According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, there is a 10,000-hour rule for mastery. The idea is simple: The key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for roughly 10,000 hours.
The theory is based on a study by Anders Ericsson, and Gladwell uses The Beatles (among others) as an example. From 1960 to 1964, The Beatles performed more than 1200 concerts in Hamburg, Germany alone, proving that they had to have amassed at least 10,000 of live playing time just in those four years alone. So, no wonder they were incredible live, musical performers. They had met the 10,000-Hour Rule.
I started thinking about how this rule relates to dirtbagging.
The way I see it, a dirtbag has three essential skills he or she must master:
– Scrounging food
– Climbing on anything
– Finding free gear
Add to those the willingness to sleep anywhere (a skill I naturally inherited from my father), and a person is capable of dirtbaggery.
Unfortunately, Everyday Dirtbags like me (rather than full-time dirtbags) have to work. I have two jobs – teaching and writing – and I don’t get much dirtbag practice time. This past week was an especially busy work week, and that made me curious.
So the following list is moments from this week in which I practiced dirtbagging in an effort to fulfill my 10,000 hours to “Masterful Dirtbaggery” (all times being my best estimate):
– Climbing at the Crux Rock Gym (1-hour)
– Making and eating sandwiches made of old meat and cheese that no one else would touch (two days in a row, four sandwiches – 30 minutes)
– Climbing on my garage woody (1-hour)
– Climbing in the school climbing room (20 minutes)
– Finding a toothbrush in the hall – it looked new (5 seconds finding it, 7 minutes brushing with it)
– Scoring, saving for days, reheating, sloughing the topskin off, and drinking multiple cups of coffee from Monday’s meeting (30 minutes)
– Searching through the lost and found (20 minutes)
– Finishing other people’s food (20 minutes)
– Finishing a half-gallon of Odwalla orange juice that a kid handed to me (2 minutes)
And that’s what I’ve got. Too much time working, and not enough time climbing. Yet, I still earned 4 hours, 9 minutes, and 5 seconds towards my 10,000-hour goal.