Friday, April 30, 2010

Want to be a Star? 10,000 Hours of Practice

I hope you read the Harvard  Business Review. It is fantastic.

Back in November 2009 Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc. published a guest post entitled “How Not Achieving Something Is the Key to Achieving It”. Bergman makes the age old argument that practice makes perfect. He references the Book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell  that gives some really great insight on practice.

“Gladwell discusses research done at the Berlin Academy of Music. Researchers divided violin students into three categories: the stars, the good performers, and the ones who would become teachers but not performers. It turns out that the number one predictor of which category a violinist fell in was that number of hours of practice.

The future teachers had practiced 4,000 hours in their lifetime. The good performers, 8,000 hours. And those who were categorized as stars? Every single one of them had practiced at least 10,Violinist000 hours.

And here’s the compelling part: There wasn’t a single violinist who had practiced 10,000 hours who wasn’t a star. In other words, 10,000 hours of practice guaranteed you’d be a star violinist. According to Gladwell, 10,000 hours of practice is the magic number to become the best at anything.”

This excerpt really made me think. How much time do I give to practicing personal financial success? Better yet, which category do I want to be in? A teacher, good performer, or a star? Bergman states that he believes that anyone can do anything as long as three conditions exist:

1. You want to achieve it

2. You believe you can achieve it

3. You enjoy trying to achieve it

I agree with Bergman when I say that by far, the most important condition is the third.  You want to be debt free, you believe you can achieve freedom from debt – but unless you enjoy trying to get there, the brutal truth is that you probably won’ t.

To be successful at anything you have got to put in the time. You can want and believe with all your might, but until you try you will not have the opportunity to succeed – that includes achieving your financial dreams.


  1. No wonder I'm such a good eater...I've been practicing that for over 18,000 hours!!

    Seriously though these are great thoughts and you make it feel very achievable. Always enjoy reading you and this was a great one!

  2. That is like practicing for 8 hours each day for almost 3 and a half years.