Haunted by 3.197!?!?!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted a figure that was studied out by Malcolm Gladwell, and explained in his book, Outliers.  That study shows that it takes about 10,000 hrs to master something.  That 10,000 hours translates into the idea that you would need to spend 3.197 hours a day (this is figured on 6 days a week for those who Sabbath), for 10 years to truly master something.  That number began to haunt me.  Not so much, because it feels overwhelming to think of the dedication it will take to become a ‘master’ at something; rather over the thought of how much of my life I have passively dedicated to ‘mastering’ non-consequential elements.

What if today was a new day, and the power of that knowledge – dedicating 3.197 hours a day, six days a week, for 10 years, would allow me to become a master at something – became a driving reality?  How different would your time-spent look?  How different would your eating look?  How different would your reading look?  How different would your life look?

For me the first question is, what am I becoming a master at, that I have no desire to master? Then I would figure out how to cut the time I spend on that thing(s) in half or delegate them out to those who need to be doing those things in order to become a master at what they want to master.

For me the second question is, what do I want to become a master at? Many people don’t know.  They are pulled in a million directions and are unknowingly creating a life that will be average in a lot of things, but a master at nothing of consequence!    There lives best represent a hand full of rocks thrown at a small board from a long distance—in otherwords, the small board may have a small dent in it from one of those rocks, but that’s the best it’s going to be—as opposed to a laser focused in on one target.  So, how do you find that which you want to master?

  • Question 1: What am I doing or could I be doing that will have eternal significance?
  • Question 2: What am I investing my life into that will outlive me for the glory of God and the good of humanity?
  • Question 3: What is my heart pulled to, or what do I love to do?
  • Question 4: What cause (1, 2, or 3) could I make an impact for?

For me the third question is, how do I need to reorient my life in such a way, that I can spend 3.197 hours a day learning, doing, studying, interacting with, that which I want to master? And then DO IT!

The question is not, “will I master anything?”  The question is, “will I be aggressive and intentional about that which I master?”  Because if I am not thoughtful and intentional, I will end up mastering things like Facebook, twitter, and the ability to use a T.V. remote.  That’s it, 3.197 hours a day…dedicate it!  Reorient around it!  Remove that which stops you! Keep these numbers in front of you!  After all, wisdom comes with the intentionality of the way we spend our time!



One thought on “Haunted by 3.197!?!?!

  1. Great question, Matthew. I find it interesting that Jesus spent approximately 15,000 waking ours discipling his disciples. And at the end of that time, the best of them just barely got it.

    My own resolve is to spend the time it takes to master a subject in the area of discipleship – the one mandate our master gave us as he left the earth.

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