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I have my own take on this - if you triple-Pareto the 10k hours rule you end up with 80 hours of work responsible for 51.2% of your skill. I round it up and call 100-hours rule: if you put one hundred hours of actual practice into something it might not make you an expert, but you'll be proficient and/or good enough to impress people around you.

I started applying this to random things, and I think one could cut it down to even 10 hours for things one would just want to have a familiarity with. It's surprising how much progress can you make in few initial hours of practice. I could never toss a coin without it landing in completely random places or hitting someone. After just 3-5 hours of practice total over span of few days I learned how to toss various coins and catch them with one (the same) hand, and I could even spin them in ways that make or don't make sound on demand.

So my take is: apply 10-hour rule to random stuff you fancy, things that could make good party tricks, etc. Apply 100-hour rule to things you end up caring about enough that you want to be proficient in them.

If we combine your rules of thumb with the original essay and the 10,000 hour rule, we get a rough order-of-magnitude scale of work and levels of ability:

  * 10 hours: familiar
  * 100 hours: proficient
  * 1000 hours: good
  * 10000 hours: expert
Not perfect, of course, but it's sort of intriguing in its simplicity.

Ha. The marketing/consultant's version.

1 hour = familiar (heard of it) 10 hours = proficient (1 day) 100 Hours = "good" (2 weeks) 1000 Hours = "expert" (6 months)

Although a general rule of thumb (that is true) is 3 months of full time work on a topic makes you "conversant"--good enough to pass yourself off as an expert to the unsuspecting. OF course, YMMV.

I like this, I think as an aphorism it actually has a good bit of descriptive power.

A while back I started learning the guitar - having learnt drums and (some) piano as a child with a teacher and structured learning, I decided to teach myself at a much slower process for 'fun'. I'm probably somewhere between the proficient and good categories now and I think this trajectory matches my experiences.

What is an important take away for people is that you can learn something, and it doesn't take that long for you to get to a point where it is useful, enjoyable and satisfying. So many adults shy away from learning new skills unnecessarily. Learn to play guitar. Learn to code. Learn to paint, learn to speak Dutch, learn to write poetry, learn to bake, learn to woodwork. Your life will be richer for it.

Yeah... I really like this too!

I tend to take this 100-hour rule in short bursts. I can't often get myself to do something 2 hours a week consistently for a year (not to mention a decade!). So instead I tend to intensely apply myself to one thing for a short while, and then seldom do it after that. For example, I got into the habit of learning a new instrument every Summer for eight years. I tried everything from the guitar to the didgeridoo (I learned how to breathe circularly, too; it only took a week or so), and spent a Summer practicing whatever tickled my fancy. People really do find it impressive despite my insistence that I'm terrible at every instrument I play because I don't stick with it.

Moreover, I've found these minor skills have given me broad applications beyond what I originally intended (leisure). I worked at a day camp and knowing the harmonica and ukulele made campfire stories/skits/songs immeasurably better (I also did a semester of intense practice in performance literature, which helped as well). My forays into design have made me the resident web/design expert in my mathematics department, resulting in some extra cash. Learning to paint has made decorating my apartment way more fun and elevates my perceived sophistication (which I think is hilarious). The list goes on and I don't intend to stop growing it.

I've wanted to do this for some time, but don't get summers off unfortunately. How do you divide the time? ~8hrs/day for a couple weeks, or ~2hrs a day for the whole summer?

Thanks for validating the concept!

Could you explain "triple-Pareto"? (I might be messing up by parsing it as an economic term.)

The Pareto principle is that 80% of result comes from 20% of the effort. So 80% of the 10k hours worth of skill (8k) comes from 20% of the actual time (2k). If you continue multiplying the hours worth of skill by 0.8 and the actual hours involved by 0.2, you get 5120 hours worth of skill in 80 actual hours of practice.

Of course, if you keep going, you get the first 800 hours worth of skill in less than a second (and the first 300 in a mere millisecond), so I'm not sure the repeated application is justified.

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." - John Wanamaker

The question is WHICH of those 80 hours account for 51.2% of the value of 10K hours of practice. It's not necessarily the FIRST 80 hours.

It's very possible you could get 8% of your skill in less than a second; it just might come at a lightning-strike eureka or moment of epiphany during hour 8,679.

I think people also forget that the point of the 10k hours is not just the time, but also the fact that experts actively spend time figuring our their weaknesses, and focus on that, while making sure their strengths don't start to wilt. Planning rather than just doing, are also important.

> so I'm not sure the repeated application is justified

Probably not. I don't think that whoever came up with 80/20 had this in mind, but that's the fun with mathy-sounding rules of thumb - you get to mix them and/or fold them on themselves and see what comes out ;).

More seriously, you may try to rescue the rule and such application by noting that it is the right 20% of work required to get 80% of result. Finding that work in the space of all work to be done requires effort on itself. Finding the right 4%, or right 0.8%, requires even more bits of knowledge, thus more meta-work.

Fortunately, we may cheat a little bit, because those who came before us and mastered the skill we want often already did the big part of figuring out which work has most payoff at the beginning.

I meant the "Pareto principle"[0], or 80-20 rule, that says that you can get 80% of effect with 20% of work. If you apply the rule to itself, you get the 64-4 rule, and if you do this again, you get 51.2% of results from 0.8% of work ;).

[0] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle.

I like it - sounds very similar to Josh Kaufman's "The First 20 Hours". His thesis is that you won't become an expert in 20 hours, but you can become competent enough at something to turn it into an enjoyable hobby (and after that, sky's the limit).


And a mere 20 hours (never mind "only" 1,000 hours) still distinguishes you from the vast majority of people who never put in even that much. Expertise is relative, after all.

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