200 Hours into 10,000
By now you likely have heard that you need 10,000 hours to develop expert-level proficiency at any task. And the people who often tell you this are past their 10,000-hour mark, so they're comfortable talking about it. But what if you're only 200 hours in? What then? The truth is that it can be a hard and discouraging spot to find yourself in.
Emily & Kung Fu
My kids participated in their first Kung Fu tournament today. I'd never been to one in my life and all I kept saying was that I was thankful it wasn't swimming. This stuff happens only once a year and doesn't take all day – plus it's indoors.
The first person up was Emily, and she had to go thru her forms. As you see her kicking, she can get quite fierce. What you may also notice is that her belt is white. Even though she recently (this past week) earned her yellow sash, she competed down at white.
She's a beginner. She started with Kung Fu not even a year ago. And she's been going several times a week, for more than an hour each time.
By my count, she's about 200 hours into Kung Fu. And she was thrilled to compete today – because she'd heard that first place gets $300. My wife tried to explain that it would likely go to an adult, but she was hopeful.
Do you know beginners like her? That hope for the final prize even though you know how far away they really are?
Christian & Kung Fu
My other child, Christian, also competed today. He's a couple of years younger than Emily but he's been training right alongside his older sister. He's needed that mentor to stay motivated and to learn how to concentrate at a level beyond his years.
In this way, he's skipped what the 5-year-olds do, and has been working at a more advanced level. Simply by working alongside his older sister.
He's only 200 hours in too, but it looks a bit different because he's smaller and younger.
Do you create situations like that, where beginners can work closely with those who are older or have more experience, so they can accelerate their learning?
The Highs & Lows Beginners Feel
My kids ended up with a Silver (Emily) and Gold (Christian) in their initial technique competition. It was the first part of the competition and they were so happy and proud of how well they did.
Then they competed in sparring and grappling and both were defeated soundly.
Do you know beginners who have initial success, which is a huge motivator, only to then experience pain and frustration?
How are you Helping Beginners?
My daughter, after getting slammed by an older and stronger boy in grappling simply said, “this tells me how much harder I have to practice.” And that's when I realized the real power of this tournament. Just 200 hours in, it creates a way to both encourage and challenge people. It's a great measuring stick, but also an aspirational device to encourage.
How are you helping the beginners around you that are trying to learn new skills like WordPress?
Are you creating opportunities for them to evaluate where they are? Opportunities to connect with others and see how far they could go?
Great Resources for WordPress Beginners
My friend Syed runs a site called wpbeginner that you need to visit if you never have.
Another friend of mine, Shawn, runs a site called wp101 that you need to visit—so you can learn by video.
Here's what I know
Different people learn differently but here's what I know. You won't get your black belt in WordPress overnight. It will take time. And to learn something well, you'll need encouragement. You'll need mentors. You'll need lessons on technique and so much more.
So check out these great resources. Because after 200 hours, you'll also know if this is the thing you want to spend 10,000 hours on. And if it is, these resources can help you go the distance.