What Is The 10,000 Hour Rule?

“You do not have to take my word for it. Put this theory to the test.”—K Madhavan Pillai

“You do not have to take my word for it. Put this theory to the test.”—K Madhavan Pillai

This article was originally published in October 2014.

I am not enlightened enough to give you advice on life. But I can certainly give you some perspective on photography. This rule is actually rather simple. It takes approximately 10,000 hours of dedicated and focused practice to become an expert in absolutely anything.

In other words, if you practise a certain type of photography for three hours a day, it will take you ten years to achieve the status of a master on the subject. Or, with six hours of committed practice everyday, you could be known as one of India’s best photojournalists or portraitists or travel photographers, in about five years. This, in my opinion, is great news.

For those who think that 10,000 hours is just too much, you could try to apply the 1000 hour rule instead. This slightly modified rule states that 1000 hours of practice could possibly get you to the top 10 percent. Unlike many of the other arts, serious practice of photography can yield satisfying results much faster.

Moving to the top one percent, though, would take another 9000 hours. You do not have to take my word for it. Put this theory to the test. Simply step out of your house for a one-hour walk with the intent of capturing beautiful frames. Do it for a week. At the end of it, if you are not a better photographer, write to me and let me know.

Of course, any practice needs to be thoughtful and deliberate. It must be done with an aim to learn more and do more with every passing hour. I must give credit to my father-in-law for telling me about the modified 1000 hour rule. He, unlike me, is an enlightened soul. The original 10,000 hour rule was developed after a lot of significant research by K Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, USA. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading theoretical and experimental researchers on the subject of ‘expertise’.

Tags: better photography, USA, Editorial, editor@betterphotography.in, K Madhavan Pilla, K Anders Ericsson, 10, Florida State University, how to become the best photographer, 10 000 hour rule