If it’s one thing we hate here at the HML it’s scientific mumbo-jumbo and pointed-headed intellectuals telling stuff we already know but wrapping it some cute-sy candy wrapper of words.
What’s that, you ask?
I’m talking about Malcolm Gladwell. I got beef with that dude. I thought about challenging him to a boxing match, a la Axl Rose, but decided the pen is mightier than the glove: I wrote this scathing blog instead.
Malcolm caused a stir recently with his “10,000 Hour Rule” from his book, “Outliers.” What’s the “10,000 Hour Rule,” you ask? It is this:
The rule says that in order for an individual to master any complex skill, be it brain surgery or playing the cello, she must put in 10,000 hours of focused practice. Since a thousand hours seems to be more or less the maximum we humans can handle in one year, ten thousand hours equals ten years.
So it’s just an Ivy League was of saying “practice makes perfect.” Except, I guess, dude ran the numbers and came up with 10,000. No, not 7,323 or 8,234, but 10,000.
One example he gives in the book is The Beatles. By living and rocking in Hamburg during those fun and free years in ’62-63, they honed their craft and transformed themselves from Buddy Holly rip-offs to Mersey beat geniuses (those sharp suits didn’t hurt either.) They, according to Gladwell, must’ve practiced…wait for it…10,000 hours!
Any artist will tell you just gotta do it, man. If you’re a writer, you gotta commit yourself to writing 1,000 words a day, no matter what. Who knows, maybe you’ll bottle lighting and write something really cool by word 1,034. This blog post does a really great job and exploring this idea in a way I’m unwilling to do. Too much work.
Rather, I’ll ask y’all. Do you really have to practice 10,000 hours to be an amazing artist? What about savants? Savants just roll up.
I dunno, Syd Barret comes to mind. As any of his fervent disciples will tell you, he was a genius, but did he really grind it out in his bedroom for 10,000 hours? Did Rimbaud? No he didn’t.
How many rhetorical questions can I ask in one blog post? 10,000?
Anyway, Gladwell’s got me all worked up – I’m sweating – which is just how he likes it. He’s sitting beret-clad in his academic ivory tower cackling over spiced chai while I make scrambled eggs in the rain.
But there is some sweet consolation in know that he’s been wrong before. He said social media was useless in terms of social revolution; just look at the Civil Rights, movement, he said – they did it without Twitter. Then, like, 2 weeks later, the whole Arab Spring revolts broke out using social media.
What an idiot.