Monday, August 30, 2010

10,000 Hour Rule Post-Divorce

The high performance literature tells us that you have to work hard to excel. Recently popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, I think it’s useful for considering the post-divorce learning curve.

Although the 10,000 hours rule is discussed as several hours a day over 10 years to build a business or master a sport, I think it's a good post-divorce rule.  Consider that you practice being a divorced person 24-7. Or at least during your waking hours. Okay, quite possibly while you’re asleep as well. By my calculations, it would take just a little over a year to be an expert. How long do you think it would take to be a talented amateur? I’m thinking it would take only half that time, give or take.

High performance requires a few things which I think are relevant for excelling in your post-divorce life.

1. Pursue your passion. You’re divorced, so being single better be your passion, right? Embrace it.

2. Develop and focus on goals. Breathe, exercise, meditate or do whatever you do to create and focus on your goals. You may have a goal of the day (e.g., getting through this day without snapping at anyone) or a goal of the week (e.g., getting me out to socialize two times) or a 6 month goal (e.g., finding a new house or job).

3. Pump yourself up. Music, fist pumping, dancing or getting a pep talk from a friend, all serve to get you excited about your goals and go for them.

4. Develop routines. Athletes, performers and creatives all have routines. They help us focus, stay on track and waste less time. If I deviate from my getting-ready-for-work routine I’m sure to forget my watch, take too long to get out of the house or otherwise start the day in a bit of a frenzy. Make new routines and follow them.

5. Use affirmations. I think I can I think I can I think I can. You can! Tell yourself in whatever way that works for you that you can do this, and you can do it well.

6. Take breaks to renew. Sometimes you just need time alone. No commitments, no plans, maybe just a good book or a few movies. But not for too long. It’s just a break and then you get back to your routines and goals.

208 days is not so terribly long. That’s my prediction for how long it can take to achieve talented amateur status in the post-divorce world.

Pump up with Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae

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