“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers : The Story of Success
I have been working for close to 30 years now (o siya, medyo malayo pa pero “close to” seems a nice phrase to use) and I am not sure if mine is a successful career. To me, those years do not mean a long time —- as I see them as days just stringed together to count the many, many times that I tried to be good at something. Supposedly, though misquoted, Malcolm Gladwell was suggesting that it takes about 10,000 (let’s agree on 10K if I need to mention it again) hours to be good at something or even an expert of some kind.
Having a math (read = don’t think much of this) background, I tried to figure out the 10K rule vs the time I have left on this good ol’ planet. Do I still have time to be any good at something, other than my job? Before we leave this paragraph, allow me to clarify that I don’t think I am an expert in my field of work. Modesty aside, I will say I am just an above average worker, maybe a bit more dedicated than others. That’s just about it as far as my job is concerned. End of story.
This is my short list of things I think I can do well — given 10K hours of practice:
1. Writing. About. What?
2. Crochet. This is a sentimental option. I remember my maternal grandmother to be good at it, making one bedspread after another. Perfectly. (I wonder where mine is. She gave each one of us when we moved to our second home. I am on my fourth home now and thought that a crocheted bed spread will be nice to have). Low chance of being good at it though, judging from my early works in high school. I pull at the string too tightly so everything turns “curly” and I curse a great deal while doing it (Damn you, shell! Why can’t I make even one nice and even one?!).
3. Cooking. Just one dish. Does friend chicken count? It seems to be considered as “fast food” these days. Unless, it’s going to be a big hit like the Colonel’s recipe, then forget it. I love the thought of a family member saying this when I am long gone: I miss Home’s Fried Chicken. I like the way it looks on her green plates (Or does friend chicken look better on red or yellow plates? Sorry, not on a printed plate, please. The stress should be on the chicken, not the plate.) What about home cooked lechon? Oven size? Now that can be a factor to consider.
4. Tutorial. I used to teach. I think I still do at work (I said enough about work, but I have to mention that I do that at work. I said stop it. Now! OK, stopping now.). I think I can start to do part-time work as a tutor. Will teach Math? No, I mean arithmetic. OK, maybe Algebra (What again? Did you not learn your lesson yet? Yeah, just arithmetic. Are you thinking Kumon? ). This is at best, a good Maybe. Not a very firm Maybe.
5. Barista. What’s the age limit for this? Does anyone know?
This is a short list. I categorized this post under The Colors of Life … I want to add another one to my rainbow.
Any suggestions, Ground?
P.S. I worked on this piece for about an hour. So am I now looking at 9,999 hours left for item 1?