10,000 Hours vs. 10,000 Times

If my math is right, Seth Godin will publish his 10,000th blog post on Friday, January 23rd, 2026 (not counting some of his older stuff that’s lost to time).

Since Seth posts a blog every day, he will have done it 10,000 times over 10,000 days. How long is that? 27 years, 4 months, and 23 days. That’s a lot more than 10,000 hours, a number popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers as “the price of success,” although that’s not quite what he said.

Still, Seth himself argued that 10,000 hours is anything but a guarantee: You can kick a ball towards the goal every day for ten hours, but if you don’t observe and change how you do it, you won’t score any more points three years later. The Olsen twins, meanwhile, were famous before they had done so much as 1,000 hours of acting to begin with, let alone acting practiced deliberately.

“In many mature markets, it takes 10,000 hours of preparation to win because most people give up after 5,000 hours. That’s the only magic thing about 10k… it’s a hard number to reach, so most people bail,” Seth writes. A lawyer might put in 20,000 hours to make partner, but if a creator finds the right blend of flavor, voice, and target audience, she can blow up after 100 videos or less.

10,000 hours is about five years of working 40 hours a week, not counting vacations. Even if you double it for good measure, most people put in that kind of time over the course of their lives. They don’t all dedicate it to one skill in particular or even one specific job, but the math and its message remain the same: Unless you get focused, 10,000 hours might not do as much for you as you’d want them to – and that brings me back to 10,000 times.

When you do something every day for 30 years, you’re not doing it to extract some measurable result from the world. You’re doing it because that’s who you are – and that makes the kind of thing you can do 10,000 times the much better choice for your career, life, and happiness.

Why intellectualize a question your gut already knows the answer to? Why deviate from nature’s path to host a decade-long science experiment? Start with what feels right, and then walk that road as far as you can go. Is cooking still fun after 2,000 meals? Have you not run out after 500 vlogs? Well, great! Keep going!

It might take 10,000 hours to find the thing you’ll want to do 10,000 times, but at least those hours are guaranteed to be well-spent – and who knows? Maybe you’ll need much less than that.

Whatever it is, whenever you’ll find it, it will be then and there that your life’s work truly begins. I can’t tell you to what magical places it’ll take you, but I know that by the time you hit 10,000 iterations, you’ll long have forgotten to count – and that’s worth more than even the shiniest of trophies.