How long does it take to acquire a new skill?
If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book Outliers, you might have heard the number “10,000 hours” floating around. According to Gladwell, who was referring to a 1993 study published by the American Psychological Association, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert.
But that number has largely been misinterpreted, according to Josh Kaufman in a TED talk he gave in 2013. The key word in Gladwell’s book is “expert.”
It doesn’t take 10,000 hours to learn something. It takes 10,000 hours to become a tip-top performer in a highly competitive field. That 1993 study was looking at professional athletes and world-class chess players, not people who want to learn how to play Taylor Swift songs on the guitar. (And thank goodness, because most of us don’t have that kind of time.)
The real key to learning something quickly is to take a deliberate, intelligent approach to your learning. To help you get a better sense of what that approach looks like, check out the 10 steps outlined below.