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Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey All Use the 5-Hour Rule

Source | observer-com : By Michael Simmons

In the article “Malcolm Gladwell Got Us Wrong,” the researchers behind the 10,000-Hour Rule set the record straight: Different fields require different amounts of deliberate practice in order for someone to become world-class.

If 10,000 hours isn’t an absolute rule that applies across fields, what does it really take to become world class in the world of work?

Over the past year, I’ve explored the personal histories of many widely admired business leaders, including Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg, in order to understand how they apply the principles of deliberate practice.

What I’ve done does not qualify as an academic study, but it does reveal a surprising pattern.

Many of these leaders, despite being extremely busy, have set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning.

I call this phenomenon the five-hour rule.

How the best leaders follow the five-hour rule

For the leaders I tracked, the five-hour rule often fell into three buckets: reading, reflection, and experimentation.

1. Read

According to an HBR article, “Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow.”

Oprah Winfrey credits books with much of her success: “Books were my pass to personal freedom.” She has shared her reading habit with the world via her book club.

These two are not alone. Consider the extreme reading habits of other billionaire entrepreneurs:

Want to read books recommended by leaders such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Elon Musk? I created a report that highlights the most-recommended books of 60 top CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

2. Reflect

Other times, the five-hour rule takes the form of reflection and thinking time.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong makes his senior team spend four hours per week just thinking. Jack Dorsey is a serial wanderer. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner schedules two hours of thinking time per day. Brian Scudamore, the founder of the $250 million company O2E Brands, spends 10 hours a week just thinking.

When Reid Hoffman needs help thinking through an idea, he calls one of his pals: Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, or Elon Musk. When billionaire Ray Dalio makes a mistake, he logs it into a system that is public to all employees at his company. Then, he schedules time with his team to find the root cause. Billionaire entrepreneur Sara Blakely is a long-time journaler. In one interview, she shared that she has more than 20 notebooks in which she logged the terrible things that happened to her and the gifts that have unfolded as a result.

If you want to reflect on what you’re learning with others, join this Facebook group.

Read On….

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