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December 09, 2008


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Early Retirement Extreme

There's actually a whole classification scheme. It really does fairly accurately reflect relative competence.

10000 hrs: Expert (superior proficiency, a designer capable of original and extraordinary work)
3000 hrs: Master (proficient mechanic and capable of almost any task)
1000 hrs: Journeyman (competent technician, capable of independent routine tasks)
300 hrs: Apprentice (some skills but can not be trusted to do independent work)
0 hrs: Novice (something any reasonably intelligent layman can do)

In the educational scheme, these are known as high school, associate, bachelor, master, and phd level. These hours are active learning hours. Mindless repetition does not count towards the total. After all, I have spent more than 10000 sleeping but it was all much the same. Rather it is the degree of effort that is needed to distinguish one level from the next. You will note that it is logarithmic which is an interesting point! The next level would be at about 30000 hours! That level is reserved for the Mozarts and Gallileos of the world.

If you have 10000 hours to burn, I'd like to throw out the idea of learning ancient Greek or Old English.

See e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L7VTH8ii_8

Philip Brewer

There's actually been quite a bit of research on developing expert performance. I talked a bit about it in this post:


Retired Syd

@Jacob: Well at age 45 I hope I've got a LOT more than 10,000 hours to burn! Seems like I could get really good at quite a few things.

As to the ancient Greek or Old English, since I haven't actually READ the book yet, I can only presume that actual interest also accounts for a fair measure of success :)

@Phillip: As you have done before, you have led me to a very well written and thought out post on the subject--thanks!


Coolness! I guess intense practice really does make perfect. Best wishes on your endeavours (spelling? sorry!).


Of course you do!

At 1 hour a day, 365 days a year, it would take 27.4 yrs. Double that learning time, and it would be 13.7 years. Add another hour and it would be 9.13 hours.

And, you get to take the extra day every 4 years off!

I discovered your blog yesterday and am enjoying reading it.

Retired Syd

walkinwood: Thanks for visiting and especially for your comment!

Alan Spector

Relish the journey.
Alan Spector
--co-author of Your Retirement Quest (www.YourRetirementQuest.com)
--author of new release, Body Not Recovered (www.aaspector.com)

nancy tolan

I am a recent retiree and I too enjoy your blog! I hope you keep writing it! Thanks for your openness and down to earth approach. By the way you look terrific for 8 years in and you look lovely in bold black and white outfits - judging from your pic. Keep having fun and sharing with us!! Thanks, Nancy from New York.

Retired Syd

Nancy: Thanks for your nice comment and ESPECIALLY about the bold black and white. A bunch of my friends and family have been pestering me to wear more COLOR. I've ventured into pink and plum, but really I'm way more attracted to the black and white geometric prints. So maybe I can just wear what I want now?

nancy tolan

You look awesome!!! I just read your earlier blogs and wow you retired so young!!! You sound like you have it all together and are a very intelligent woman! I retired in 2015 at age 55. I am loving it more and more! Looking forward to more updates. Best, Nancy

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