Are you the Lean-startup GURU?

Guru-Right“What makes someone achieve true guru status? It sounds a bit grandiose for those of us who’ve yet to become household names with massive business empires. Of course, the great thing about being a guru is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to snag the title. As far as I know, there’s no degree program. You don’t have to work your way up to the moniker through a series of promotions.

Source: Lorraine Duffy Merkl writing on Quartz

But there’s a catch – you need to be a Guru.

I heard somewhere that that it takes ten years to master a skill. I hadn’t read the actual paper, so I tracked it down – here it is:


“How long does it take to become elite at your craft? And what do the people who master their goals do differently than the rest of us? John Hayes, professor of Cognitive Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, investigated the roles of effort, practice, and knowledge in top performers. He studied people like Mozart and Picasso to determine how long it took them to become world class at their craft”.

“Mozart has been called the ‘genius of geniuses’ and even he toiled away for 10 years before producing popular work. You can take the same approach to your work, to your goals, and to your legacy. By combining two ideas — the consistency of ’10 years of silence’ and the focus of ‘deliberate practice’ — you can blow past most people”.

“On a daily basis, this doesn’t have to look big or impressive. What feels like struggle and frustration is often skill development and growth. What looks like little pay and no recognition is often the price you have to pay to discover your best work. In other words, what looks like failure is often the foundation of success”.

Source: The Buffer Blog

Comment: Well that’s all very well, but I’d say that the basis of quality is review, so you need to check with your customers, team members and suppliers whether they agree that you’ve mastered a skill (or what you need to do).

The theory doesn’t take into account the complexity of the skill being mastered – or other variables, such as The Mozart Effect.

Let’s take complexity. Personally, I would consider myself a master at Project Management and Software Development – and these skills were learned concurrently but are no way as complex as composing a symphony.

Or are they? One author said that Mastership is exhibited when tasks appear easy. Well that’s obvious!

But the real world doesn’t see it that way – Mastership can manifest itself in a perceived paradox where the Master is so casual in approach to problems that he/she appears to be less competent than a beginner.

Here is why:

How Your Brain Changes As You Learn a New Skill

“Every time you learn something new, your brain changes in a pretty substantial way. In turn, this makes other parts of your life easier because the benefits of learning stretch further than just being good at something. Learning a new skill has all kinds of unexpected benefits, including improving working memory, better verbal intelligence, and increased language skills. Likewise, as you learn a new skill, the skill actually gets easier to do. Specifically, training resulted in decreased activity in brain regions involved in effortful control and attention that closely overlap with the frontoparietal control and dorsal attention networks. Increased activity was found after training, however, in the default network that is involved in self-reflective activities, including future planning or even day dreaming. Thus, skill mastery is associated with increased activity in areas not engaged in skill performance, and this shift can be detected in the large-scale networks of the brain. Essentially, the more adept you become at a skill, the less work your brain has to do. Over time, a skill becomes automatic and you don’t need to think about what you’re doing”.



Seriously, there’s another point of view. Josh Kaufman (author of ‘The Personal MBA’) debunks the “10,000 hour theory” (aka “ten year theory”).

How long does it take to learn a new skill?

He says it takes only 20 hours to learn a new skill.

If you don’t believe it, watch him play the Ukelele after only 20 hours of practice:

If you already have a skill,
Give yourself a PROMOTION and
Register your .GURU Domain name now.


PS: If you’d like to be the PRINCE2.Guru or the Lean-startup.Guru then contact me to find out how:


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