From belieber to Bieber in 10,000 hours

Craftmanship is a factor of time

March 14, 2016, India

This morning, I read that Kanye West has anointed Justin Bieber’s ‘What do you mean?’ as the best song of 2015. Three songs from the same album, ‘Purpose,’ have gone to No 1 on the Hot Billboard 100 chart. ‘Sorry’ and ‘Love Yourself’ are the other two, though my favorite is ‘I’ll show you.’ That’s quite impressive progress by the musician from his ‘Baby’ days.

There’s a theory that if you are skilled at something, and spend 10,000 hours practising that skill, you will become a master at it. Justin Bieber is only 22, but he’s been singing covers since he was kid. So I’m guessing a lot of hours in his 22 years have been dedicated to perfecting his music. One of the songs has lyrics that mention “I’ve been so caught up in my job” So if the song is autobiographical, it would imply that the Bieber does spend time on perfecting his skill. Well, the results are beginning to show.

Think about it. We see stars and celebrities and envy their lifestyle. But what we don’t see are the hours of toil they put in to reach where they are. While you are goofing off in front of the TV or scrolling through social media, Justin Bieber has probably rolled up his sleeves, and is working out his musical skills in some form or the other. And that’s why he is on TV while you are just watching it.

In short, if you have a skill, and want to make something of it, there are no shortcuts to success. You will have to put in the hours. Keep practising your skill, and eventually you will become good at it. Slack off, and you will never fulfill your potential.

Of course, if you don’t have the basic skill, no amount of practice is going to make a difference. Take my love for tennis. I’ve been practising it for an hour every morning, for many years but I’m still the worst player in my club. The problem is I lack basic eye-hand coordination skills, and no amount of practice is going to make up for that. Why do I keep playing? Simple, because it makes working out more fun, as compared to say, jogging.

So how much is 10,000 hours? Well, if you spend 4 hours a day practising your skill, you can manage 1460 hours in a year. At that rate, it would take you seven years to master your skill. And that’s with no days off.

Now that you know the quantum of work involved, what are you waiting for? Get on with it. I’ll see you in seven years.

Too much for you?

Well, the world is divided into the Biebers and beliebers, and there’s an empty seat reserved just for you, in front of your TV.

it’s an odd world

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