10,000 Hours to Become an Expert

The saying, “You don’t know, what you don’t know” sounds like gibberish but is rather insightful.

However, this simple statement contains an inherent danger for us.  The trap is that when we don’t know something, we tend to oversimplify it.  Take golf as an example.

If you watch a golf pro hit 18 tee shots on a Sunday afternoon, there is a tendency to say, “What’s so hard about that?”  What you don’t see is the thousands of practice swings the pro executes every month to make those 18 shots on Sunday look effortless.

HR POINTER: To watch an expert do something, is to observe the simple acts of mastery of a subject or craft that took years to perfect.  The mistake that we make in watching a master is to assume that we know far more about something that is often far more complex than we ever imagined.

Part of this oversimplification on our part can be attributed to the fact that search engines have brought the world of knowledge to us.  We Google something and think that we have fully grasped the nuances of a subject like Marketing, Employment Law, Interviewing, etc. because we have searched a dozen websites on the topic.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Outliers: The Story of Success,” states that it takes about 10,000 hours of work or study in a given discipline for someone to be so accomplished that he/she “makes it look easy.”

The next time you are faced with a Human Resource or any other business decision that “looks easy” and you are tempted to go it alone or Google an answer, think twice and consider calling a pro.

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