15,000 Hours – 8% of My Life Since Childhood Focused on One Pursuit

15,051 hours, actually.

That’s how many hours I’ve put into studying, practicing, and considering theology and (more specifically) my religion since I was baptized at age 8. Though the idea is debatable that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class at something, and I definitely don’t consider myself a world-class theologian or even a world-class member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found this exercise interesting and entertaining as I reflect on where I’ve chosen to pour my finite energy.

I’m in my 30th year of post-baptism, so if we subtract 7 hours each day for sleeping, that’s 186,150 total hours I’ve been able to use. So, I’ve dedicated around 8% of the last 30 years to active religious pursuits.

I made a spreadsheet of the hours I’ve spent on religious pursuits in the last 30 years. Final answer? 15,051 hours.

What does that mean for me? I know that I’ve had multiple deep, meaningful, life-changing experiences because of my religious practice. Would I have had those with fewer hours? What would life be like if I put more hours in? What if I alter the content or direction of those hours spent on religion to be more or less focused?

Some of those are hindsight questions and impossible to answer. But I have even more hours ahead of me that I intend to use similarly on religion and my connection to God and humanity around me. How will I spend my hours? What will I become through my choices?

During my next 30 years, if I spend 1 minute more or less praying each day, that’s a difference of 268 hours. What would I say to God in 268 hours? What would he say to me? Who might I feel inspired to help in those 268 hours because I took one extra minute each day to meditate selflessly, and how might my life change because of it? Or have I maxed out and found the perfect balance of time spent on active religion?

There are plenty of estimates in my numbers, but I tried to be honest with myself. If anything, it gives me something to think about as I consider how I want to spend my time and who I want to become in the next 30 years.

How about you? Outside of work and school, do you have any 15,000-hour focuses in your life? What have you spent 8% of your life on every day since you were a kid? What about your next 15,000 hours?