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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!

Twice!

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.

 

 

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Writing

Work Write Balance: Writing with a Heavy Workload

Sorry about the title, I couldn’t decide between that and “the write balance…” they both seems equally good-in-a-bad-way to me.

Having recently taken on a second job at a small Parisian startup, I find that I have increasingly little time for myself and my writing/reading. The natural solution would be to not have two jobs – I only need one so why should I torture myself? Well I happen to like them both and, thank God, both involve writing. One job is all writing and the other is around 1/3rd writing. But it I’m not always writing about things that I want to write about (however, I have discussed how this kind of writing is good for you anyway).

Regardless, this work now takes up the vast majority of my time. And that means all my studying, reading, exercising and writing are now crunched into a much smaller amount of time. Add to that that I am exhausted during this time off and you can see how my writing might drop off in both quality and quantity. The only way around this is extremely effective time management. I am blessed insofar as part of my job involves writing – this is not the case for every aspiring writer. However despite this cushioning, I have found myself cutting things out of my life that I used to think were necessary. Things like reddit and other social news platforms. Platforms that can draw one into endless and wearisome debates about Trump and Clinton (the irony being the interlocutor often ends up not even being American!).

It’s not just about giving up time wasting activities; if careful, one can continue to add activities so long as he holds to a routine. My workouts  just had to move forward and had to be much more anal about punctuality. I’ve had to be more anal about everything, really. And this is the key. Having a big anchor like a job compress the rest of your time can, in my opinion, cause you to get more done in the other spheres of your life. Now that   structure is required, you structure everything.

So if you start to structure your life this way, writing won’t be a problem. You have to make time for it by cutting out the things that you know you don’t need to be doing (and oftentimes they are things that you don’t want to be doing, you are just doing them out of habit and that is all). Do you really want to be on pinterest? Or do you want to be writing? Would you rather be a great pinterester or a great writer?

Another thing that I have been doing is being harder on myself insofar as producing results. Work is a results driven environment, I have to turn in to turn in results at specific times and the results have to be good.

And that is the theme here, the more of your life that you treat as work, the more you will get done outside of work.

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