Before I begin my blog I would like to extend warm Labor Day wishes to everyone. I hope you are able to kick back, relax and enjoy the day with love ones.

I want to take some time to discuss what it takes to be a master of your craft. I recently read a book entitled “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. This book basically discusses what it takes to be successful.

There is one Chapter in particular that really stands out to me. The chapter was called “10,000 hour rule”. Once I read this chapter I was ashamed, I felt bad, I felt lazy. I thought I knew what hard work was. I thought I knew what it takes to be great or a legend. This chapter pretty much changed my life.  The 10,000 hour rule is a study that says in order for you to be a master at your craft one must put in 10,000 hours of work or traning! Thats a great deal of time and dedication.

There are two examples of the 10,000 hour rule Gladwell uses in this book. Two of the most iconic figures you can think of put in 10,000 hours to master their craft. Those two figures were Bill Gates and The Beatles. While interviewing Bill Gates Gladwell discovered that Gates had access to a computer at a local campus. Gates would spend hours upon hours everyday programming and practicing since he was 13! There would be nights where Gates would sneak in the building and work until  the early morning hours. That’s dedication. That’s what it takes to become legendary. Now I’m not saying to be a trespasser and get arrested, but to be so dedicated you will work from sun down to sun up every night learning and practicing whatever it is you’re passionate about.

The Beatles arguably the greatest band the world has ever known also had to pay their dues and put in their 10,000 hours before they mastered their craft. The Beatles in their infant years left their home of England for a small opportunity to perform in a small pub in Hamburg, Germany. From 1960 to 1964 The Beatles performed over 1,200 times. Well surpassing the 10,000 hour requirement. Can you imagine the hard work and how long they would play every day to reach 10,000 hours in less that 5 years? That baffles me when I sit down and think about. it.  When the Beatles returned to England. They were masters of their craft. Their sound was unique and it took the world by storm.

As you all know Im a very big football fan. Every player that I know who’s great and changed the game all spoke of training and working on their craft for years. They put in time before and after practice. While others only practiced 2 hours a day they were practicing for 4…in essence reaching their 10,000 hours faster than the average professional. I remember when I met Walter Payton as a kid in first grade. It was during the off season and Walter was in the last years of his career. But while on vacation Walter was running and jogging for miles drenched in sweat, working hard still putting in the hours it takes to be a master. Then there are the hours he would spend running up a hill everyday. Other athletes would attempt and fatigue in a few minutes where Walter would spend hours. Again reaching his 10,000 hours twice as fast as the next athlete. That’s why he’s the greatest running back to ever play the game. We can talk about genetics and the ultimate excuse for mediocrity “some people are just born that way”. I don’t believe that one bit. We all can be great we just need to put in our 10,000 hours in.

I now know what the greats do! They are the true definition of dedicated. They are willing to sleep in a computer lab, leave the country for a music gig in a small rusty bar, or they will jog for miles while one vacation. Society calls this being obsessed, brain washed or even crazy.  Maybe that’s why over 95% of society isn’t a master at anything except for being average or being mediocre.

Reading this book and writing this blog I have a new outlook on what I need to do to become great. I highly encourage every one to read more. Just 3 years ago I wouldn’t think twice to pick up a book and read unless it was for a project or homework assignment. This book showed what it takes to become a legend. Time to stop making excuses and put in those 10,000 hours. Who’s with me?

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