Thursday, June 11, 2009

Paradigm Shift Required

In Malcolm Gladwell's new book "Outliers" he examines the difference between talented piano players and merely competent students. The explanation is extraordinary players are not in fact "gifted" but have practiced much more. He asserts, 10,000 hours of polishing is required to shine in your chosen field. He gives several more examples of people who've spent 10k honing their skills. You can probably think of some as well, like Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Paul McCartney....

10,000 hours is Wow!!! That's 3 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 10 years!

My question is, does a balanced lifestyle including, career, exercise, walking the dogs, charity, gardening, friends, family, and most importantly spending time with my wife, mean i can never be more than a jack of all trades concerning my passions of real estate investing, photography, and painting?

If the hours in the day that remain after the balanced lifestyle is my spare time, are there 9 hours a day to devote to 3 hobbies? Maybe if i don't sleep.

If i want to keep all three hobbies, I'm going to have to compromise on the hours in the day devoted to each field. This is the frustrating conclusion. It's frustrating because i know i'd be much better at any of the three things if i wasn't spending time on the other two.

Lately i've been spending more time painting. The reason is to replace works that are selling in the silent auction to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Since i've been painting more, it's obvious my skill is improving. I'm over the moon that my painting is better. It's tremendously rewarding, and yet the exciting part is i haven't even made a dent in 10,000 hours of painting. I can't imagine what my artwork will look like in 10 years.

But of course, because i've been painting more, i've been shooting less. That means my photography portfolio isn't growing, and that income stream isn't growing. Income aside, as a photographer, i'm also stagnating. New lighting techniques, compositions, equipment and special effects aren't being mastered. A growing, yet neglected list of people who want to be shot is frustrating.

What If i spent more time looking for great real estate deals? What would that mean? Probably i'd find more sweetheart deals. Looking for and analyzing deals is something i really enjoy, and besides the fun aspect, there are pretty big kickbacks that are hard to ignore.

One creative option, might be to focus exclusively on buying real estate and retire early, and thereafter shoot and paint to my hearts content. If gardening and watching hockey are sacrificed now, the timeline to retire could be even shorter. If i stopped wasting time walking to work and stayed awake longer drinking espresso coffee every night, who knows how short i could make that timeline to retire and start painting? On the other hand, maybe after 10 years of no gardening, no hockey, no walking and staying up late drinking espresso, i won't feel like painting. Maybe i'll just feel like sleeping?

Currently i'm prioritizing the balanced life, and all three pastimes. It may be impossible to achieve 10,000 hours in 10 years for any hobby by keeping all three, but hopefully i can find happiness long before shining in my field. Perhaps all i really need, instead of an extra 6 hours in the day, is a paradigm shift. To focus attention on the joy i've found in the first few hundred hours investing, shooting and painting, and not how very far i am from being 10 years older.

No comments:

Post a Comment