10,000 HOURS

Several thoughts reached congruence for me today. The result is a huge kick in the pants.

A few days ago, I listened to a call-in seminar provided by Christine Kane, singer/songwriter/blogger/creativity coach.

She spoke about New Year’s intentions, very different than resolutions. It was really cool. I found where my sticking point was. I’m thinking on how to work on that this year.

But one phrase reached out and really whapped me on the head. (The proverbial dope slap through the telephone, so to speak.)

She said our current culture creates “a conspiracy of distraction.”

I work in a studio connected to our home. It used to be only the doorbell and the phone that broke up my days. (Well, and crying children, too, to be fair.)

Now the disruption is constant. Email. IM. Texting. Facebook. Blogging. My beloved Twitter. I even have two phone lines, one for our house and one for my business and faxes. One phone is hard enough to ignore, but two….

All contribute to a constant stream of of interruptions and distraction throughout my day.

I know the simple answers: “Turn off the phone!” “Take the computer out of your studio!” Just focus on your artwork!” Yeah, that works. Just like, “Don’t eat that box of cookies at 10 p.m.!”

Bad habits are hard to break. I’ve tried to break this one before, and failed.

Fortunately, I am not alone, and good people are at work in the world, writing books and telling me how to deal with this. (Except, of course, the irony of taking time to read yet another book that tells me how to improve myself.) Perhaps this shorter blog article will do the trick.

But it has to happen. Today a dear friend sent me a link to this article by artist Katherine Tyrrell in her blog, Making a Mark.

She talks about how it takes 10,000 hours devoted to something to make it really outstanding.

This make me think about that conspiracy of distraction, and how it sucks our time so completely.

We need that time, so we can put in our 10,000 hours.

This all relates back to a little half sheet of paper that changed my life.

I was struggling through my kickboxing training, about two years in. I felt like I was making no progress. Instead of getting better, I was painfully aware of how bad I really was. My instructor ran back to his office and came back with a half sheet of paper, which he gave to me.

On it were the four stages of learning.

Most people quit at stage two. It’s simply too painful, and they quit dieting, stop their studies, quit making art, stop writing.

Just knowing that….just understanding that it’s going to be hard at this stage…was enough to keep me going.

I’ve written about this before, but I can only find this short version I wrote for Robert Genn’s website awhile back.

The 10,000 hours ties in nicely with the four stages of learning.

The last piece of the puzzle was reading about how it can take eight tries to make a major change in your life. Whether you’re trying to stop smoking, exercise more, jump start your new art career, sell a wall hanging, you will fail, or you will hear “no”, an average of eight times.

Maybe my past efforts to make these crucial changes failed. But I will keep trying.

Because when the universe tells you three times to sit down and do the work, you better listen.

So why did I take the time to write this out, instead of jumping up to sew a fabric piece?

Because writing is one of my creative processes.

Because if I write it down, then I won’t forget it.

And if I publish it, then I can share it with you.

p.s. Just as I finished this, the phone rang.
p.p.s. And the doorbell rang.

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9 Comments

Filed under action steps, art, business, choices, creativity, martial arts, mental attitude, time management, writing

9 responses to “10,000 HOURS

  1. Great post, worth the time it took me to read it even though I should have been working!

  2. Courage is defined as “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Maybe mastery is now “acknowledge the distractions and do your work anyway.”

  3. Hi Luann & all,

    I’ve been reading a lot about the 10,000 hour phenomena lately. It’s an interesting dynamic. There’s a bit more to it than just the time though as I have been learning. For anyone with the time for a good read, I do suggest that you pick up a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” which is the book that seems to have brought this to light.

    Cheers & thanks again for your blog, I always enjoy reading your thought process.

    -Cynthia

  4. Thanks for the reference Luann – I felt very much the same as you – that we have to tie-in the need to spend the time with the need to reduce the distractions.

  5. Great post! Informative, succinct and thought-provoking. I’ll look forward to more!

  6. Yeah, me too. I hear ya. The problem is it’s just so much darned fun to converse on the PC.

    It seems you and I are especially tuned into people and relationships. We love to share ideas, but it gets in the way of our productivity – which is the whole topic that we’re talking about… ironic.

    Social media is addictive because it feels good to communicate, but one thing I’ve noticed is that all my relationships are online now. Rarely do I take the time to meet people in person. I think if I did, I wouldn’t need my twitter as often.

    Winter is especially hard because I’m inside more. Getting the PC out of the studio is probably the first step, like you said. It doesn’t belong in the creative sanctuary.

    OK… I’ve rambled enough. Got to get back to work, eh?
    Lori

  7. Re: Leah–In the interest of helping you all get back to your own 10,000 hours, I’m trying to write shorter posts!

    Cynthia, you read my mind. It’s being held for me at the book store. I LOVE Malcolm!

    Lori, as always, you are spot-on.

    Thank you all for your comments, they are most excellent.

  8. Hi Luann!
    I’m actually not on twitter. Talking about distractions, I’m trying to limit how many ‘sites’ I have to manage and update and look at. I do enjoy looking at my friends twitter when there is a funny comment!
    I really enjoy your blog!
    Valerie

  9. Pingback: THE FIFTH STAGE OF COMPETENCE « Luann Udell

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