something happen, the Internet is the best place because it gives you ‘reach’. You can reach hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people.

        At WritetoDone.com we have over 2.5 yearly readers!

  • Michela Bown says:

    But there’s so much one could do online? Why should i choose to make a blog?

  • MaryJaksch says:

    Ah, now that’s a very interesting question, Michela.

    There are endless things you can develop online, for example, you could start a podcast show, create a video series, and so on. There are endless opportunities.

    However, for all of these things, you need your own home base. You need a place online that belongs to you, and not to anyone else.

    That’s where a blog is crucial. It’s your central place from which you can create things – and lead people to in order to build an email list of subscribers.

  • Travis Levell says:

    Hi Mary,

    I can’t agree more with problem 2 of the ten thousand hour rule. It’s funny because I taught myself how to play the guitar and piano (when I was a little younger) as well as how to develop websites. I can say that even getting “okay” at playing music took a much longer time, while I was definitely “pretty good” at web dev within a month and a half. Thanks for the cool post!

    Travis

    • MaryJaksch says:

      Hi Travis, great to see you here. That’s a very interesting comparison of learning to play music and web dev!

      It’s so amazing that there are such fascinating opportunities online. And the great thing is that these opportunities don’t take a huge effort and time to learn!

      Thanks for stopping by

  • Hi Mary, You always write encouraging posts, and I would like to get somewhere this year with my blog, I am fairly new to the whole blogging business, but I definitely need to be moving on this year and stop messing around, I think I am fearful that no one will want to read my words, I am a new member of your A-list blogging and look forward to working with you all. Happy New Year one and all, may this year bring great things for us all.
    Veronica.

    • MaryJaksch says:

      I think that every new blogger fears that no on will want to hear our words. And it’s a real buzz when readers start to arrive on a blog.

      One of the most important aspects is to make sure that a blog is focused on a particular topic. If you write about your cat one day, and then about world economy the next, and then about how to write better – you won’t collect any subscribers.

      Readers expect to read more about a topic they are interested or even passionate about.

      I look forward to seeing you thrive online!

  • T.O. Weller says:

    Thank you for raising the challenge around the 10,000 hour rule, Mary. I believe many, many people learn about it and then come to feel that it is therefore too late for them to start something new. I know I let it influence my decisions for a while.

    But, like any theory or ‘rule’, it’s made to be challenged. Remember when they said no one could run a mile in under four minutes? :)

    • MaryJaksch says:

      Yes, so many people feel time is running out – even when they’re in their twenties.

      There’s really a new paradigm of success with all the opportunities we have online.

      I love it!

      • PJ Reece says:

        Hello! I didn’t think of becoming a writer until I was 42! I got the first 10,000 hours in in four years. I had a feature film on the screen within six years, a novel within ten years. I was a television show-runner after that, writing for National Geographic etc. Now I feel a newbie all over again learning the eBook business and Amazon and blogging and etc. So, you’re right, Mary, it’s a brand new world out there and begs us to go get it.

  • Darshan says:

    The Traffic Avalanche course sounds exciting, Mary!

    Being in a one on one Mentorship with you has been a sure fire way to hold me accountable to my online goals and this post reaffirmed why such a Mentorship is essential.

    Looking forward to your new course :)

  • PJ Reece says:

    Feedback… I vote for that! We gotta come out of our shells and risk taking some flak. Wow, it’s hard. It’s tough love. I love it! I hate it. It’s the crucible. That said, I think that this 10,000 hour rule probably still holds true for “art.” Blogging isn’t exactly an art, although the writing itself might be. Consider also what the blogosphere might look like after we’ve all got 10,000 hours under our belts. Our e-world might indeed look more artful. I hope so. I think I have about 5 thousand hours to go.

    • T.O. Weller says:

      Hi P.J. and Happy New Year!

      I was thinking about the art as well. Like music, writing is an art. No question. But who defines what is or is not art?

      I also wonder what should be included as practice in the mythical 10,000 hours. I’ve been writing all my life, in one form or another, so I’ve well surpassed that goal. Does it then come down to form?

      • PJ Reece says:

        T.O.W… “…does it come down to form?” Good question. I think it does. Perhaps it takes a few thousand hours to accept that our art requires a form, and then a few more thousand hours to master that form. The sure sign of a beginner is the bias against writing to satisfy any kind of structure. Structure is actually a kind of freedom. That realization comes after a few thousand hours of hard labour, I reckon. And a Feliz Ano Nuevo to you, too.

    • MaryJaksch says:

      The interesting thing about the Internet is that it isn’t just one skill that we’re developing. It’s really about developing multiple skills.

      And the good thing is that each blogger can develop the areas he or she is strongest in. It could be writing, or creating videos, or podcasts, or photo journals – there’s such a diversity of options.

  • Marianne says:

    Feedback is soooo important! It’s why I’m in so many forums and communities. We can’t work in a vacuum. I am really looking forward to the traffic class, thanks for sharing your secrets!

    • MaryJaksch says:

      I like your thought that we can’t work in a vacuum, Marianne.

      I think there’s an art in giving feedback. I usually use the ‘sandwich’ method. Firstly, I point out everything is good and works well. Secondly, I suggest improvements and then lastly, remind the person of the things they do really well.

  • What some people tend to forget when they use the idea of 10,000 hours is that for something like blogging, you already have many thousands of hours of practice under your belt.

    Every time you write anything, it’s practice. It’s not exactly the same, but then you wouldn’t play the same scale for months on end expecting to play a symphony after. You need variety, and every kind of related practice is beneficial.

  • J.D. Meier says:

    It reminds me of the Bruce Lee quote:
    “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

    I’m a big believer in boot-camps and immersive learning, to speed up deep learning.

    Deliberate Practices is hard-work. Just like will power, we can burn our our prefrontal cortext (the smart part, not our lizard brain.)

    The military uses checklists to avoid task saturation, which leads to shutting down, compartmentalizing, and channelizing. Checklists can help with Deliberate Practice and improving will power by having quick lookups and instructions handy for common routines.

    The real key in Deliberate Practice is to chop things up into little exercises. For example, if you’re singing a song, don’t sing it end-to-end … sing the first part, with real-time feedback until you nail it.

    Chunked up, deliberate repetition with real-time feedback is the breakfast of champions.

    Related, I found it helpful to remember that when we build mastery, we move through three levels:
    1. intellectual — we “get it” intellectually, but not yet emotionally, and we can regurgitate it, but not really perform creative synthesis
    2. emotional – we have empathy for the information and we can prioritize
    3. physical — it’s burned in to our muscle memory and basal ganglia

    That’s why things take repetition … and the repetition helps build the neural networks that lead to our brilliant breakthroughs and flashes of insight.

  • MaryJaksch says:

    Excellent comment!

    I read your post, How Dreams, Goals, and Habits Fit Together and it’s one of the most interesting posts on goal setting I’ve read so far!

  • There is no shortcuts in life and if you are using shortcuts, you are heading into a big whole. My friend used shortcuts to get education but now he is in real trouble because no one is interested in hiring him.
    So anybody reading should not use short avenues to achieve what he/she wants. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Hi Mary,
    Thanks for the encouragement, and nice post on “shortcuts”.
    “Shortcuts” are good and useful when you already know the way…:)

    But, can be useful if someone who already knows the way, holds your hand and says, “I’ll show you a shortcut” or “Next time, use this shortcut, it’s better !”

    So I try to get in contact with as many “hand holders” I can.

    Regards,
    Brigitte

  • Don Purdum says:

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks so much for reaching out and connecting with me on Twitter. It’s my first time to your site and I must say I’m glad I found your site!

    Regarding that 10,000 hour rule, I have heard this so many times I don’t know where to start. While there is some truth in it, it isn’t the defining factor. I think the real point is that you build proficiency and through an open mind you’re always learning and training. That means in the future I’m more capable, adaptive and can improvise better because of the knowledge and skills acquired along the way.

    But that does not mean one cannot achieve greatness in a short time.

    I read hundreds of business and marketing blogs every week and the one thing I have discovered is that most businesses only know how to talk about themselves and their products or services.

    Many of them are deeply frustrated at their lack of results but the truth is that it doesn’t matter how consistent or newsworthy they are if they don’t understand what business they are “really” in.

    I’m convinced that the one action every business owner or entrepreneur must make TODAY is to get a more concrete mindset around their business and then blogging or other marketing strategies will have purpose, strategies, goals and tasks that can put them on the road to greatness.

    You might be surprised at how few can really say what business they are “really” in… I’m not asking what do they do but that’s what they hear because mass marketing has so deeply penetrated our very existence; yet blogging is not a mass marketing tool.

    For our blogs to be successful they have to get very specific at addressing one person with one problem, issue or need.

    How do you know what those things really are?

    That’s where the foundational research comes in that every business should do before they even launch their business. That doesn’t mean they can’t do it any time however.

    That research should include:

    * Identifying the tangible values their customers receive after they have experienced the business, product or service.

    * Identifying the “specific” problems each tangible value solves.

    * Identifying the “specific” audience the problems solves.

    * How your products or service is “a” solution.

    * Learning what business you’re “really” in from the public’s point of view.

    When you learn these things it’s a complete game changer for the business. They not only learn more deeply about their business but also how to communicate with their audience both online and offline.

    In addition, imagine the amount of very highly targeted and specific people that are searching for and in need of the article (and business) and when they read it they identify with it because it’s actually focused on them instead of on the business.

    In my opinion, that’s how an awesome business blog is created and the road to greatness begins.

    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more from you. I will be swinging by often.

    I hope you have a great end to your week!

    Signing off from Lancaster, PA.

    ~ Don Purdum

  • Hi, I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it. I am going to revisit yet again since I have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom are the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

  • Excellent info here, I am currently doing some research and found exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

  • Brenda says:

    Hi Mary,
    Thank you so much for these shortcuts.
    These are surely going to help out in future.

    Thanks
    – Brenda

  • eslamjexx says:

    Thank you for that advice, and I hope to provide more

  • Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog.

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