The 10,000 Hour Rule, Video Games, Entertainment, and Opportunity

Yes, this article is going to cover a lot of ground and probably not very thoroughly.

The 10,000 hour rule is a concept that Malcom Gladwell came up with to explain the amount of time necessary to attain mastery of a sport, subject, or art. 10,000 hours of practice would, in theory, allow anyone to reach a near professional level. This translates to a little over 3 years  practicing 8 hours per day.

This seems like a lot now, now consider this – the average American adult spends 5 and a half hours watching video content per day. That is, the average adult lets 1/5 of their day, and a large percentage of their waking day, goes to complete waste. With three years of watching the Simpsons, Seinfeld, or playing League of Legends you could have mastered an ancient language, become a painter, or, if you split up your time, you could have become proficient in several languages or other skills.

Maybe you are starting to see what I’m getting at – entertainment is taking up more and more of or time but it is getting simpler and simpler (and, admittedly, more realistic looking in some cases). Look at Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Pokemon Go, really any Nintendo game, the majority of modern blockbusters (I mean we remake the same super hero movies over and over and over).

We no longer read, go to the theater, or do any number of things that might have passed as entertainment and but were also intellectually stimulating. This kind of degeneration can even be seen in music. In point of fact, it is probably most obvious in music. Much of modern art and literature fits the bill as well – I mean Young Adult literature as a genre is a joke.

All this time wasted on episodes forgotten and video games quit after 40 hours of play (and let’s not forget the 60 dollars to be spent on the next 40 hours), it’s all absurd. Think of all the opportunities lost, the things that could have been learned, how much more intelligent each of us could be in three years time if only we didn’t sit around as endless consumers of media. Media for which we are paying!


You pay first with money, then with time. And what do you have to show for it? In this age of pornography and video games one can sit around and feel as through he is some kind of sex king and next an undefeatable magician? These are things that people are extremely unlikely achieve in the real world. So why even try?

But they could achieve incredible skill that, while perhaps not so impressive as conjuring fire, are still extremely awe inspiring. Perhaps the worst part is that these people spend their lost time doing these thing in their youth! At least go outside, good Lord. What will they have to show when they are 30, work 9 hours per day, and have a kid? They will have far less time to study, learn, and practice… but even then I’d hazard most will spend that time in a similar manner. Less hours but a greater percentage of free time donated to this onanism.

As VR becomes more mainstream, even greater numbers of people are going to drop out of society to live out their fantasies. It lines up well with our current culture – personal happiness is the ultimate good, why not take the easy route there?

If the 10,000 hour rule is to be believed – one could become a near master artist in several mediums, a writer, and a polyglot over the course of a lifetime. A true renaissance man.

Everyone has the potential and the opportunity – information is more widespread, accessible, and user-friendly than ever. It’s just a matter of will.




Go – A Game for the Ages

Go (Baduk in Koreq)is one of the oldest continuously played games in the world. Originating in China and coming to the western world through contact with Japan, Go is a strategy game like no other. It is simultaneously one of the simplest and most complicated board games in existence. The rules can be learnt in less than ten minutes but its was the last game to fall to an AI; AIs have been beating the most skilled Chess players since 1997, but only recently has an AI been able to beat world class go players. This is largely because Go has many, many more possible moves and many, many more possible responses than games like Chess. This is because the stones can be placed anywhere on the board that is not already occupied by another stone.

The rules are simple: stones can be placed on the intersection of lines on the board (as opposed to Chess and Checkers where you place the pieces on the squares. The stones cannot move once they have been placed – this is critical. The goal of the game is to gain territory – any intersections that are surrounded by your count as territory – and whoever has the most wins. It is usually played on a 19×19 board but the board vary from 9X9 to even bigger than 19X19, however such games could last a LONG time.

This is a slightly simplified explanation but if you can read the full rules here. It is far simpler than Chess or Checkers and you will likely be enjoying a game within ten minutes of reading the rules. However it will take a lifetime to master. The Japanese, who generally take Go the most seriously, start training as children and after weeding out the majority, those that show promise go live with a master and study for hours per day. The masters do nothing but train students and play Go; Soseki (a Nobel prize winning author) wrote a wonderful book about an old Master’s last game called The Master of Go. so if you’d like a look into this ancient system, read it.

This is a game I play more or less every day, it kills time like a video game but actually increases your problem solving ability.

Here is a wonderful website for playing online.