The 10,000 Rule

Practice makes perfect. But to really excel in what one is doing, there is the 10,000 rule. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell puts forward the notion that the key to success is to practice a specific task for a total of 10,000 hours. This translates to at least ten years of preparation, practice and discipline. It involves countless hours of working alone, being by one’s self, sacrificing instant pleasure and gratification for some future goal. It takes strength of character, humility, perseverance and fortitude to achieve. Think ‘desert experience’. Imagine a monk, deep in meditation – alone, ascetic, apart and away from the hustle and bustle.

This then makes sense to me: to be strong in mind and body, I must subject my mind and body to deprivation and discipline. To be great, I must start at the bottom with humility. To excel, I must first acknowledge my weaknesses and work to overcome them. It does not matter what human endeavor I am in. These rules still apply.

Where did Christ get all of this wisdom? He had his own experience of the 10,000 rule. For the first thirty years of his life, he toiled in anonymity and humility in the hamlet of Nazareth, hidden and unrecognized. He must have spent hours in prayer and meditation. Even more hours in studying the Word of God. And more hours learning the craft of carpentry from Joseph and the the art of living from Mary. Then when it was time and at the proper moment, he came upon the scene and people were awed at his wisdom and at his marvelous deeds.

“The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Matthew 23:1-12

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