Yes, if you read through to the end of this article, I guarantee that you will have the remedy to almost every trouble, or the magic pill for nearly every problem, there is!
A recent study was conducted on the major league sports in North America which, to those in the know, is a highly competitive and much coveted arena for sportsmen. I did not know the exact probability statistics, but I could afford a logical guess that it took years and years of training hard to even become a contender, and not end up a pretender. Also, to go with the skill, it probably took the slight bit of luck which involved being in the right place at the right time as also to cash in at the slightest hint of visible opportunities.
Now, this study looked at the stars of today and yore – unlike most media paparazzi (the kind that springs up magically the moment these stars get themselves a celebrity girlfriend!), this team of researchers did not cover stardom and beyond but rather went into the making of the stars, so to speak.
Apparently, if you take ice hockey (which is a religion in itself in Canada and significant parts of the US) as an example: the players put in about 10000 hours on the ice before they made it to the major league level. An independent team delved into other major sports and came up with an equivalent number – nearly 10000 hours of practicing and doing what they did, to get to the level they are at!
What’s the magic of this number?
Is that the number of hours of physical activity one needs to put in to get muscle memory at the sport to get to a level where they become the best (or the cream of the lot) at what they do? Read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book: “Outliers” to get more insights into this theory.
Someone who read these research findings came across Bill Gates at an event, and without providing any background to the aforementioned sports research, asked him about how many hours of programming he had done? Before I provide Gates’ answer, let me remind you all that the common perception of Bill is that he was a lucky bloke who made it big in life, when he couldn’t make it through high school! Bill Gates’ answer to the programming question was – yes, 10000 hours!
I have not personally confirmed the veracity of these answers; neither do I have the ‘contacts’ to validate these answers with the individuals in question! But, let’s assume for a moment that these answers were indeed true. What is the common theme to these folks – we can see that it took a lot of hard work; not to forget the ability to sustain one’s focus over a significant period of time. All this, just to have the “chance” to be successful. I am, not for a moment, implying we all need to put in 10000 hours each in our own careers, far from it.
If this is what it takes confirmed successes to earn their livelihood, why aren’t we putting up with something for even a fraction of this time before putting our hands up? Can we learn from these folks, who we and our kids regard as idols?
Patience, as a virtue, is fast losing ground in this current day and age, where it is all about instant gratification. I remember, as a kid, seeing an instant noodles ad on television wherein the primary message was that it was “ready to serve” in 2 minutes.
Figuratively speaking, are we now expanding this to every single avenue of our life?
Traffic jams are a common and even expected way-of-life in major cities around the world today. Knowing and accepting it as reality is one thing, but being impatient on the road is another. Even driving for a couple of hours each day, assuming 250 such days on the road in a year, one would put in 500 hours of driving each year.
Putting aside that the fact that one is accomplishing the objective of getting to / from the place of livelihood i.e. workplace, it would take a minimum of 20 years of driving at this rate, to rack up the same kind of hours that these professionals do to earn their chops. There might be arguments that these folks earn the high salaries they do, and it’s compensating for their hard work, but that’s beside the point. Also, being in a vehicle on the road isn’t nearly in the same boat as these professionals, as far as effort involved is concerned.
We should consider ourselves blessed for what we have, without having to go through the same rigor day in and day out for 15 consecutive years or more (which is what it takes the sportsmen to make a mark) and the sacrifices that go with it.
I am just asking for everyone to exhibit that extra bit of patience in the time that one spends on the road.
To not come across as patronizing, I end this with a confession: I was probably the most impatient person I once ever knew, but I consciously worked on it. Coming back to our behavior on the streets, please take a moment (yes, just a moment!) to reflect on the profound and long lasting effects. I hope everyone can see that our message to the next generation, when we love teaching by example, isn’t coming out as its intended to be. I just took the example of street behavior to illustrate my point of impatience profoundly increasing, but this is just as applicable to each and every aspect of our lives.
If only we could all live by this quote: ”Patience is bitter, but the fruits of it are sweet”, the world will be that much better a place, and we would all have done our bit to make it so!
Image Credit: Perantau Sepi Lodge