There are only two main ingredients that can transform us into world class artists…
1. Quality of Learning Source
2. Ability to Manage the 168
Let’s assume you know all about number 1. quality of learning source- you understand that you must learn from a source that has proven success in others, you have a mentor, blah, blah blah. You can read more about this in my previous blog entry.
As I meet photographers all around the world, I see a common tactical error… We love to attain knowledge, we go to workshops, get on forums, buy DVDs, books, etc. This is easy for us because we just sit back and just receive, but many of us fail in one important area- PRACTICE!! We live in a world where information is so abundant it is like we are bombarded with an exploding fountain of information! We can thank the internet for this. The overwhelming access to info is almost a curse in disguise- we get so caught up creating our virtual photography skill we fail to develop it in real life. Before the Internet, most of our learning came from trial and error and from the monthly photography magazines that trickled through every 30 days. Now we can find almost any type of information in 30 nanoseconds. We are gluttons for information, it has made us fat.
In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell he reasons that the very top achievers in the world like The Beatles and Bill Gates to name a few, only found their success after 10,000 hours of hard work and dedication. I believe it took Thomas Edison 12,000 failures to finally invent the light bulb and I’m sure the list goes on and on.
Well, that is a nice notion but how do we practically incorporate this knowledge? That is why I’ve come up with the 168 hour rule- if we can not practice on a weekly basis, we will never achieve our 10,000 hours. The problem is, most of us have our 168 hours a week already allocated and it is darn hard to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE to make room for getting what we really want in life. I contend that to get anything significant in life, we need to take out something significant to make room for what we really want to do in life. This is no easy task but it might help to see my typical week and how I spend it which might not be too different than yours..
My 168, what’s yours?
8×7=56 hrs – sleep
2×7=14 hrs – eat
1×7=7 hrs – hygiene, getting ready to be seen by the world
4×7=28 hrs – family/driving/chores/Facebook
2×7=14 – TV/sports/movies/exercise
168-119= 49 hours of free time, 10,000 / 49 = 204 weeks, 204 / 52 = 3.92 years to achieve excellence!
I guess if I had the right learning source and I was brilliant like The Beatles, Bill Gates, or Albert Einstein I could have achieved producing at a world class level in 4 yrs but in my estimation it took me longer like 7 years. I did not have the luxury of being under the monthly guidance of a great mentor.
However many of us have a full time job! Let’s say our full time job takes up 49 hours (including commute, travel, etc). How much time does this leave us if we have a family that we actually care about? ZERO!! That means we have to make a drastic life change to get what we want. If I cut down on my TV watching and FB time, I could at most muster 20 hours a week. In this case it would take 9.62 years to achieve excellence!
It is my experience with many who strive to achieve an artistic career only have about 3-4 years before they will give up, run out of money or too much pressure from family etc. THIS IS WHY MOST PEOPLE WILL NEVER ACHIEVE AN ARTISTIC CAREER. If we follow our dream, at some point it will test every fiber of our soul and we will have to make HUGE sacrifices.
What is the best case scenario? Let’s say you are a total loser (I say this in jest) and you have no family, not married, no significant other, no friends and hence no FB and NO JOB. We probably could muster 90 hours a week to devote to our craft and in this scenario if we had the right learning source, we could achieve our level of excellence in about 2.14 yrs! I actually have mentored people who are not losers but in this situation that have done this!! I’m not going to mention names at this point but if you where a part of the OG SR community, we know who we are talking about! LOL! Amazing individuals who sacrificed everything to get what they wanted!
Which leads me to the conclusion that being laid off, single, no family, no relationship and collecting unemployment is the BEST scenario for achieving your dream! I kid, I kid, but perhaps not! LOL!
What does all this mean? It just proves that to get what we really want in life, we have to make fundamental changes in our lifestyle. If we don’t consciously plan our course, our dream will just slip through our fingers and next thing we know life is over. There is nothing wrong with a good life but I’m dedicated to helping those who want the extraordinary life, accomplishing much and giving back our skills of excellence to the world in grand way. I think we all have dreams deep down in us, it is natural- that is why we like movies, sports, tv, a fantasy world we long to live.
What is your 168? Please share with us and make a comment and let us know what your obstacles are, perhaps we can help.