10,000 hours

outliers-the-story-of-successThat’s what it takes if you want to master something. Almost anything I guess.

This comes from a new book written by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers: The Story Of Success. It’s actually being released today and it sounds like one I need to get a hold of.

From the excerpt I read, Gladwell seems to be saying that there are two things at work when it comes to success: time and a bit of luck. Luck is one of those things you can’t really control. Time is one you have a certain degree of control over. You’d think that genius would be one of the factors that contributes to success, but Gladwell digs into “genius” and suggests it’s not as much of a factor as you might think.

I’ve read Gladwell’s other books: The Tipping Point and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. I like his writing and ideas. He’s definitely not one to stick to conventional thinking.

We’ve always heard “practice makes perfect” and according to Gladwell seems to be the case.

This idea – that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice – surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.

I can’t say I’ve spent 10,000 hours mastering anything. Sleep maybe. I’ve found a career now that I feel I can stay with for the rest of my life, and I’m well into my journey to 10,000 hours. I’ve had some luck along the way too, but some might say that’s positioning.

If you were to put in eight hours per day mastering any skill, it would take you 1,250 days to hit 10,000 hours. That’s about three and a half years. Every day. How many of us can devote a full eight hours every day to anything? Even at work your day is broken up by lunch, coffee, meetings, etc. How much of your day is real work where you can master your skill of choice?

Let’s say you get three hours per day really mastering your skill. That translates into 3,333 days, or about 9 years. But, that’s every single day. Seems like a big task, doesn’t it? I have tried to teach my kids that hard work matters more than genius, and I hope they’re learning that. Of course you need to have a normal level of intelligence, but after that, it’s hard work that really counts.

I think mastery is a goal worth working towards, whether it’s work-related or some other pursuit like art, music, writing, carving, etc. So, what skill are you working to master with your 10,000 hours?

The Opening Salvo

cannonIt’s about time I finally got back to my personal blogging. If you’ve done a search of my name you’ll have discovered my old blogs that I had on Blogger. I finally decided to start it up on my own domain. I thought it would be a good thing to blog on my own domain using WordPress. I like WordPress because of the power and flexibility.

No doubt this has partially been precipitated by my recent change in employment status. I’ve had more time to contemplate what I really want to do. Blogging is certainly going to be part of that.

Professional SEO & Internet marketing in Edmonton

On a professional basis, I plan to continue in Internet marketing in Edmonton. I will be doing search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click marketing, web content creation, web analytics, public relations (press releases, articles), media outreach and more. What form that will take has yet to be determined.

I won’t be leaving this field of work. I really enjoy it and want to continue. One thing’s for sure, the power of social media has really helped me in the transition after being laid off. I was a little overwhelmed at the response I’ve received, both in support and interest in possibly working with me.

We definitely made the right choice in coming to Edmonton. It might be a city of over one million people, but it’s certainly been friendly.

Blog direction: Internet marketing, SEO, life in Edmonton

The direction of this blog will be a bit of a hybrid. It will be my personal blog where I comment on just about anything I feel like, but it will also have a professional element where I talk about Internet marketing, search engine optimization and assorted other similar topics. I definitely need an outlet for all the ideas running through my head.

Alain Saffel


1. Tony Ratcliffe Says: October 14th, 2008 at 12:13 am

Congratulations on your new blog, Alain! I look forward to reading it.

2. Marianne Lennard Says: October 14th, 2008 at 4:11 am

I find it very interesting to see what others post in their blogs … nice to keep up with what’s going on in others’ lives. The opportunites for your future sound abundant … I look forward to reading more, as the weeks unfold. Take care~

3. Melanie Nathan Says: October 14th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

It’s great to see your blog up and running. Man you work fast! You’re making me look bad lmao ;)

4. Alain Saffel Says: October 14th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Well, I have to give credit to some of my Twitter friends for helping me to sort out a few technical issues! Without their help, you wouldn’t have anything to comment on. :)

5. Leslie Robertson Says: October 15th, 2008 at 2:49 am

Alain, glad to see your blog and I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

6. Shawna Says: October 21st, 2008 at 11:22 am

Hi Alain, Shawna here from Sandler Sales. Remember the Signature Capital consultant. Hey, I heard you are on your own (business that is) and am wondering if you are looking for ways to expand your business. reach me at 860-7973. cheers.