Gladwell, as I’m sure you’ve read, claims that you need to put in 10,000 hours to become an expert. But who has the time now, especially at this stage in life, to dedicate 1,250 working days to becoming an expert at something new, no matter how valuable it is?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to circumvent the 10,000 hour rule. There’s a way to quickly become, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”.
But most people naturally do the opposite. Of course, doing the opposite is easier.
You’ve seen it too many times among your co-workers and friends. People often bounce from hot idea to hot idea without having a comprehensive plan. In the end, they never make progress. That’s why we’re continuing to push hard on teaching you the financial options and plan you can have within your life.
Expertise isn’t too far away. And here’s a great book for you to check out as you are learning your new skill…
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport crossed my desk highly recommended by Early to Rise readers and many of today’s popular authors, including Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, & Reid Hoffman, founder of Linked In.
Newport’s thesis is that trying to create a career around your passion is a decision destined for failure. This challenges many views that you’ll hear in today’s world of feel-good career experts. I’ll admit, it even goes against what I have long believed. But I was willing to hear Newport’s argument. He certainly makes a strong case for adding value to the world first, before worrying about whether or not your value-adding skills match your passion.
Newport believes that you first get good and then you get your passion. He outlines 3 traits that make you love your work:
To achieve these traits, you must first develop valuable skills that earn you career capital. It is only when you have career capital that you can take control of your life.
To develop career capital, you must spend time in serious study where you stretch your abilities at an appropriate level and provide immediate feedback. This is done through deliberate practice of working on activities that matter.
According to researcher Anders Ericsson, deliberate practice is defined as, “Activity designed, typically by a teacher, for the sole purpose of effectively improving specific aspects of an individual’s performance.”
One subject of the book, Mike, a Cleantech VC director, tracks every hour of his day, down to the quarter hour increments, on a spreadsheet. He wants to ensure that his attention is focused on activities that matter. Another success story from the book, Mike Jackson, says, “Spend time on what’s important, not what’s immediate.”
Newport argues that following your passion is the wrong choice because you are simply going out and looking for what the world can offer you. When you follow your passion you often quit at the first sign of dirty work.
On the other hand, when you take a craftsmen approach to your work, you focus on building your skills with the attitude of, “How can I help the world?”
The mindset shift is like day and night, and parallels the “Value Adder” vs. “Value Extractor” dichotomy that we see existing in the world today (otherwise known as “Makers” vs. “Takers”).
I can see how Newport’s theory holds true. I followed my passion of heath and fitness into a University education (complete with Master’s Degree) and then a job as a personal trainer.
But I didn’t love the dirty work of being a trainer. I disliked the racing around town trying to get from appointment to appointment, being a servant to rich people (fetching them water, handing them towels, picking up their ‘toys’ after the training session, being at their beck and call, etc.)
That said, what kept me going was because I was taking the craftsmen approach to my work. I studied relentlessly to become a better trainer, and simultaneously, at becoming a writer that could communicate training ideas to the average person in my newsletter. I was ‘happy’ to get up an extra 30 minutes early each morning – at 4:20 a.m., no less – to write about fitness.
This craftsmen approach allowed me to leave behind all of the things I disliked about personal training and forge a new vocation as an author, all because of my skills.
Some final advice from Newport:
“Turn your focus toward getting so good they can’t ignore you… Regardless of what you do for a living, approach your work like a true performer.”
“If you want a great job, you need to build up valuable skills – which I call career capital – to offer in return.”
“Adopt the craftsmen mindset first and then the passion follows.”
It’s worth a read to challenge the Passion argument you might hold. It’s particularly worthwhile if you are just starting out and trying to figure out where you “fit in” in life.
And as Newport concludes, “It is a lifetime accumulation of deliberate practice that again and again ends up explaining excellence.”
Another way to speed up your success is to get a Mentor. With coaching, you can design your life around your expertise and turn it into a lucrative online business opportunity. There is no shortage of ways to make money online, to help more people, to be able to work from anywhere around the world – on YOUR schedule. You’ll discover exactly how to do this when you join Bedros and myself at our next 1-Day Mastermind. Your next chance is Friday, June 27th, in Orange County, California. We’d love to see you there.