7 Ways You Can Cheat the 10,000 Hour Rule and Be a Better Blogger

I have mixed emotions about the 10,000 Hour Rule explained (brilliantly) in Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers.

A quick refresher just in case you haven’t heard about the 10,000 hour rule.  Over the last 20 years, scientists have been trying to measure how important talent really is.  After testing and evaluating virtuosos in dozens of fields they discovered that “The Best of the Best” have invested 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in their field.  Even geniuses with innate talent must put in their 10,000 hours too.

On one hand, I’m thrilled that hard work still means something..  But there’s a small problem…10,000 hours is a lot of time.

After all, where on God’s green earth will you find time to practice 10,000 hours at anything?

It gets even more aggravating when it comes to being an authority blogger.  If you need 10,000 hours – then this requirement is impossible for most….

Or is it?

Are You Working The Wrong 10,000 Hours?

I believe that most bloggers have been bullied into their topic.  Either they are blogging about their day job – which they hate.  Or they are blogging about a skill that they are good at but not necessarily passionate about.

So they are blogging about their default interest and not their passion.

If this is ringing true for you then I can see why the 10,000 hour rule is a challenge because you have zero appetite for putting in 10 years practicing to get better.

You see, a mere interest can’t inspire hours worth of obsessive practice.  Interest’s don’t keep you up at night trying to get a “little bit better”. But that’s exactly what some Tribe Leaders are trying to do.  They are bullying themselves to dig deep and become an expert at what they secretly despise.

This is sad AND completely unnecessary.

The Hidden 10,000 Hours

Right now, you are secretly nurturing a “closet obsession”.  It seems minor and routine to you.  But it absolutely dominates every free thought you have.  For me, its bass fishing.  I can’t pass a puddle more than 3 feet deep and 10 feet wide that I won’t try to fish.  I think about bass constantly for the last 20 years of my life.

Hmm…

How about you?  Is it radio controlled trucks? Bonsai tree pruning, trash day “picking”, playing the harmonica?

Now think about it…haven’t you already been deliberately refining this obsession for years?  I suspect that you already have your 10,000 hours invested – you just don’t know it. Now the questions is – why aren’t you using your blog to build a business around that true passion?  You already are in expert, now you just have to put in a little time to learn how to tell your story to the world.

By the Way…

Being a spectacular blogger doesn’t require 10,000 hours.  The hard part is honing your passion. The writing is something that can be learned (or at least copied) quickly.  Trust me.

How to Cheat the 10,000 Hour Rule

Ok, some of you may have just recently discovered your passion.  It’s burning in your belly and you want to get good at it quick.  Well here’s a little observation buried in the 2nd chapter of Outliers. This passage talks about results of investigating how much time it took for pianists to attain their expertise…

“In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers had each totaled ten thousand hours of practice.  By contrast, the merely good students had totaled eight thousand hours, and the future music teachers had totaled just four thousand hours

See that? Just 4,000 hours is all that needed for “teacher” status.  Here’s some cold hard truth for you…your audience just needs a teacher. Get to this level first and you’ll attract a huge audience along the way.

That’s 4,000 hours, which you’ve probably already invested.

In case you haven’t here are some tips to get you jumpstarted:

  1. Get a Coach
    Coaches help you zero in on the areas that you need to improve and find gaps in your thinking.  This is invaluable since it let’s you skip months (even years) of trial and error.  Remember that even Michael Jordan had a coach.
  2. Join or Create a Mastermind
    Something incredible happens when you regularly meet and share experiences with like-minded individuals.  Studies show that a person’s level of income, skill and happiness is roughly the average of their 5 closest friends.  Makes sense.  Surround yourself with winners and watch your expertise skyrocket.
  3. Hardwire in Accountability
    Unfortunately, people are great at dreaming and horrible at achieving.  We all need a push to keep moving ahead.  Find someone you trust and respect.  Tell them your plan and give them the power to kick your butt if you cheat yourself.  This works better if you set aggressive goals.
  4. Build Expert Habits
    Identify your goal and set-up a daily ritual that will form into a habit.  For bloggers this may be writing a 300 word blog post every day for 5 days.  These habits are the secret sauce for quickly gaining expertise.
  5. Force Yourself to Teach (writing)
    Nothing turns theory into cold-hard experience than teaching it to someone else.  Your blog is a great way to regularly teach your craft to your audience.  Better yet, write and promote your posts to get other peoples feedback.
  6. Deliberately Practice to Strengthen Weaknesses
    Find exactly what you are great at and get better.  Focus all of your attention to performing at your highest level at all times.  As a publisher of content, you should focus on your core expertise and writing skills. You can deliberately practice title writing, lead paragraphs, and creative thinking.
  7. Don’t Waste Time on The Small Stuff
    One caveat, some weaknesses aren’t worth your attention.  If you are really bad at writing a specific type of post, don’t practice for weeks trying to perfect it.  It’s not worth it – there are many other options for you to pursue.  The key here is to get great at the useful stuff first, everything else can wait.

    Quit beating yourself up.  It’s likely you have what it takes to get started now. Take a serious look at what you’re current blog and decide if it truly reflects your true passion,  If it doesn’t then be realistic about how difficult it will be to get expert status.  But if you are blogging about your obsession then full-steam ahead. I bet you are much better than you give yourself credit for.

    Talk to Me…

    Are you intimidated by the 10,000 hour rule.  Are you blogging your passion or your someone else’s interest.  Talk to me and I will talk right back 😉

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    About Stan

    Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

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