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Origami Paper Folding Techniques

Once upon a time, someone told me that if you can make one thousand origami paper folding crane within a year, your wish will come true.

“One thousand?” I asked. That’s an expensive price to pay just to have your wish granted, isn’t it?

Well, not really. If you look at the task from a different point of view, that’s equal to less than three origami paper cranes per day. If you can fold three every day, you’ll finish one thousand before the year is over. And you will be an expert in origami paper folding, you know, the 10000 hours rule and stuffs.

origami paper folding cranes

The One Thousand Origami Paper Cranes Journey

The real question is, will your wish really come true? I tried to find out the answer and live up to the challenge back when I had all the time in the world. I failed. I stopped after a few months at the count of four hundred something. The reason: there was no more paper to fold. (And everybody was complaining about the piles of cranes that invaded their space 🙂 )

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The 10000 Hours Rule – Simple Science of Success

I was at the beginning of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” – an excellent read, highly recommended – when I heard about this so-called “The 10,000 Hours rule” (the 10000 hours rule). Scientific researches to successful figures reveal that to prepare someone for THE opportunity that one day will come, he or she should master the necessary skills. And to master a skill, the person should already have gone through a minimum 10,000 hours of practice. That amount is roughly equivalent to a 3-hour of practicing the craft every day for about ten years.

While the number might scare off most people, there are several things that we should remember:

  • First, ten years is nothing compared to the rest of your life.
  • Second, you can shorten the number of years by adding the number of hours you practice every day.
  • Third, you’ll gladly do something that you love for hours daily. So it’s important to focus on a skill that you like or try to enjoy the things that you do.

10000 hours rule jump

That being said, ten years of three hours of daily practice is still ten years of three hours of daily practice. This explains why only those who had the determination and able to focus on something will be successful, while those who jumps around from one thing to another will likely fail. Talent and Intelligence are just a small part of success and matter only up to a certain level.

The Irrelevant Number of 10000 Hours Rule

But where do the 10000 hours rule figure come from? Is it even scientifically legitimate? Well, in my opinion, whether or not the number can be proven with science is irrelevant. The important thing is if you want to be able to do something well, you have to be willing to spend your time and effort to practice it. And if possible, get a coach to refine your way to your goal.

Even those who are lucky enough to be born with the so-called talent won’t get anywhere with their talent if they never use it. But if you put your heart into something that you do, talent or not, you’ll get somewhere.

10000 hours rule sidewalk-painters

The Tale of the English Class

I teach English to non-English-speaking students, and many of them often ask me how long it will take for them to master the language. I always answer them with this joke. “I know someone who can speak English fluently, and he’s only three years old.”

And my students, mostly teenagers and adults, would ask, “Really?”

“Yes,” I said. “He’s British.”

Their answer would go more or less like this, “That’s cheating. The British speak English all the time.”

“My point exactly,” I concluded with a smile.

10000 hours rule students

Some of them would get it; some others won’t. But the message is clear. You won’t get anywhere if you are only willing to practice a skill twice a week for less than two hours each time. That’s the schedule of their English class.

To master a language you have to use it all the time. You have to go beyond the 10000 hours rule.

Change Your Story

To put the story into your context, change “English” with any skill that you want to acquire (origami paper folding, for example) and adjust the other elements of the story accordingly. For example, ” I know someone who can play the piano like a master, and he’s only ten years old. He plays piano all the time, and not just once a week for a half hour.”

In the 10000 hours rule perspective, this ten-year-old pianist might have practice way beyond the so-called required time.

10000 hours rule music

Bruce Lee once said, “I’m not afraid of a person who practice 1000 kicks one time, but I’m afraid of a person who practice one kick 1000 times.” Or in this context, 10000 times.

That’s why they called him Master!

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Getting Old On The Road

I’m not a commuter. Not anymore – thank goodness. But my wife is. Every day she spends few hours to go to work and another few to go home. If we do a short calculation, multiplying the hours she spent every day on the road and the number of days she’s been doing that – almost fifteen years, we can reasonably say – as my friend put it – she’s getting old on the road.

Traffic Jam

Wasted Time, and Money

Curiously, I did the calculation and came up with an amazingly annoying result. So far, the number of hours she spent on the road  – only for going back and forth to work – equals to more than two years. If a person spends those amount of time to practice classical guitar, for example, he or she would be a world-class classical guitar player. Another way to see it is this: if my wife’s hourly working rate is only a dollar, she has lost about twenty thousand dollars on the road. And the number keeps on growing every day.

What about people who spent twenty or thirty or more of years of their life commuting?

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Featured self hack

How to live 30 hours a day

distortion of time

One of the most popular quotes about time is “Time is Money”. The meaning is simple: time is valuable. You and everybody else in this world have the same share: 24 hours everyday. No more no less. You waste it, you lose it. It won’t come back. Ever.

The funny thing is, there are times when you feel a day last longer, and there are times you feel the other way around. Some people struggle to find more time to be able to finish their works, yet some seems to have too much time that they have to struggle to find things to do to fill their seems to be neverending supply. It seems as if time were stretch-able.

Well, is it stretch-able? Can we get extra time? Can we lose extra time? We’ll let the scientist answer that questions as they are too complicated for us common people. Time is one of the most abstract concepts in human life – along with love, afterlife, alien life form, angels, and the thought that Zune can outsell iPod.

But scientist or not, everybody knows that time flies when you really enjoy what you’re doing, and time crawls when you feel the opposite. So, if you want more time, try to hate everything that you do. :). Kidding!

But if you want to get ‘bonus’ time, say, six more hours everyday, you could try this following self hack.