It's not often, even when visiting a school, that I'm invited to lunch in the Teacher's Lounge. And before this week, I didn't realize that could be a good thing. But, maybe it is...
You know that old adage, "Eavesdropper seldom here good of themselves"? Well I was sitting there chatting with teachers at one table while behind me another table of teachers discussed my mornings presentation. How do I know? Because, as a self proclaimed committed eavesdropper, my ears bent back and cranked to high as soon as my name was mentioned. Anyway, here's what I overheard, read it in your envy-greenest disdainful voice: "She said she only writes for two hours a day--blah blah blah--I wish I only had to work two hours a day . . .
On the way home, that night, the next morning, and after, unlike any other school visit, ever, the only thing I could recall was that teacher's comment. It bothered me so much I told Curtis about it. "What should I have told them? A lie?"
A few days later, sweet Curtis sent me the perfect response by way of an article from the Natulus blog entitled:
Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too
Many famous scientists have something in common—they didn’t work long hours.
In the article, ALEX SOOJUNG-KIM PANG (author of REST and THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION), explores how many acclaimed scientists, scholars, thinkers--i.e. Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman--spent very few hours doing deep work--2 to 4 hours a day in fact doing their "important work."
While the "10,000 hour" theory, Malcom Gladwell expounds in his book The Outliers (originally put forth in a study of outstanding violinists), holds true, in order for the 10,000 hours of practice to be fruitful, it only counts if those are hours of "Deliberate Practice," capital D, capital P, as in practice that is "focused, structured, and offers clear goals and feedback; it requires paying attention to what you’re doing and observing how you can improve."
Turns out even the most gifted, committed students aren't capable of more than, at most, 4 hours of Deliberate Practice.
What's more, (and what is especially reassuring) is how, along with focused deliberate practice, these outstanding practitioners also sleep more! But not at night. Turns out, these great thinkers and doers nap. Capital N-A-P!
I'm sharing this in case you, like me, have been called "Slacker", or worse. May (as I do) called yourself the same, all because you (like me) can't or won't keep your butt in the chair for more than a few hours at a stretch. Take heart!
And, Give Yourself A Break!--Lots of them!