10,000 Hours Debunked

I’ve been listening to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist (good album!) and the first track is titled Ten Thousand Hours–referencing the theory that Malcom Gladwell popularized: The 10,000 Hours Rule. Basically, Gladwell suggests that after completing 10,000 hours of work in your field you are considered an expert. A Master.

And sure, 10,000 hours seems like a long time...

I started calculating how many hours have I already logged in this wonderful field of design. Going back in time, I’ll start with sophomore year in college. Five hours of work per class, maybe four of those a semester plus homework time, YES, A LOT OF HOMEWORK TIME; welcome to art school. That’s 832 hours per semester, and I’m calculating six semesters. Add to that 4,992 with internships, we’re at 5,112. And of course now that I’m working (twenty-four months at 40 hours of work/wk)

Grand total: 6,072 Hours of Design Time
Give or take a few hours.

So did I really just pass halfway? I’m half a master of design? What in the world do I do once I reach 10,000 hours!?

But, I realized, there are hours that I can’t really calculate as a designer, those hours where we’re all just living. Those hours that spark creativity and inspire me to inspire you.
I’m not half a master and I don’t know if I’ll ever consider myself a expert. I’m always learning and the world is always changing; the world is asking for me to keep asking, so I will keep doing and I will keep learning.

Here’s more on Gladwell’s theory in his book: The Outliers
How many hours do you have under your belt on your passion? Go ahead and check just for fun!