10,000 Hour Rule

I thought I had a meeting with the mayor, but I only met with the mayor’s assistant to set up a breakfast for a group of us with the mayor. After the meeting, I muttered to myself about always doing things wrong and wasting time. Walking to my car I heard a shout, “Bill!”

I turned and saw the man who called out my name who did not attend the meeting. He asked, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I asked, “Don?” a little tentatively. Don looked at me and said, “You have a great memory! What’s it been, 20 years?” I thought for a minute and said, “More like 25.”

Don came to the mission in 1989 a broken man, and entered the Mission’s recovery program when we named it “LifeChange.” We have learned so much about recovery, spiritual formation, and life skills development since then. He graduated when the program lasted only three months. 10,000 Hours

We have seen the pattern of goodness Jesus laid out in asking his followers to learn and focus over three years. We believers believe not only in the power of God, but also the effectiveness of the “10,000 Hour Rule” (read Malcom Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”).

Don stood there telling me how the power of God had served him well over the years ... how he had stayed sober and became involved in a church (where he invested the rest of the 10,000 hours). We talked for maybe five minutes when he stuck out his hand. He said, “It was great to see you, Bill. I got to go to work.” The so‐called meeting with the mayor did not happen the way I anticipated; however, my impromptu meeting with Don made my day.


bill-russellUGM Street Stories are by Executive Director at Union Gospel Mission, Bill Russell. Bill has been a leader at Union Gospel Mission for 25 years. He is the co-founder of Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange recovery program. LifeChange helps men, women and children escaping abuse, addiction and homelessness transform their lives.




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