My New Book, The 10,000 Hour Rule, Called to Take Risks, Focus vs. Busyness, & More

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Dear steward,

Here’s your weekly roundup of resources and insights to help you on your journey to becoming a more productive Christian.

Just two quick updates before we jump into this week’s Roundup.

First, I have a new book coming out next month!

It’s called Well Done: A Strategy for Life Stewardship. I just got the author copies last week. And for an author, nothing quite compares to holding the physical product of all your hard work in your hands.

In this book, I do a deep dive into the Bible’s theme of stewardship to show how having this mindset is one of the best ways to cultivate a life of faithfulness in every area.

The book comes out July 18th and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Second, and speaking of books, I wanted to draw your attention to a lovely review of my other book, Redeeming Productivity, on Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary’s blog.

If you haven’t read the book yet, this review will give you a good idea of what it’s about. I would love to be a part of your summer reading schedule :)

Alrighty, let’s dive into the Roundup!

In Today’s Issue:

  • The false promise of the 10,000 hour rule
  • When You’re Called to Take a Business Risk
  • Talking productivity on a new podcast
  • Quote: Focussed attention vs. busyness
  • The myth of a balanced life

The best links I found this week

The false promise of the 10,000 hour rule (5 mins)

Anne-Laure Le Cunff / Ness Labs

You’ve probably heard of “the 10,000-hour rule” before. It’s the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a field. It’s said to apply to mastering an instrument, a sport, or any other specialization. But as Anne-Laure points out, this rule isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

”maybe the biggest problem with the 10,000-hour rule, there is absolutely nothing in the study that suggests that anyone can become an expert in any given domain by putting in 10,000 hours of practice, even deliberate practice“

Last month I read the book Range by David J. Epstein, which Anne-Laure cites in this article. And I was struck by his thorough take-down of this popular mastery rule. It turns out the 10,000-hour rule only applies to a very narrow field of specializations, specifically ones with very simple rules.

The big takeaway, for me at least, is to not be so rigid in focusing all my attention on one field of expertise. But instead, to read broadly, follow my curiosity, and aim to be well-rounded. And ironically, this general proficiency tends to make you better at your given field because you are able to incorporate other ways of thinking and analogize from other fields better than someone who focused entirely just on a narrow field of expertise.

As Epstein says in the book:

“In complex and unpredictable environments, generalists are more likely to thrive because they are more comfortable with uncertainty and have a broader repertoire of skills to draw upon.”

One example for whom this insight is particularly useful is the pastor. A minister who reads only books on theology and ministry might feel He is giving himself to mastering His craft. But he may actually be underserving himself and his congregation. In contrast, the pastor who reads more broadly in genres like biography, science, and other domains will bring a broader spectrum of experience to his study and ministry (not to mention better illustrations).

When You’re Called to Take a Business Risk (4 mins)

Greg Phelan / The Gospel Coalition

Enjoyed Greg’s thoughts on risk in this article. And it applies to more than just business.

“Many of the pursuits God calls us to—whether starting a business or a ministry or a family—entail risk. Whenever we choose to live sacrificially, we risk things not working out.”

If you want to read more on risk and Christians, check out these 10 thoughts on taking God-glorifying risks, I wrote earlier this year.

Into Books” Podcast Interview (45 mins)

Manuel Chukwudi / Into Books

I was on a new podcast this week called “Into Books.” It was a great conversation in which we went deep into the theology and practice of personal productivity for Christians. I think you’ll enjoy our discussion, especially those of you who have been missing the Redeeming Productivity podcast.

Quote of the Week

“The opposite of busy in today’s world is sustained, focused attention. It is deep engagement in activities that really matter to us, or in conversations with those we care about. It is taking the time to think, to amble and to plunge into the moment. It is to be found in the way we use our attention, not time; in how we think, not produce; and in how we engage, not acquire.” – Tony Crabbe

New on Redeeming Productivity

The Myth of a Balanced Life (9 mins)

Everyone wants a more balanced life. But is balance really what Christians seeking to steward their lives for God should look for?

Well Done Workshop (75 mins)

Last week I hosted a free workshop on creating a Christ-honoring vision statement for your life. You can watch the whole thing on my YouTube channel.

Morning Routine Planner

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A practical guide to creating a Christ-honoring morning routine.