1000 Hours

What can you do in 1000 hours? You could: write a novel, knit a giant blanket, draw a portrait, compose some music, torrent a couple of blu-ray movies, learn a new skill. The last one is the reason for this post.

You may have heard the song “Ten Thousand Hours” by Macklemore in which he describes the grind he’s been going through to become a successful rapper. He references the idea originally put forth in author Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book “Outliers” (some of you IB folk may remember reading it) For those of you who haven’t read his book (I highly recommend it, great read), Gladwell talks about his “10000 hour rule” which basically says that to become truly great at something requires roughly 10000 hours of practice.

So what am I babbling about with this “1000 hours” nonsense? Well, young one, Gladwell’s 10000 hour rule really applies to only those who are considered “elite”. These are people who are not only good, they are damn good at what they do. These are people like Tom Brady, Viswanathan Anand (World Chess Champion), Yo Yo Ma, Eminem, etc. This is what Mackelmore aspires to be in his song, he wants to be considered “elite.”

English: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performing at...

Macklemore, yo.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I, however, don’t. While the idea sounds great, the grind involved in trying to become the “best there ever was” (*cue Pokémon theme song*) is not really worth it at this point. If you hold such lofty expectations for yourself, more power to you. I instead came up with a different system. The goal of my system isn’t to become a master at a particular skill, but merely to become proficient. I use “proficiency” in a vague sense here, that is to say that I will ultimately decide whether or not I have become satisfactorily proficient at a skill. Like the title of this post suggests, I reason that 1000 hours is enough to become proficient at something. I neither have the attention span nor the dedication to seriously apply myself to a select skill for 10000 hours so why not become just proficient in a whole bunch of things? I’d like to be able to play an instrument, draw stunningly realistic pictures, develop apps for iOS and Android, etc. Putting 1000 hours into something is still challenging given my self-imposed time frame of a year. It works out to about 2.8 hours a day, but one must realize that 1000 hours is in approximation, just as doing something for 10000 hours isn’t a guarantee of success (as I’ve found out trying to beat God of War on God mode), it is just an approximation. That being said, my goal is to amass a wide variety of skills, have fun while doing so, and perhaps even discover a new hobby/interest that I never knew  I had. For now, I plan on doing this for 10 years. In 10 years I hope to become proficient in 10 skills. More than likely, one or two of these isn’t going to work out but who knows, it’s all about the journey…or something along those lines.

Now comes the question: what should be the first skill I attempt to become proficient at? Well that is something that I currently do not know, but I have until January 1st, 2013 to decide! Suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. I will try to document my struggles as best I can/want to. If this is something you think want to do, then do it. I don’t care.

Humor, Life

3 Things I’ve Learned While Working At Smashburger

Before I begin the actual content of this post, I must say, it’s surprisingly nerve-wracking thinking of what to put as the first real post for a blog. It seems like the first blog post is a statement that dictates to people whether or not your blog will be worth reading. Then I realized that I could care less if you don’t want to read my blog just because my first post isn’t up to “par”. Anyways, I digress…

Like a lot of you reading this post, I have a job. Like a lot of teenagers in and just out of high school, my job is at a fast-food (well, more of a fast casual diner) joint. Therefore, many of you will be able to relate to these observations I’ve had about people at Smashburger. Now, I’ve only been working at Smashburger for a few weeks but my long shifts and numerous interactions with people have still allowed me to pick up on a few things like…

1. You Can Really Predict the Orders of People Just By Judging Them As They Walk In

Thanks to the corporate team at Smashburger, they have developed a menu that caters to wide variety of people. If you want your burger with bacon and anything else we have that can fit in a deep fryer, we can do that for you. If you’re a tree-hugging vegetarian, we also have a wide variety of menu items to cater to you as well. So when I’m bored at the register, I’ll often play a game with myself in which I predict what people are going to order based on my assumptions of them as they walk through the door.  The overweight mom with 4 kids clinging to her and whining for food is not going to want to hear about our signature salads, they’re going to order the greasiest, cheapest things we have on the menu. The man that just parked his semi truck out front could probably care less about the Black Bean Vegetarian Delight burger, he’s going to want the BBQ, Bacon, and Cheddar Burger. The soccer mom who just came from yoga is almost guaranteed to want to order the Chai Tea if I mention that we have it. It was quite surprising the number of orders that I was able to predict just by judging people. I’m still trying to decide if this a good or bad thing.

2. The Best Orders Are From the People That Base Their Order on Their Diet

Now, I’m not talking about people with dietary restrictions e.g. gluten-free, lactose intolerant, etc. I’m talking about people who come to a BURGER joint and try in vain to stick their “healthy eating” diet. For example, everyday I’ll take the order of middle-age women who are a little on the husky side but you can tell that they’re trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle. They’ll order our regular signature burgers but substitute the regular buns for “whole-grain” buns which somehow deludes them into thinking that what they’re eating is any healthier. I amuse them anyways and substitute the bun while thinking to myself “Honey, you really think that bun is gonna make your grease-bag burger (which is still very good I might add) any healthier? Oh that’s cute”. In what I consider to be a jokingly manner, I’ll ask if they want a salad on the side and to my surprise they’ll say “yes and with extra ranch, bacon, and blue cheese”. Stunned, I repeat the order to them, “So you want a greasy-half pound burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried chillies, and guacamole on a WHOLE WHEAT bun with a side salad?” in a vain attempt to somehow make them realize that their efforts are pointless. The answer is always “and I’ll have a diet coke with that too”.

3. Fat People Will Never Like You

First off, this is not necessarily true for EVERY fat person. I’m restricting this to people that fall under the category of “obese to morbidly obese”, and again, this doesn’t apply to everyone in this category and this observation may be due to my limited exposure to these people. From the various encounters I’ve had (I’d estimate around 30 or so) with these sort of people, they always seemed to be pissed off when ordering. It’s as if I’m an obstacle to their instinct to just walk into the kitchen and start munching down on the food. As such, they’re usually a dick about their order. One guy questioned me as to why I didn’t alert him to the fact that you can put a SECOND half-pound burger on your burger and then he told me that I should learn to be more knowledgeable about our menu. Maybe I didn’t tell him that because no one decides the one patty is enough. Apparently I was mistaken. Hopefully my perception changes as I work more but wow, a lot of these people are very annoying.

UPDATE: In hindsight, glucose isn’t “basically the same thing” as gluten. Fixed.