In a 1993 study at the Berlin Academy of Music, Dr. Anders Ericsson found that by age 20 top level violinists had practiced 10,000 hours.

Buddhist monks who have meditated for over 10,000 hours score off the scale for compassion.

It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a chess grand master.

"Around the world, people typically talk of 10,000 hours of training to win an Olympic medal", emphasises Marty Toomey the high performance manager.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers where he observes that the key to success in any field is a matter of practicing a specific task for at least 10,000 hours.

Greatness is about performance and focused attention on something over and over and over - for about 10,000 hours.

Then 10,000 is about mastery.

So when Yusuf Mansur set the goal of 10,000 steps towards a creative economy in Jordan, he wasn't kidding. It's not an exaggeration nor is it haphazard. Getting to remarkable is committed hard work. It's not easy and it's not overnight. It's a relentless, determined and deliberate effort towards an objective. And part of the goal of UrdunMubdi3 is about working through 10,000 steps between where we are today and the creative Jordan we deserve.

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Tags: 10000, dedication, imagination, innovation, resource, steps, work


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Comment by Guido on April 12, 2009 at 7:02am
Greetings to all... I've been lurking on the site for some time as I follow YM writings assiduously... I am now compelled to chip in with my 2c... which is all it's worth really... Y knows what I'm talking about.. :o)

I have to go with Mohanned on the issue of education. What I think would be useful in a first instance is to define "creativity". Essentially, (and regrettably because contrary to the concept of praxeology... but that's another story) you can only achieve an objective if it is first defined in datable and quantifiable terms. I hate myself for having said that but you do have to know what you are aiming for before you can judge whether you are getting closer to your goal or not.

Nonetheless, the word creativity inherently suggests the desire to bring about change in attitudes, actions, thinking or change in the way things are made or delivered.

That being the case, creativity requires a shift in (or the shattering of) the traditions and the cultural and social values of a group or society. That is because "tradition" is inherently and by necessity a routine. Tradition requires no reason. Tradition brings about an action at a given time and in a given set of circumstances. Tradition, needs no justification other than the values of a society. The more fiercely held the values, the more entrenched the tradition.

Tradition is a double edged sword. Tradition is what gives a society its identity and its history. It gives it depth, texture, color and meaning. But tradition is also an anchor. Doing the same thing, at the same time, in a given set of circumstances and for no other reason than it has always been done like that, is not conducive to creative thinking nor, indeed, to developing a sense of personal responsibility. Furthermore, it diminishes the ability to think in abstract terms. Tradition is also closely related to ideology whereby belief supersedes and supplants inquiry, critical thinking, innovation and, once again, stunts the emergence of the concept of personal responsibility.

Thus, two of the most important pillars upon which creativity can be built are the capacity to think in abstract terms and the sense of personal responsibility.

In that respect, I can't see anything that could be more effective than education. If you wish to alter the values of a society, you would stand a much better chance if you start with the younger members.

In that regard, the goal to have a computer in every class room though noble is not useful unless it is accompanied by changes in curriculum and delivery. Failing that, a computer only allows you to do the same thing as before except faster.
Comment by Mohanned on March 17, 2009 at 4:50pm
Thanks for the response.

" You need institutions, planning, coordination, and a host of other things."
Agreed, but most importantly you first need people who can create and sustain all of these things. This is why I said it all begins and ends with education because we need a critical mass of people that will push toward the creative jordan.

On the issue of reductionist, I believe that this is not a valid critisism of the Macro approach to things. We first need to identify the main reason(s) behind our lack of creativeness and from there we can move to the details. Simply starting from the details is something that I as a person don't buy into; I'd rather identify a limited set of variables that can predict an outcome, and from there we can move to the details and the contingencies, keeping in mind not growing our already huge bureaucracy.
Comment by Yusuf Mansur on March 17, 2009 at 12:12pm
Mohanned, I am answering by copying some of your well thought out questions.

You said: In my opinion it all starts and ends with education and HOW WE experience it. Not true: education is only one element in making a creative economy. You need institutions, planning, coordination, and a host of other things. One element by itself does not make an economy. We improved once ICT teaching at one university and then because graduates could not find jobs in Jordan they all went abroad. This is an example of a reductionist approach to research which is not acceptable in research.

But, your following questions are on the right track:
Do we encourage critical thinking? Yes, how? Where are the deficiencies and how can we improve them? Please don't jump to answer with generalities; we tend to do that a lot. Do you know of specific curricula that have lapses that need improvement?

What is the quality of our teachers? Tell us, is it bad? How can it be improved? Do we increase their pay? But what if they remain incompetent? Do we improve their training? But who would accept additional training if not properly compensated for? Do we send them back to school? Who will pay for it, how long and what in? Some of them are second to none, anywhere, how do we keep them from leaving? These are only a sample of the 10,000 questions and answers. Do you have the answer to all of them? Of course you don't. But all of us do.

Let me carry on with your questions:
The quality of our students? Yes, but how? Do we start from the home? This seems to be the right approach. Do we help parents become respectful of critical skills? Yes, but how? Do we improve the school buildings? Reduce class sizes? Introduce playgrounds and labs? Yes; mandate field trips and group work? Yes.

Is it the tawjihi system? I believe the Tawjihi comes 12 years later and it is bad—in my view. What about KG? What about, what about, what about…? What is the alternative? Can we make suggestions here? Yes, what are they? Only dialogue in these thousands of questions will bring them to the forefront. Let me and others learn from you.

Is it the admission policies to universities?


From your questions emerges many additional questions and definitely more answers. Mohanned, thank you! You have come to the 10,000 steps by pondering these questions. Please answer your questions and share them with us. Give it more thought!

Yusuf Mansur
Comment by Mohanned on March 14, 2009 at 4:25pm
While I respect your approach of changing small things I don't subscribe to it as a mean to bringing about the kind of change we need in jordan. Being creative means being able to challenge ones held assumptions, it means a willingness to try new things and we as a country lack this. One then has to ask: How can we change this? In my opinion it all starts and ends with education and HOW WE experience it. Do we encourage critical thinking? What is the quality of our teachers? The quality of our students? What is behind the low quality of teachers? Is it the the Makromeh? Is it the tawjihi system? Is it the admission policies to universities? Is it the lack of accountability? Is it the hands off approach? Is it the low pay that teachers get?

The point is clear in my view: If we want creativity, we need ceative people, we need creative leadership. We need accountability. And most importantly we need quality education and an enviroment that welcomes unorthodoxy.
Comment by Yusuf Mansur on March 13, 2009 at 2:42pm
At the outset, thanks Nadine, yours in my view is one of the best read Jordanian minds. Your breadth of research and selection in addition to the eloquence and clarity in which you formulate your thoughts and findings make an incredible addition to creativity in Jordan and beyond.

It will be a day of jubilation when we can look around us and see that we have changed 10,000 small things, very small things. One need not look beyond the immediate environment to see where the change is needed, and one if and when he or she can change it does enact the change, then the mindset of change itself is an achievement.

In fact, the 10,000 small changes were suggested during a class with Dr Michael Porter, the world renowned strategy guru and Harvard Business School professor, who inspired my current thought paradigm and fascination with value added and competitiveness. His words, 13 years back, have lead to my many writings about changing the small things that could in their collective cripple an economy or prevent it from causing creativity to flourish and become viable.

You see those small things everywhere, all you have to do is observe them, record them, and suggest solutions to them. And if there is resistance, then start a positive conversation, make it a win-win polemic and people will buy into it—the latter I have learnt from the way bloggers keep the conversation alive.

The 10,000 steps need not be couched in smart, nor fantastic upheavals. They can be educated suggestions to remove simple rules, silly nuances, false interpretations, shadowy processes, and any thing that one believes can derail a process from becoming a high value added endeavor. One need not be an expert, all that is needed is an eye for betterment and value added. This is the essence and underpinning of our drive toward a creative economy.

Every one of us knows about the environment in which she works, and every one of us is an expert in what he does and each one must have thought of ways to make it better. No consultant will come from outside and be able to give those 10,000 small changes that are required for making Jordan a creative economy. Let's all share the little things we know and they will become a gargantuan accomplishment, a Creative Jordan. This social network and the blogs we create within it, with a singularity of purpose can become host to all these wonderful suggestions. Even if others don't listen, they will know that we know what needs to be done. They will see what needs to be done, and they will act.

We have put no time limit, because changing a mindset takes decades of hard diligent work. There is no magical formula, only a framework! All that is needed is a creative mindset that sees where the potential lies and sets to organize processes, institutions, and policies to make creative people and industries everywhere in Jordan.

Revolutions of the mind start with simple recognitions, tiny flickers of inspiration, little light bulbs that grow every everywhere to light up the drabbest of structures and convert it into a beacon of enlightenment, a monument for ingenuity, resolve and hard work.

Every time one writes in this network, one thinks of the issue of creativity, and that by itself is an achievement. The road is long, our task is arduous, but so far it has been a joy and a departure from the usual mundane acts of critiquing the status quo. It is great to be able to look ahead and see a competitive Jordan, better still a creative Jordan.

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