Tag Archives: The Outlier

What Bill Gates Has Taught Us in Becoming A World Class Expert

Photo credit: Wikipedia (Common)
Photo credit: Wikipedia (Common)

Probably you’ve heard about how Microsoft was founded. Two guys dropped out of college, started a company in 1975 and became billionaires after. Simple, isn’t it? But that story is just a tip of an iceberg.

In the book of Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Outlier”, reveals that Bill Gates and Paul Allen had spent more than thousands hours of programming practice before founding Microsoft. Gates had started programming at a very young age when computer was rare and so expensive that only the elite could afford it. Since his house was near to the school, Gates would sneak out  at 3am to access the computer inside the campus and practice coding until 6am, then went home  to catch several hours of sleep before going back to school for his classes. That’s how he lived his teenage years. He was so dedicated and disciplined enough that by the time came to launch Microsoft, they were already experts. They were experts because of applying the 10,000 hours rule.

The 10,000 Hours Rule

I thought it was just a normal figure, but after reading  Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outlier, this number now bears a significance.

He says the in order for us to become world class at something we have to spend at least 10000hrs of practice honing and developing our skills.  Many people  become successful because of this rule like  Bill Gates, Bill Joy, the Beatles and many more.

How does it work?

Let’s do the math. Ten thousand divided by 24hrs is equal to 417 days or one year and two months. This is the amount of time you need if you want to achieve mastery in any given field.

Let’s have an example. Let’s say I want to be world-class writer. However, I have a daytime job. But, I can spare at least two hours every day just improving my writing skills. How long will take me to reach this goal? Let’s compute it.

10,000 hrs /2 hrs per day = 5000 days

5000days/365days per yr = 13.79 yrs

Therefore, after 13.79 yrs, I will become a expert in writing. So, easy right? I’m just kidding. That’s the reason why few people reach the top because they are so disciplined and radical enough to start at a very young age. Bill Gates started programming at a very young age. Same with Bill Joy and the other successful men and women all over the world.

Do you apply the same principles in any areas of your life?

How about in your work? Or in your personal growth?

One of the few regrets in my life is that I learned about this when I was already working for many years. If only I had known it earlier while I was still a student, I could have achieved more. But, it is not the end of the story because no matter how young we are, we can still begin again.

There you are, the 10000-hour rule.