Saturday, 17 September 2016

Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters

Lyrics:- 'Looking for something help me burn out bright' - Mendel, Grohl & Hawkins

Song Choice:- I thought this track from the Foo Fighters would highlight my thoughts on learning today. It's a great track and I love Grohl's attitude to music in never giving it less than 100% - a man after my own heart...

Anyway on the subject of learning, you might have come across the concept that if you give something 10,000 hours of your time, you'll master the skills needed to become an expert in that field. Simplified, Malcolm Gladwell's famous theory says that people aren't born geniuses, they get there through effort, something I totally get. Vince Lombardi's famous quote 'The man on top of the mountain didn't fall there,' only adds fuel to the argument. However, there are folk out there that just love to point out the anomalies to the 10,000 hour rule for some reason, highlighting people that have succeeded without putting in the necessary apprenticeship. I get that too but there are always those that have natural talent. Some of us have just worked really hard at things...

I reckon I've done my 10,000 hours of running over the years and I'd like to think I'm an expert. It certainly helped me in achieving my Guinness World Records, yet it hasn't made the fastest runner or won me any Olympic medals. It helped my enjoyment yet I could have been better and maybe that's where I got it all wrong.

Looking back, I could have invested some 10,000 hour chunks into playing a musical instrument, learning a foreign language or even learning to fly. Having tried all three, when I was younger, I quickly found that on setting out on the learning process, I was light-years away from where I wanted to be and promptly gave up. Maybe you've been there too.

Yet I've got it right without even knowing it. Looking at life in general there are areas where I've obviously clocked up the hours and hadn't noticed. Driving is one of them and thirty years on from passing my test, I would say I'm an expert. I'm sure like me, you've driven miles on automatic pilot without a care and a million miles from that first jerky driving lesson perhaps.

You see it all comes down to experience and there's no substitute for investing time in something you want to succeed in. If you believe in the 10,000 hours' theory, maybe becoming an expert at something will actually take you a lot longer than you think. However, don't be downhearted as investing even half of that will get you to a really high skill level, so there's hope for us all.

It might be worth a thought on where you could invest your time for the better... I can still learn loads I know, what could you learn?

More later...

Rory Coleman
976 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 13 Marathon des Sables

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