Becoming An Expert In The Wrong Things

According to author Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success), whatever you practice for 10,000 hours will cause you to become an expert in it.

Most of us who are older understand this. When we first began our careers, we learned how to do a task. Over the years, as we performed the task over and over, we became one of the best.

In the break room, we sometimes hear someone say, “I could never do what you do.” We can do it quicker and better than anyone at our company. We get so good at it, we can do it when we are tired or sleepy. It is as if it happens naturally, by default. We know it is not true, because we have spent thousands and thousands of hours doing it.

How To Become An Expert

“The emerging picture from studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert- in anything,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levetin.

The more we do something, the better we get at it. Take your hobby, for example. The more you do it, the better you become. If you enjoy golf, tennis, scrapbooking, pinteresting, photography, or anything else, the more of it you do, the better you become. And the theory says that if you do it long enough, you will get to expert status.

Becoming An Expert In Our Relationship

What is true for our career and hobbies is just as true in our most important relationship. What you spend time doing in your relationship makes you better at it.

Some people spend time building their relationship. They are intentionally strengthening their communication, spending time together in daily check ins and dates, talking through issues with courageous conversations, and enjoying the sexual benefits only found in marriage.

How You Become An Unintentional Expert

You also can unintentionally become an expert in the wrong things. No one sets out to become an expert at creating and maintaining conflict. But the more time we spend doing something leads to us becoming better at it.

Over time, that activity becomes our default way of doing it. We do it better every time we do it. And it seems to happen naturally, as if we have no control over it. It seems to happen by default.

What Are You An Unintentional Relationship Expert In?

Some common things spouses do that make them an unintentional relationship expert in all the wrong things:

“We all know that when there’s a race, all the runners bolt for the finish line, but only one will take the prize. When you run, run for the prize! Athletes in training are very strict with themselves, exercising self-control over desires…” I Corinthians 9:24-25a

Next time you find yourself doing what that thing that seems like a default action, check yourself. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to continue developing into an unintentional expert in this behavior?” If the answer is no, decide what you want to intentionally begin practicing that will help you become a relationship expert in all the right things.

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This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at © Roy and Devra Wooten 2017. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at