It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.
This comes from Professor Anders Ericsson who wrote that if you spend 10,000 hours practicing or studying something, you become an expert.
I’m trying to think of anything that I’ve spent that much time on. The figure equates to less than 60 weeks which actually doesn’t sound too long over a lifetime, right?
I spent years going to weekly keyboard and guitar lessons. Two hours a week, plus at home practicing, plus studying Music at school which I took up to Advanced Higher level. I don’t practice too often now, but am I still considered an expert??? Probably not.
Today I was definitely not an expert. Stumbling up to the delivery tables of the stockroom in the retail store where I have worked part-time for four years in, I was handed a HHT gun (a wee scanning device). “You know what you’re doing, right?” Eh, no?
I’ve transferred over Christmas to a different branch and the note that I have never worked delivery must’ve got lost in translation. For the first five hours of my nine-to-five shift, I settled into the role of complete amateur as I tried to do what I was asked as quickly as I could. I say ‘tried’ because I still managed to fail miserably with meeting the time targets. I think some people sensed my lack of skill and I was called down to help on the shop floor for the last few hours of my shift.
Here, my day started to pick up a bit when I was speaking to a wonderful customer about studying journalism and my hopes of a career in the industry. “You just need one break,” she said, “you’re a lovely girl, you’ll get it.” After that, I spent the rest of my shift beaming and appreciating the importance of the positivity and encouragement of strangers.
I got home a couple of hours ago, and I’ve had some time to relax and unwind. Tomorrow will be a busy day, but for now my night will be spent scanning Sky movies, drinking buckets of green tea and trying to figure out what skills and qualities I possess that maybe I have perfected.