I just finished this book called ‘Outliers’ by a fantastic author, Malcolm Gladwell and it really got me thinking. The book is primarily about how there is no such thing as raw talent, only people that are fortunate enough to get the opportunity to spend more time doing one particular thing than everyone else.
He goes through example upon example of geniuses like The Beatles, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc. etc. to prove this point. The point is that success is a matter of time, effort and a little bit of opportunity thrown in. Meaning, we really have no excuse for not becoming who we want to be.
One thing from the book that really stuck in my head is the concept that in all these cases, the average amount of time that it takes to create an expert is roughly 10’000 hours. 10’000 hours..that’s it. Being good at something isn’t some intangible aspect of genetics, it’s a matter of time and experience. The truth is that if you want to be one of the best in the world at anything, the number one hurdle to your success is simple – you need around 10’000 hrs up your sleave.
A lot of you will be probably be thinking that this is actually a significant amount of time (it’s around the same amount of time if you worked full-time for 1,250 consecutive days). However, if you are one of the fortunate people in life that has ever had a dream of becoming someone exceptional in a particular field, you would no doubt be willing to give that time up in a heart beat.
So what does this have to do with drinking?
Just this – If you drink excessively for 6 hrs straight and you do this just 3 times a fortnight from the age of 18 to 28 (which is a very, very conservative figure), that means that you will actually have been drinking for 4,680 hours.
You will have spent half the time it took Mozart to become ‘Mozart’ or Jordan to become ‘Jordan’ or Woods to become ‘Woods’. You’ve spent that time becoming… drunk. Painful thought isn’t it? And this isn’t even taking into account the time we lose to hangovers!
Let’s look at it in a different way. I’m going to make the educated assumption that, like me, you are likely drink to excess predominantly for the perception that you are going to achieve one of the following things;
a) For romance and sex
b) For friendship/family
c) To escape
So, if you are my age, 22, all up that’s around 2000 hrs spent on trying to basically achieve these three things! Holly shit! So I ask myself – ‘in that time, has drinking made me any better at any of the three things that I was drinking for?’
a) I honestly think I was more confident at picking up girls (the ones I wanted to anyway) when I was 15.
b) I now see about ¼ of the friends I used to now I’m not drinking, so what does that say about most of my friends?
c) My mind still looks for things to escape from (although I am much more aware of it!).
So, the answer is a definite – NO. I can attributed to drinking very little growth in any of these areas for the past 6 years!
The good news. The last three months I have consciously spent this previously ‘wasted’ time doing things that I want to improve upon, learning what works and what doesn’t work for me. It’s been awkward and confronting but I can notably, both physically and psychologically, see massive learning’s in all these areas of my life. It’s incredible how much we can change in a short amount of time.
2000hrs is simply too much time to have already spent cheating my dream of what I want to achieve in my life. It feels really great to finally be able to acknowledge that. 🙂
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Awesome post! I love how you are taking this issue on from so many angles. You should be very proud 🙂
Thanks Maddy! Would love to get another article from you when you can…
One of your best Christo!
An eloquent piece, illustrating some very valid points. I’m finding your blog fascinating.
Thank you very much.
What is your personal experience around drinking?
“An expert is roughly 10’000 hours. 10’000 hours..that’s it. Being good at something isn’t some intangible aspect of genetics, it’s a matter of time and experience”
Moral of the story: Stop drinking because that is time you could spend working on develop your mind, body, sould. A type of ecstacy and bliss is much much sweeter than the taste of Passionpop.
And discipline. If we had 6 billion people all spending the time the spend out of consciousness (using violence and drugs to separate from each other), then throw that time into going from scratch, with no assumptions and learning how to love each other better – what do you think would happen?
Fantastic post, Chris. You’re really getting to the heart of the issue now: drinking as an excuse, to dodge responsibility and reality.
Just found the blog, this is amazing.
I know that I personally drink more than I should but have also had extended dry spells though nothing like 3 months.
Starting to drink seems like a rite of passage for most Australians, a step closer to being an adult and growing up. But for you it’s only by stopping drinking that you’re getting a far greater advantage in personal development.
I totally agree with you Ned. I guess it’s like quitting smoking then leaving a pack of winie blues on the table. Control of choice is essential to personal development and the formation of a strong identity.