“Only practitioners (or people who do things) tend to spontaneously get the point.” -Nassim Taleb
The commonly accepted maxim of Malcolm Gladwell’s is that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill.
Perhaps it’s time that for that figure to be updated.
Mastery Is No Longer a “One and Done” Process
In today’s constant-change world, everything from the workplace to the economy to the digital landscape is in a continual state of progression and evolution. Mastering your industry or field is no longer a matter of obtaining a static skill set after a set period of practice.
Rather, it’s a process of always learning — not just building a skill set, but regularly updating it to keep pace with the times. You must dedicate several blocks of 500-1,000 hours (often simultaneously) to mastering new platforms and technology as they emerge within your field of expertise.
This new brand of mastery, one of continual learning, only serves to further set apart those who truly are masters from those who only have a surface understanding of an industry or field.
Pros Create Unique Opportunities
For example, let’s say your client is a small business in need of leads to build a unique new industry for itself. The way you will approach and solve this problem will depend on your level of expertise.
If you’ve only read an article or two on the subject, or you’re just a casual user of a social media platform, network, technology or tool, the lens through which you view this problem will be wildly different from the lens of those who have dedicated hours upon hours to tinker, risk, launch and execute plans to embrace and leverage the opportunities that exist to solve this problem.
It’s the difference between an amateur or hobbyist and a pro. Businesses want (and need) pros. Because pros have the ability, through their many hours of experience and practice, to see things amateurs cannot. The “how” evolves everyday, which means an extremely high degree of specialization is required to master the tools, technology and integration needed to solve problems and make things happen.
The emergent strategy in business demands that you connect disparate pieces to create value and solve problems. The lens the technology gurus, artists and pros possess allows them to envision what’s possible, to uncover opportunities and see connections others don’t. This lens awards exponential growth, not just ordinary math.
The more you develop your knowledge, the bigger and more visible these connections become to you. And when you have more connections to draw from, you’re able to create new value and opportunities others only dream of.