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How Can 10,000 Hours Change Lives?

This question has been something of a fixation for Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell. His book, Outliers, takes a look at The Beatles, Bill Gates and other super-successful figures throughout history to try and figure out what made these people so masterful.

His conclusion is somewhat underwhelming: it’s practice.

How much? About 10,000.

There. I just saved you 300 pages of reading and a trip to the library. You can now use that time to start your 10,000 hour journey into mastering juggling, butter sculpture or whatever your passion project so happens to be. You’re welcome.

While the 10,000 hour rule was the main takeaway for most reader, Gladwell insists that they got it all wrong.

Can’t Do It Alone

“I wanted people to move away from the notion of success as something individual,” he lamented in an interview with Freakonomics Radio, “there’s this kind of heroic notion of the lone genius… and I wanted to say to people that notion has very little basis in reality.”

Gladwell elaborated:

“To me, the point of 10,000 hours is: if it takes that long to be good, you can’t do it by yourself. There always has to be a group of people behind the elite performer making that kind of practice possible.”

It makes you wonder…

Would Beethoven’s have ever composed his famous 5th if he’d had to do his own laundry? Could Ruth Bader Ginsburg have made it to the supreme court without diligent secretaries? Would Marie Curie have earned two Nobel Prizes if she’d had to plant and harvest her own food? It took one ambitious designer, Thomas Thwaites, nine months to build a simple toaster from (smelting-his-own-iron-ore) scratch. Would Elon Musk have ever gotten a Tesla running if he’d had to manufacture every part and prototype himself?

The fact is, it is only because of a vast and intricate network of people engaged in all kinds of activities that any of us are able to live lives more comfortable and elaborate than our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Volunteers Make CityKidz Mission Possible

CityKidz as an organization something of a microcosm of this beautiful interdependence.

Everything CityKidz does to bring joy, hope and opportunity to children growing up in low-income neighbourhoods – from our children and youth programs to Christmas gift deliveries to summer camp adventures – depends on countless hours of work from generous volunteers. 

Forget 10,000 hours. In 2018, CityKidz volunteers dedicated a collective 47,648 hours to improving the lives of precious and vulnerable children.

Volunteers visit, play, comfort, mentor and entertain children. They photocopy flyers, greet guests at reception, drive buses, prepare lunch bags, take pies to the face onstage, coordinate toy drives, and advocate in their communities. They dedicate themselves to countless creative, complicated, simple or mundane tasks.

In this way, CityKidz volunteers are the unsung heroes who make it possible for vulnerable children to break the cycle of poverty and reach their full potential.

So what better time than Volunteer Appreciation Week to celebrate these wonderful volunteers and invite you to join their formidable ranks?

Is there anything CityKidz volunteers cant do?

Join the Movement!

Volunteering at CityKidz is a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals, diversify your skill set, uncover a new passion. It’s also a fulfilling way to invest in the lives of individual children and the future of your city. We want to match you with a position that you will find comfortable, meaningful, fun and rewarding.

So whether you have three, 12 or 10,000 hours to give, please consider sharing them with our amazing kids.

Visit or email to get started.

Thank you!

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