True Love: By The Numbers

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Gladwelli has suggested that we can only find mastery, of any subject or skill, if 10 thousand hours are devoted to the mastery of the task.

However, if it truly takes 10 thousandii hours to master anything; that has some serious implications, across lifespan, which have thus far been overlooked. Most apparently: It means that, after sleep, one has units of time with which to achieve mastery (Mu) for approximately only 50 itemsiii, before likely deathiv.

That is including relationships of merit.

Let us assume no death tomorrow (which we best not, but are gonna…), and give all a full life (by the numbers).

And let us further assume a contemplative focus brought to bear on only every other moment, which is generous. Add an inclusion in that of 50% of the Mu, mastery potential units, spent in unfocused revelry or misspent on lost endeavors.

That leaves 25 Mu items (+-5 for conservative error).

1 Mu for standard schooling (and a few of the above misspent items, perhaps). 1 Mu to become practiced at your work, x 5 Mu for life time career changes. 1 Mu for being sick or burnt out for a while, at least. 5 Mu or more for family. 1 Mu for guitar or something similar (we all do at least one). 1 Mu or more for higher study, depending on level of specialty (& a few more of the above misspent items, almost certainly).

Depending on how you scored on the above measures – that leaves between 11 opportunities to master honest relationships of merit, in a LIFETIME, at the HIGH end; and only 6 or so opportunities otherwise.

Three Mu for the first half of life, three Mu for the second.

And it is further requisite that the people you invest in are matching your own contemplative investment focus, on said friendship, at that particular time.

Even if you find out relatively early on that they are not so devoted – you do not get that time back. And every moment you let pass without such a dynamic unfolding, equates to having less chance again of ever achieving love; just by virtue of running out of time.

And this assumes one is never sick longer term, such that attention and possibility further falter.

And that none of the Mu opportunities over your life, that you are actively working with, ever die.

And that no Mu’s are half spent – if it takes 10 thousand hours, you simply couldn’t quite make it work on a partial Mu; even with “the one”.

It also presumes you are actively onto it at age “0″. This is arguably overly demanding, despite it being so important a task.

None the less.

Be all that as it may: is there in existence a sole sober agent, of reason and sound wits, that dare say unto me, verily, that the active pursuit of such a lofty, idealistic social contract is incorrect? The wrong position from which to begin to explore the nature of the other?

Or, conversely, that following the normative draw into a wedding, that takes 10 years to get out of, and adds an ineptly planned for child or two* (*not that we do not love them), is ever objectively correct?

Or, more completely, that assuming one’s base print for anything is correct! Surely it is best that each view taught to us be challenged, and quickly! As can following any norm be a reasonable investment, before they have been questioned and explored to satisfaction of self? And an ever changing self at that!

I am no longer certain if this position gives us more power over our own destiny, or less! It is difficult to call either way. We can not know where we are up to on our Mu’s, that still seems correct. But this position does square up some best case realities, somewhat, and that may impact other decisions.

People have an intense desire to feel they have selected things for themselves, without influence vi vii. Well, never have I seen someone scratch their head and say in response to a suggestion:

“hmm. Yep, that seems right-er than what I was doing”

At least not in under a 3 year time-frame: and even then they pretend it is their idea. OK, that is just a personal observation.

But something that it appears applies to us all, is that there is so little time. Even if we are guaranteed a full life expectancy which, dare I remind the reader; we are not.

Thus, targeting allies must be done carefully. Blocks must either be activated immediately for confrontation, or avoided entirely and approached subaurally (surreptitiously).

Life requires reflective and active thought if one is to achieve. And achievement can only be measured by one’s own standards: if it is to be “your” achievement, that much is evident. Despite this, however, most refuse to recognize, with any great haste, what their own behaviors will readily announce. Their life is not being self-honestly lived.

Once again, life requires reflective and active thought if one is to achieve. And this is neither manipulative nor a “bad” thing for one to be consistently engaged in actively.

True enough, sometimes one simply runs out of Mu. Little can be done about that.

However; any who fall, coming from a position less thoughtful and active, deserve the salt from every tear. Because, truly, they did not ever even try.


*JJR is the psychiatry and research science investigator for the Chronicle LS.

[+++] Research Blog Marker


J(J)R (2014) True Love: By The Numbers. JChronLettSc(CoL), NOV, (7), Ed11.


i Gladwell, Malcolm. 2008. Outliers: The Story of Success. 1st ed. New York: Little, Brown and Co.

ii “The 10,000 Hour Rule.” 2014. Accessed October 30.

iii *All cause mortality 75% percentile rounded down with approximately 1/3 (*21.6 units) assumed for sleep.

iv “3303.0 – Causes of Death, Australia, 2012.” 2014. Accessed November 6.

v Dumitriu, Constanţa, Iulia Cristina Timofti, Elena Nechita, and Gheorghe Dumitriu. 2014. “The Influence of the Locus of Control and Decision-Making Capacity upon the Leadership Style.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 141 (August): 494–99. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.086.

vi Życińska, Jolanta, Alicja Kuciej, and Joanna Syska-Sumińska. 2012. “The Relationship between General and Specific Self-Efficacy during the Decision-Making Process Considering Treatment.” Polish Psychological Bulletin 43 (4). doi:10.2478/v10059-012-0031-4.

vii “Locus of Control and Decision Making for Posthospital Care.” 2014. Accessed November 6.

About J.Chron.Ltt.&Sci. [JCR]

~CogSc (Humor); NeuroPsych; Philosophy (Death/Identity); Methods (Research); Intelligence/Investigation (Forensic); Medical Error~
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5 Responses to True Love: By The Numbers

  1. Pingback: Chronicle of Letters

  2. Millie Ho says:

    Finding appropriate allies also applies to success beyond hard work. Certain bands achieve success outside of being talented, but because they were at the right time, the right place, and with the right people. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards might not be spectacular on their own, but in the Rolling Stones, they rock.

    Interesting and thought-provoking spin on Gladwell. Looking forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Cognitive Enhancing Drugs & Students | Journey Chronicle in Letters and Science

  4. Pingback: “By 44th, Or Never Morthe”: Time Limits On Controlling Your Destiny | Journey Chronicle in Letters and Science

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