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Why Mastery is not about 10,000 hours, or any number

Why Mastery is not about 10,000 hours, or any number

Written by Jamie Douraghy


There's been a lot of writing around the concept that one can "pretty much" master anything with 10,000 hours of commitment. A quick google search reveals 2 opposing schools of thought jockeying for top ranking:

pro 10,000 hours or anti 10,000 hours

Last week we attended an Iaido presentation in Kyoto where we witnessed true mastery. Initially, when the top student showed us samurai blades dated from the 17th century, the room was filled of curiosity and questions. Whereas, from the moment the Master walked in, the entire energy of the room shifted to complete silence coupled with anticipation.

The way in which the Master directed himself and his student through fluid moves with the deadliest of blades that truly "sang" as they moved with precision, was breathtaking. As we sat in silence, our eyes and minds worked hard to take in every small and intentionally precise movement. This was more than 10,000 hours, this was living the art of mastery.

While Master's Degrees may hang on many of our walls, as proof of the hours, days and years we put into earning them, most of us are far from mastery.

What I personally learned from the experience:

  1. Mastery is about harnessing energy.
  2. Mastery combines this harnessed energy with the right focus.
  3. Mastery then combines energy and focus with the ability to execute and express oneself from within using complete confidence.
  4. Mastery is about passing on the art of mastery, not being the Master.

Jamie is the founder of Life Work Integration, a process that integrates passion with purpose and vision. You can reach him at jamie@lifeworkintegration.com & via twitter @jdouraghy

Why Mastery is not about 10,000 hours, or any number
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© 2014-2019 Jamie Douraghy