While on retreat with my family in Maui, one of the books I am reading is a book by Malcolm Caldwell, author of the book OUTLIERS, and before that the landmark book (which everyone should read) THE TIPPING POINT. In the book Gladwell made a point which struck me like a ton of books, as it relates directly with my life experience. He basically outlines the basis of success in life, which I am found to be true, and it is called the 10,000 hour rule. Gather your kids around the computer folks, stair at the computer screen, focus — and GET THIS!
If you spend 3 hours a day, 20 hours a week, or approximately 10,000 hours over a lifetime (about 10 years), focusing on something you are passionate about (the power of the idea I reference in my last piece on the Relevancy of the Silver Rights Movement Today), you will not only be successful, you will undoubtedly be one of the MOST successful individuals in the world today! Period. Full stop. That's it.
Want to be a professional athlete? 10,000 hours.
Want to be the next Quincy Jones, or Andrew Young? 10,000 hours (at LEAST — smile).
Want to be John Hope Bryant and grow your own Operation HOPE into a global presence, empowering people? 10,000 hours. I often tell people that "an entrepreneur works 18 hours a day to keep from getting a job." This is what I meant by that illustration.
Want to be a leading surgeon, or the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? 10,000 hours.
Want to be the best computer technician, in the WORLD? 10,000 hours.
Want to be the President of the United States of America. Commit 10,000 hours, and focus.
When I was with Quincy (Jones) earlier this week, he told me that his formula for success was spirit (passion for what you do and a reason to do it), backed up by a science (how to do it the most efficient way possible, leveraging every possible talent, operationalizing, etc) and focus (a lot of hard work over time). Quincy is saying the same thing here, as Gladwell said above, or referenced in his book. It all connects. I remember that Quincy's son, Quincy Jones, III, or QD3 as he is called by friends, told me that his dad told him, "if you want to be successful, find something you are passionate about, focus, and take your time." Again, it is the same rule, again and again.
Or when Ambassador Andrew Young told me about his friend Martin (Dr. King), and how he gave that "I Have A Dream" speech more than 100 times, before the March On Washington. Dr. King definitely invested his 10,000 hours.
As we all turn the page to our 2009, that should be the question you ask yourself, and your children. What is your 10,000 hour plan? What is it that you are passionate enough about that you will invest 10,000 hours over time, delaying gratification? What is that thing? Whatever it is, my life has confirmed for me, that it works. I have also found out what I am going to be pounding into the heads of the thousands of young people I come into contact with around the 5 MILLION KIDS Initiative in 2009 — "3 hours a day, 20 hours a week, and you can do ANYTHING. ANTHING…."
Find your 10,000 hour plan, and work it. Everyone can be successful, and everyone can change the world. If only, they make the commitment to make it so.
Onward with HOPE,
John Hope Bryant