一萬個小時的原則

By: Jim Mathis

我最近在美國密蘇里州堪薩斯市的考夫曼表演藝術中心當招待。因為 Joshua Bell 要來表演,他是全世界最好的小提琴獨奏家之一。很多人把參加他的演奏會當成一生難得的人生經驗。雖然別人這樣說,但對我來說這並非是獨一無二的經驗。

這個經驗就很像每隔幾年就會發生的「百年最嚴重的水災」一樣。這不是在貶低 Joshua Bell 的技巧或是天賦。事實上,天氣只是一個比喻,因為 Joshua Bell 音樂對耳朵來說就像是水災排山倒海而來一樣。

聽 Joshua 的演奏讓我想起「一萬個小時的原則」。有人說學習技能成為專家,你必須要練習一萬個小時。當然,你個人的天資和練習的品質也會是你能到達什麼程度的重要因素。

但是這個數字似乎是對的。大部分的醫生必須要在醫學院至少一萬個小時以上、熟練的水管工和技師也需要一萬個小時的練習、MBA 的畢業生也許已經受過很高等的教育,但是他們必須在商業和專業的領域裡花更多時間去練習和工作,才能成為真正的傑出人士。

一萬個小時的原則是什麼?一週工作40個小時,5年大概就有一萬個小時。如果一個人每天練習吉他 1 個小時,27 年之後才會到達一萬個小時。

我和來自不同職場的人相處的經驗也證實了這個原則。這些人每天付出許多小時在他們技術和專業上。天資和天份被人過度強調,但如果你不去發展它,這項能力也不會變得傑出。另一方面,投入的時間和努力常被人低估,事實上努力和決心是可以把人帶到更高的境界。

我曾經聽說過,一個歌手或是音樂家在表演前必須要練習 100 次才算真正懂得這首歌。在我的專業-攝影裡,我拍超過一百萬張照片,花了大概七萬個小時做和攝影相關的工作,我相信這樣可以使我成為某一種程度的專家。當然,拍一萬次很糟的照片或是唱一萬次唱歌但唱的很糟也是有可能。但是一般來說,經驗和練習是無可取代的。舊約裡的箴言對此有很多相關的經文:

委身在長時間的練習。我們生在一個追求或是要求快速結果的時代,但是有些事情是沒有捷徑的,專業的成長就是其中之一。「耕種自己田地的,必得飽食;追隨虛浮的,卻是無知。」(箴言12章11節)。

評估自己所做的。如果你想以品質著稱,你必須花許多的時間和大量的製做。「做工懈怠的,與浪費人為弟兄。」(箴言18章9節)。「諸般勤勞都有益處;嘴上多言乃致窮乏。」(箴言14章23節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。最近他還編輯Gary Highfield所寫的書「當『想要』變成『必須』!」要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com以及www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com 。

省思 / 討論題目
你對一萬個小時的原則有什麼想法?你覺得它是否適用在專業領域裡? 你是否在某件事上投資了一萬個小時或更多的時間?你是否因此成為這個領域的專家或是有些成就?解釋你的答案。 我們生活在一個強調快速的社會,最好每件事都像微波爐一樣快。我們如何去克服想要走捷徑的慾望,而願意付出時間來完成重要的目標呢? 箴言裡談到「追隨虛浮」和「空談」兩件事,你是否在專業的領域裡看過這樣的事?它們如何損壞長期的成功?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言10章4節,15章19節,20章4節,22章29節;馬太福音5章13-16節;歌羅西書3章17、23節;雅各書2章14-17節

THE “10,000-HOUR RULE”
By Jim Mathis

I recently served as an usher at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A. The special guest soloist was Joshua Bell, one of the best – If not the best – violinists in the world. Many people have observed that seeing him in concert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They said that the last time I saw him, too, so for me it apparently has been a twice-in-a-lifetime experience.

This is like the “100-year floods” that seem to occur every few years. But this is not to diminish Joshua”s skills and musical gifts. In fact, the weather analogy is not far-fetched at all because his virtuosity impacts the audience like a flood to the senses.

Listening to Joshua perform reminded me of the so-called “10,000-hour rule.” This idea suggests it takes about 10,000 hours of practice or experience to become an expert or master at your chosen craft. Of course, the quality of practice and extent of your innate giftedness or talent also factor into the degree of mastery you can attain.

But the number seems about right. Most doctors spend at least 10,000 hours in medical school, and master plumbers and mechanics probably have acquired about 10,000 hours experience during their careers. Students graduating with an MBA may be highly educated, but it still takes many, many hours of work and experience for them to truly excel in their business and professional careers.

What does the 10,000-hour rule look like? Working for 40 hours a week for five years calculates to approximately 10,000 hours. If a person practiced playing the guitar an hour a day, it would take more than 27 years to get to 10,000 hours.

My experience with people in various professions seems to confirm this theory. The most accomplished among them have put in more hours than that at their craft. Talent or giftedness can be greatly overrated; if you do not try to develop it, you will not excel. However, the importance of time devoted to learning and perfecting skills is often underrated, since hard work and determination can take you a long way.

I have heard a singer or musician needs to perform a song 100 times before they really know it. In my profession, photography, I have made more than one million photographs and spent around 70,000 hours doing some sort of photography. I trust that has translated into an acceptable level of expertise. It is possible to produce millions of low-quality photographs, of course, or to sing a song improperly 100 times. But generally speaking, there is no substitute for experience and practice. The book of Proverbs in the Bible”s Old Testament has much to say about this. Here is a sampling:

Committing to the long haul. We live in a time when immediate results are expected, even demanded. But some things have no shortcuts, including professional growth. “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment” (Proverbs 12:11).

Valuing the work you do. If you want to be known for the quality of your work, you should be willing to do it in quantity, giving it much of your time. “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9). “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What are your thoughts about the “10,000-hour rule”? Do you think it is a valid principle for professional achievement? Is there anything you have done in your life for which you have invested 10,000 hours or more? If so, how would you rate your level of accomplishment or expertise in that area? Since we live in an instant, microwave-type of society, how can we overcome the temptation to take shortcuts and instead, be willing to devote the time necessary to accomplish important goals and objectives? The proverbs cited talk about “chasing fantasies” and “mere talk.” Have you observed or experienced this in your business or professional career? How can they be detrimental to long-term success?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 10:4, 15:19, 20:4, 22:29; Matthew 5:13-16; Colossians 3:17,23; James 2:14-17

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