In an hour, you can read enough on a subject to ask casual questions about it.
In ten hours, you can study a subject enough to ask serious questions, or hold a serious conversation about it. Ten hours is also enough of a margin to teach a class to students ten hours behind–as long as you keep refreshing that margin.
In 100 hours, you are beginning to actually understand a new subject.
In 1000 hours you can be an expert in most subjects
In 10,000 hours most will consider you a master of your discipline.
These are just broad statements, but if we accept them (for the sake of discussion) it leads to some simple truths.
- The process of human evolution proceeds best from our basic survival needs “upward” or from the heart outward. NEVER from concepts or “spirit” “downward”. So your first step is to master hunting and gathering, basic sexual and security needs, etc. This is your foundation.
- Equally important is love, beginning with self, and then extending to others. This cannot happen healthfully if we do not feel secure, and love battles with fear…so I think that it is safest and most intelligently “conservative” to work on both at the same time. Ten hours of heart-centered meditation will give you the ability to touch that sacred place inside yourself, and begin the process of healing.
- Whatever you choose to do professionally should either be something you love (enough to study it endlessly) or you need to have your values so clearly defined that doing something unpleasant is considered a sacred duty, and therefore a joy. I don’t think many men enjoyed going down into the coal mines, but if they had CLARITY that doing so allowed them to support their families, it all makes sense and is worthwhile.
- Success comes from “second attention”–the peripheral rather than the “foveal” focus. For instance, if you concentrate on being the best writer you can be, study and work like a demon, you will get better. With either a little luck or careful planning, you can also get enough commercial success to supplement or replace your income. With a LOT of luck, you might do very well indeed, in money and/or critical recognition. But the money cannot be the primary focus, or you lose your connection to the creative impulse and become a “hack”. The same thing happens in many other arenas: love, health, fitness, and so forth. THE RESULTS ARE SECONDARY. YOUR ACTIONS ARE PRIMARY. And your actions are driven by your focus and emotions.
- These primary actions must be UNDER YOUR CONTROL. Your emphasis is: did i do it? Did I keep my word to myself? Tell the truth about this, even if only to yourself.
- Design a program that will take you to your goal in 100-1000 days. The question is: “if I do X every day for this period, will I reach my goal? Yes? Begin. No? Re-evaluate, study more successful people, refine my map.”
- If the answer is “yes”, if you kept your word to yourself for 100-1000 days, then the only question is one of gathering the resources to allow you to do this. Usually, these will be emotional resources: dealing with fear, confusion, negative voices, depression, conflicted values, etc. So part of the “work” is outer (doing things) and part is “inner” (cleaning out your mental/emotional closet, healing yourself, silencing or balancing the negative voices, etc.)
- THIS is the great strength of the “sentence a day” technique. (And the “Machine”, so recently adapted to screenwriting) NO ONE cannot write a sentence a day on any logical basis. By reducing what must be done to such a small “dead minimum” you are confronted, in micro-form, with every excuse you have ever made for not exercising, meditating, cleaning your house, finishing your book, writing that film. Your ego will fight like hell, but you’ve flipped over that flat rock, and can look directly at its lies and barricades. The voices that tell you “no” can be revealed for the tinny, cowardly lying vipers they are. The jealous, needy, childish remnants of a “you” you may have left far behind–and NEED to if you would fulfill your dreams and live life fully.
- You have to complete the “Hero’s Journey” in order to move to the next level. Every day, EVERY SINGLE DAY is an opportunity to do this, if you have defined your goal and path properly. All you have to do is win TODAY. Did you do what you said you’d do TODAY? The “Diamond Hour” concept is this: defined properly, you can meditate, exercise, goal set and write a page of fiction in a single hour. Then if the rest of the day gets away from you, you still win. And in 1000 days? You’ve written at least two novels, are in good shape, and are balanced in your heart.
- This is a secret. To do TODAY what can be done today. Not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow with “foveal” vision, but keeping them in sight “peripherally”. All action, joy, and aliveness is in the present moment, in “today.” Every day a new opportunity, every day a new commitment to your own dreams. It takes planning. It takes a willingness to own your own life. Do this, and fear, guilt and limitation dissolve. All of your attention is on the joy of becoming, or of service to those you love. There is no higher life.
And NOTHING, nothing at all, is more important than living your life, in your terms, according to your own deeply held and considered values.
One day at a time. Will you win today?