Does It Really Take 10,000 Hours To Succeed At Something?

The Outliers is a book written by Malcom Gladwell references Dr. Anders Ericsson, a scientist, who asked this question:

What does it take to reach the top 1% of any chosen industry or field?

After 3 decades of study, Ericsson found that if you commit yourself to 10,000 hours of diligent practice, you’ll make it to the top of your industry or field.

In a daily time frame, that’s practicing a specific task 3 hours a day for 10 years. 

Examples Of The 10,000 Hour Theory

In the book, Gladwell uses The Beatles and Bill Gates as examples that meet this principle.

Ed Sheeran puts his success down to the 10,000 hours theory. In an interview back in 2014 he shared how he watched Damien Rice for the first time and decided that wanted to be like him. 

He then wrote 5 songs a day, and played shows as often as he could.

Sheeran describes it is like ‘opening a dirty tap’, he’s got all of the rubbish out of his system and now has good, clean ‘water’.

He says that this amount of output paired with a nice, friendly personality is what you need to be successful.

Is The 10,000 Hour Theory True For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs?

Business owners and entrepreneurs want to get really good at doing something: delivering their product or service. 

So does the 10,000 hour theory work here?

Well, yes and no… Let us explain.

You have to make sure that, as a business owner, you are honing your craft. This might look like putting in around 10,000 hours worth of practice into your product or service…. But that isn’t enough.

Take Kodak for example. They were great at making photos, they were arguably in the top 1%. But that all changed….

Why? Because the 10,000 hours focused solely on the product. Rather than the customers who were buying it.

Kodak got really good at making photos, but all of a sudden that wasn’t what their consumers wanted.

Everything turned digital.

The 10,000 hours may have got Kodak to the point they were at, but had the digital wave crashed on them before it did… all that hard work may have been for nothing.

So there are two catches for business owners and the 10,000 hour theory.

The 2 Key Points Of The 10,000 Hour Theory


1. Focus On Both Your Business & Your Customers

You have to make sure as a business owner that you are both honing your craft, and considering who your product is for at the same time.

That’s the true process of creating a product or service. You must spend your time considering both.

You can get really good at doing something, but that doesn’t mean it’s of value to people.

2.Learn Quickly To Keep Up With The Trends

You need to learn quickly and keep up with the trends.

Society is moving as such a fast pace. This means that business owners and entrepreneurs have to learn quickly to keep up with the changing times.

Judging and preparing for waves in your industry will be vital to your success. 

It is not simply about the 10,000 hours that you spend on your business, but how you adapt to your surroundings as you are learning.


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