Does the 10,000-Hour Rule Apply To Work?

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

If you have not heard of the 10,000-hour rule, it is a concept promoted by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Outliers: The Story of Success.” Essentially, Gladwell suggests it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill, passion, or mindset, albeit in the correct way.

The original 10,000-hour researchers, K. Anders Ericsson, Ralf Th. Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer, believe Gladwell’s view is too simplistic because mastery of something is not just about 10,000-hours of general practice but rather deliberate practice. (Keep reading, and you’ll understand how deliberate practice applies to your career.)

Deliberate practice is about doing activities recommended by experts to develop specific abilities, identifying weaknesses and working to correct them, and intentionally pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

“This distinction between deliberate practice aimed at a particular goal and generic practice is crucial,” Ericsson says, “because not every type of practice leads to improved ability. You don’t get benefits from mechanical repetition, but by adjusting your execution over and over to get closer to your goal.”

According to Daniel Goleman, an emotional intelligence expert, and bestselling author, deliberate practice is often guided by an expert, skilled coach, or mentor, “someone with an expert eye.” These coaches and mentors offer feedback on specific ways to improve, and “without such feedback, you don’t get to the top ranks. The feedback matters and the concentration does, too – not just the hours.”

So, to answer the question, 10,000 hours is not necessarily needed to master today’s required soft skills. But deliberate practice is.

Brize’s Discovery Questionnaires measure how our users’ approach work, not a user’s intelligence. With this information, we recommend skill and mindset areas to develop further and strengthen. After learning more about each topic, we recommend specific exercises to deliberately practice —- sound familiar?

If you have a desire to:

  • Conceptualize and present sound, strategic ideas
  • Effectively problem-solve
  • Increase confidence in your decision making
  • Work collaboratively with your co-workers
  • Reduce work-related stress

Deliberately practice exercises to strengthen your strategic thinking, demonstration of strategic thinking, collaborative behaviors, and positive mindsets.

If you’ve completed a Discovery Questionnaire, then your Brize account includes a personal growth and development journey, including recommended practice exercises. Our purpose-designed exercises build on one another, so our users master each skill or mindset.

Brize users can view the Exercise Practice Guide in the Community Info section of the app — login to view it.