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I find it remarkable how fast we get used to a certain way of thinking and acting. And once these things are in place, it´s pretty hard to get rid of them again. If you´ve ever tried to replace an old habit with a new one before, you know exactly what I mean.

The cozy comfort zone says hello, because we like to defend nothing more that our beloved routines. So it would be pretty useful if we could acquire a few strong habits for success.  How do you like the thought of your ideas, decisions and actions supporting you, instead of holding you back? If you were so good in an area of your life that you are regarded as a sought-after expert by your environment? The good news is: This is possible. The bad news: It takes a lot of commitment, stamina and the unconditional desire to make your personal New York a reality.

Who do you want to be?

As always, it starts with a decision. Who do you want to be, what do you want to achieve and which area do you want to be an expert in? Let´s imagine you want to become a successful entrepreneur. Then the most important thing is to acquire the corresponding mindset, the necessary knowledge and the required skills. Depending on where you stand today, it should be clear that such a development doesn´t happen from one day to the next. Especially not if you are currently still working at an office job that you have to devote eight to ten hours a day to.

How long does it take to until you become a true expert?

But how long does it take exactly, until you become a true expert? Malcolm Gladwell has figured out an easy to remember rule of thumb in his book Outliers – The Story of Success.

“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.“

Of course, talent always plays a certain role as well, but, in conclusion, this rule of thumb coincides with the experiences I made in my own life, and the life of hundreds of businessmen, executives and managers.

So let´s do the math. A year consists of exactly 8.760 hours. If you weren´t doing anything but work on the subject of entrepreneurship, you would reach your goal in a little more than a year. But you still have to sleep, have a family, a job, hobbies, friends and other obligations. You´ll quickly realize that 10.000 hours can be quite a lot. But please do not give up before you even get started.

All you need is one hour a day

My contention is that you can still become a master of your trade, if you have a fulltime job, a family and obligations. All you need is one hour a day. Sixty minutes. 3.600 seconds. During this time, don´t do anything else. Just commit yourself completely to studying your subject of choice.

“But, Ilja, where am I going to find a whole hour in my schedule? It´s just not possible!“

Trust me, if your personal dream is big enough, if you really want to achieve it with every fiber of your being, then you will find a way to free those sixty minutes. It´s all a question of priorities. If you need a few ideas, cut out evening television, the countless Facebook visits or the never-ending game of Candy Crush on your smartphone. When you start weeding through your day to cut out unproductive time wasters, you will find a ton of other possibilities.

Before you know it, you’ll be an expert

If you decide to get up an hour earlier, take some time out in the middle of your day or work extra shifts for your personal New York after the day is done, the important thing is that you say to yourself, I´m just going to do it! and then get started. To get back to our example, take one hour to do nothing but commit yourself to the subject of entrepreneurship, without distractions, but with one hundred percent focus. Many people do not have the slightest clue how much they can get done in a single hour. For example, you could…

  • Study a textbook
  • Get inspired by the biographies of successful entrepreneurs
  • Watch DVDs or online courses
  • Work on your technical skills
  • Read blog posts, scientific papers or newsletters about the subject
  • Talk to like-minded people about the subject
  • Write down your ideas, thoughts and plans in your change journal
  • Make a business plan

And so on. The possibilities are truly endless. The more you immerse yourself in the subject the better you will get. The result: Your motivation inevitably rises and your focus starts to shift. You start getting things done, and, through that, you give your life a purpose. Before you know it, you´ve completed the 10.000 hours and are considered a true expert.

Let the change begin!


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