His results have been fascinating. He has, in fact gone from not ever having played golf to being a really good golfer. On good days, he shoots mid 70’s. On bad days, he shoots mid 80’s. His handicap hovers around 3. He would likely beat 99% of the golfers in the world on a good day. One of his most interesting discoveries has been the law of diminishing returns. The more he has improved, the harder it is to get better. Going from bad to good is much easier than going from good to great. And going from great to world class is REALLY difficult. He says world class is “…rare territory. The line is thin, but the gap is wide”
Will the next 3600 hours of practice turn Dan into the world class golfer category? Time will tell.
Ever since I started trying to write professionally, I’ve heard that music industry is a “7 Year Career”. It makes sense. It takes most people about that long to get into the “great” or “world class” categories at anything. That’s about how long it takes to put in 10,000 hours.
Great songwriters will likely get some songs cut. World class writers will likely be able to make a career of it. Either way, it’s probably going to take a good solid 10,000 hours to get there. And, once you become great, the biggest mountain to climb is that “world class” mountain looming up ahead. If you want it, it will require sacrifice and dedication. But it can be done. I’m far from the most talented writer in the industry, but I’ve put in my hours. My success has come from a relentless pursuit of a dream and a refusal to give up. That will take you a long way. The other day some one had found a street in Iran named Farhang Street. Farhang is my birth name and my close friends sometimes call me by that. She sent me the photo and she said it is ironic that the Farhang Street is a one-way street – as it was showing in the photo – and she said, “It’s so true. Once you set your mind on something to learn or to get done, you will put time as until you master that skill. Just like the street in the photo, your brain is one way and once you start something, there is no way back”. Initially I took what she said as a funny joke and laughed, but it made me think. She was right. When I didn’t know much English, I moved to Singapore, an English-speaking country and sat up my music label – Flipside. I learned that I really need to improve my English. One year later I found myself preparing and writing – not reading but writing – music contracts in English. For people who had ever seen any artist-label contract, they know how complicated those can be and it really have to be a native speaking lawyer preparing it, but I did it at least in 30 occasions so far. Or what you are reading right now, is written by a guy who couldn’t speak English – nor knew about how the actual music industry works – until a few years ago.
The reason of saying all these is to tell you, if you set your mind on something and dedicate your time and your heart on it, passing 10,000 hours is not a very hard thing to do. Just need a huge amount of dedication and self-motivation. But once you get it done, the satisfaction in the victory is not comparable with anything else and it will make every single second of that 10,000 hours to worth it.