The Road to Mastery: The Rule of 10

There’s an old joke that goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”


“Practice, baby, practice!”


The same principles apply to building your skills in any endeavor:  The more time and practice you put in, the better you’ll get. 


But I advocate taking this a step further and following what I call ‘The Rule of 10’ — that by committing to making a project 10 times, you’re well on your way to mastering it.


I stumbled across this premise accidentally while doing some charity sewing. I made my first self-binding baby blanket and really liked it – but sadly the first one took me 4 & 1/2 hours. So I committed to making 9 more of them, both because of the needs of the organization as well as wanting to improve my skills and get faster. 


With the self binding baby blanket, key skills include precise pinning, keeping your seam very straight while sewing, and leaving a 1/4″ gap in the corners of each seam to allow for mitering the corners. The latter is not a typical skill I’d encountered, so I struggled with it my first few blankets. But then something amazing happened – I got the knack of it and now have developed mastery of that skill (as well as now being able to make a blanket in under 90 minutes.)  


What’s important about the ‘Rule of 10’ is not just the number. It’s about taking a moment after each project to assess what went right, what could have gone better, and give yourself a little kudos for areas you’re improving in. 


So remember, while practice might not make perfect, it does make for ‘progress’! Every project repeated with an eye on strategic assessment and skill-building moves you further down the road towards mastery (as well as a rung up the ladder of skill-building success!)