I have been looking at the many art forms I have participated in to tally how much more work I need to do to become an expert at my passions. The results are quite interesting.
1. Comic Book Drawing: 2005-2007 (10 hours/wk) = 1,040 hours
2. Painting: 1996-1998 (15 hrs/wk = 1,560 hours); 1998-2001 (312 hours); 2001-2003 (300 hours); 2003-2008 (624 hours) = 2,796 hours
3. Writing: 2001-2003 ( 5 hrs/day = 3,650 hours); 2003-2005 (25 hours/wk = 2,600 hours); 2005-2008 (5 hours/wk = 780 hours) = 7,030 hours
4. Music: 1994-1996 (30 hrs/wk = 3,120 hours); 1996-1999 (1,000 hours); 1999-2001 (15 hours/wk = 1,560 hours); 2001-2003 (150 hours); 2003-2005 (100 hours); 2005-2008 (1,000 hours) = 6,930 hours
5. TV Producing: 2005-2007 (40 hrs/wk = 4, 160 hours) = 4, 160 hours
6. Meditation: 1976-2001 (5 hours); 2001-2003 (10 hours); 2003-2005 (5 hours); 2005-2006(5 hours); 2006-2008 (90 hours) = 115 hours
7. Tennis: 1990-1994 (10 hrs/wk = 2,080 hours); 1994-2007 (300 hours); 2008 (150 hours) = 2,530 hours
8. Teaching: 2000-2001 (Taught gym for a year = 2,184 hours); 2004 (Taught Creative Arts for six months = 1,080 hours); 2003 (Taught Creative Writing for one semester at Naropa = 48 hours); 2005-2007 (Private tutor for about four hours a week = 416 hours); 2007-2008 (Taught ESL at 30 hours/wk = 1,560 hours); 2008-2009 (Taught ESL at Yonsei University = 1,000 hours); 2007-2009 (Taught Composition online at 10 hours/wk = 1,040 hours) = 7, 328 hours
Now that I am doing 20 minutes a day of meditation each morning - about 2.5 hours a week - it will take me 90 years to reach mastery (1/3 of an hour x 365 x 90 = 10, 950 hours). I think I need to up the ante to one hour per day, which would make me reach mastery in 30 years (1 hour of meditation x 365 days x 30 = 10, 950 hours).
If I do two hours of writing practice per day, it will take me 4 years to achieve mastery (2 x 365 x 4 = 2,920 hours + 7,030 = 9,950 hours).
If I do one hour of painting practice per day, it will take me 20 years to become an expert.
If I practice music for one hour a day, it will take me ten years to become an expert.
Looking at my next year, I need to raise so much money to be able to live. I would say about $3,500-4,000/month. This will require working about 35-40 hours/week. If I work online, I can have more time to become an expert at different things.
In order to become an expert at writing, I could concentrate solely on that exercise...there are 168 hours in a week - of which I am sleeping about 56 of those hours, which leaves 72 hours to become an expert if I remove sleeping and work...if I remove television watching, scouring the Internet, and leave time for family, let's say two hours a day, that would leave me with 58 hours...if I subtract out eating time, that leaves me with 37 hours...if I keep eating healthy and contribute one hour of exercise each day, that leaves me with 31 hours...if I subtract out the time it takes me to transport my body from place to place, I would be left with 17 hours...If I subtract out an unknown ten hours for unforeseen circumstances, such as a family event, death, or other anomaly, I would be left with 7 hours of actual writing time per week...that makes becoming an expert at writing ten years, if I sacrifice most of my free time.
If I was offered money to write - a grant or scholarship - I could attain my requisite 3,000+ hours within two years by writing five hours a day. This would require a two year writing program, where I wouldn't have to work.
I think this could be my statement of intention for a grant. It is very logical and has good reasoning.
Conclusions: Becoming a bum and sitting on someone's couch and practicing an instrument or writing without getting a job might be the only way for people without a lot of money - trust funds and shit - to actually become an expert at what they do. Next time you criticize your friend for not getting a company job that sucks the life out of them, or doing some menial labor that gives them a small paycheck, but lots of free time to contribute to becoming a master at something, take the time to realize that they just might be doing pretty well in three or four years, once they reach that 10,000 hours benchmark.
If you are a parent, and have reached this post by mistake, but have become fascinated with the possibilities of what this means for you or your children, be sure to encourage your child's passions and offer them as much practice time at their passions to insure that they will be a success at what they do.
If you are already a master at one of my passions above, please e-mail me a lesson.
The Desert Rose