Learning a new skill can yield immediate benefits whether physical, mental or even both depending upon the skill. It can also open up new opportunities for personal and/or professional growth. Developing and mastering those new skills, however, takes time and resolve. Contrary to decades of advertising, very little can be gained in “10 easy lessons” or “20 minutes a day for 30 days”beyond mere introduction.

Some research suggests that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of study or practice to hone a new skill. That equates to three hours per day, 365 days per year for a little over nine years.

This idea, however, is not new. Miyamoto Musashi writes about this during the middle of the 17th Century in The Book of Five Rings. Even before this, the craft guilds of medieval Europe gave rise to a hierarchal learning system that became a basis for modern higher education.

Learners began as an “apprentice” and depending upon the system are required to complete a minimum of seven years of training before moving to the “journeyman” level. To achieve the next level of “master” one could be required to complete more years of training, create a ‘masterpiece’ or both.

Essentially, the only real boundaries for developing a new skill are time, proper practice and the mental obstacles that the learner places in front of themselves.

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