Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good!

practicing is the key

Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.

Malcolm Gladwell

The other day I was reading the book “Outliers – The Story of Success” written by Malcolm Gladwell. The book is one of the best to read if you are interested in learning more about what sets some of the most successful people apart from the rest of us.

The book also had its own share of controversies and arguments with people arguing and commenting about the “10,000 hours” quote from Malcolm in the book.

Here’s what he has said in the book –

To become a chess grandmaster also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fisher got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.

Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers – The Story of Success”

People read a little too much into words rather than understanding the crux of it or, keeping the context of the conversation in mind.

Anyways, my objective is not to get into the controversy. We can keep that for some other time.

The key for this discussion is “10,000 hours”.

Does it really take 10,000 hours for somebody to perfect a skill and to be successful?

Since the onset of the creator economy and all of the social media channels, everybody is on a quest to make it big as an influencer.

And there is a very simple formula to follow which is what most such aspirants follow.

“Emulate a successful influencer and try to repeat what he has been doing.”

Everything is fine until this point.

But where it goes wrong is when you set aside everything else that you should be comparing, like the quality of your content, the originality, the value, etc., and start comparing success metrics.

Only if you had followed him/her when they started you would realize that they have put in hours and hours of effort to become what they are today.

I still remember during my early days, I was an ardent follower of Brian Clark and his blog Copyblogger. I emulated him to such an extent that I even designed my blog using a similar color palette as Copyblogger.

I tried to emulate his writing style even but it didn’t come through as it should have.

Funnily enough, I had reached out to Copyblogger about 15 times (if my memory is right) with guest posts, but not once was my content accepted.

There were multiple reasons but all of those were somehow related to the style of writing.

Today when I look back at those articles, I realize how poor my content was.

Brian had spent years and years writing and hours and hours practicing, to reach where he had reached. And I was trying to reach there in a few months.

Thankfully for me, I didn’t get into that comparison mode and quit.

I persisted and wrote again and again. I wrote for online magazines, article directories, blogs, guest posts, and whatnot.

I might still not have spent 10,000 hours writing and I know that my writing might not be the best.

But what mattered to me is that I was able to tick off hours from that target of 10,000 hours (not literally but you understand the essence?).

Writing and content creation in all of its forms is a practicable skill.

How much time you put into practicing it will decide how well you are able to fit yourself into that “creator economy”.

But then don’t misunderstand “practice” with practicing offline. Instead, it is about doing it online.

Keep creating even if nobody reads it. Keep writing, recording, editing and publishing. Every hour that you are spending doing this is bringing you closer to success.

Remember, 95% of people creating content online don’t make more than a few hundred dollars.

And you know by now, why?

On Twitter

I am a firm believer that if you are not a consumer of content, you will never be able to become a content creator. If you are interested in consuming content, here is a thread I wrote about 7 podcasts that can help you with content marketing.

I think this tweet perfectly complements the discussion today –

News that will Interest You:

  1. In a series of closures, Libsyn Studio is the next one after Sounder. For people who know about Libsyn Studio, they had a powerful recorder that was part of the FREE ad-supported hosting. They are now closing down the hosting but are merging the recorder into their premium plans.
  2. Last week, I received an update from Acast (my podcast hosting platform) about a glitch in the download data that was being triggered by some update to the Samsung app. Though the downloads were considered completely legitimate as per IAB standards, Acast called out that they won’t be considering them for the purpose of serving ads. Now I hear that Samsung is updating its free podcast app to address this issue.

From the Podcast:

I got a message from a listener the last month asking me if my podcast crossed a million downloads.

That triggered me into thinking how much of an importance we give to these vanity metrics – subscribers, downloads, followers etc.

But does having 1 million followers mean that all of those 1 million followers watch my video?

Question worth pondering. Isn’t it?

Anyways, the last week I released a slightly controversial episode on another of these vanity metrics – Apple Podcast reviews and ratings. You might like it.

Episode – 84: Why I stopped asking listeners to review my Podcast on Apple Podcasts

Articles of Interest:

  1. This article of 3 email marketing examples to engage your podcast listeners is a good read, especially if you are confused about how to use email marketing in podcasts.
  2. This article about the 5 questions that you should ask before starting a podcast is an interesting read, if you are really planning on starting one.

“The reason we struggle with content marketing is because we haven’t started with ‘Why?’ Customers don’t care about your vanity metrics. Ask them, ‘How can I help?’”

– Kristina Halvorson

Recommended Reading:

  1. Unstoppable Self Confidence – A lot of us have that feeling of just not being enough. We feel as if we aren’t really what we are meant to be and we don’t really feel good about it. If you are one of those, then this book by Andrew Leedham is one that you should read.
  2. Outliers – The Story of Success – In this book, Malcolm Gladwell looks at some of the big names in various industries and deciphers the code behind their success stories. I absolutely enjoyed reading it and I am sure you too will.

That’s a wrap for this week.

I hope you enjoyed this edition. If you have any questions or, comments you can post them here.

Do recommend the newsletter to people who you think will enjoy it.

Until the next time,

See ya all,


About the author 


Dilip is a Podcaster, Blogger, and Affiliate Marketer. He hosts the show, "The Podcasting University" among others and is a content marketing fanatic!

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