10,000 Hours in Bejeweled

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Bejeweled 3

Bejeweled is a popular tile-matching puzzle game that involves matching 3 (or more) jewels of the same color in a vertical column or horizontal row. It’s available on many present day consoles as well as on PC and Facebook. More than 75 million copies of Bejeweled have been sold, and the game has been downloaded more than 500 million times since its launch in 2001.

Top Player in Bejeweled – 8.2 Million High Score

Lately, I’ve taken to playing Bejeweled 3 as a recreational activity after I’m done with work. My favorite mode used to be the Lightning mode where you match as many jewels as possible in a 1 minute time limit (you get time extensions if you are fast enough). Now, I find the Ice Storm mode more fun. (Stacking up the ice column combos can be very rewarding!)

While I’m decent in the game, I’m nowhere near expert status. (Not that I’m trying to be – I just play it for leisure.) Check out this clip of someone with an insane high score of 8.2 million on Lightning mode. My highest is 2.7 million – not even anywhere close to his!

(This is the highest score I know on Bejeweled 3 Lightning mode that doesn’t use any cheat codes or bots.)

If you scroll to the end of the video where the player’s final score card is shown, you can see that he has a rank of 71. I don’t know how long it takes to reach that rank – I’m Rank 32 with almost 80 hours clocked in the game (though I often abandon my games mid-way which results in the scores being forfeited), so I imagine he has probably clocked at least 150 hours in Bejeweled 3 alone – and probably more hours elsewhere assuming he has played other Bejeweled games before.

10,000 Hours To Develop Talent

This brings to mind the 10,000 hours concept. In 2009, I wrote an article 10,000 Hours To Develop Talent, about how the most successful people in this world have each invested at least 10,000 hours in their craft before they achieved success. This idea was first introduced by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success and later became widely popular.

The 10,000 hours applies to everything, including gaming. Part of the reason why the person above is so good is because he has invested due hours into honing his skills.

10,000 Hours: Improving in Bejeweled

I remember when I first played the game a few months ago, I was a klutz in it. I took a long time to spot matches. After a few hours of gameplay (split across different sessions), I became better at spotting matches. After 10 hours, it took me a maximum of 2-3 seconds to see a match right away. After another 10 hours, I became dramatically smoother in my actions. Add another 10 hours, and it took me a split second to see matches – plus I was able to subconsciously anticipate upcoming matches based on the gem arrangement on the screen before “falling”.

And now, it’s more than just being fast at matching gems – not only do I see 4-5 possible matches on the screen right away, I’m able to strategize the best manner and order to match the gems so that I can get the maximum score in the time limit. All in just 1-2 seconds of looking at the arrangement. It’s like all the hours of playing have help me leveled up to some zen master level. Each session I play has made me more proficient.

The player above probably underwent the same learning curve too (plus more since he has spent more time on the game than I have.)

Your 10,000 Hours

Of course, I didn’t write this post just to talk about Bejeweled 3. I really wrote this post because the principles I shared above apply to anything you are working on now.

While the person with the 8.2 million high score probably didn’t spend 10,000 hours playing bejeweled to become as good as he is now, the fact is it’s necessary to invest the time in something to become good in it. He has uploaded his best game on Youtube for everyone to see, but no one sees the other games he had to first play to become that good.

What is your #1 goal in life? What skill does that goal involve? Are you as good in it as you would like to be? If not, my next question is – have you invested your 10,000 hours in this skill yet? How many hours have you invested in your skill so far?

Many of us spend time on itty bitty things and become really good at them. For example, Facebook games. Playing Farmville. Playing Angry Birds. Playing Bejeweled. Using Facebook. Planning vacations. Installing apps on our phones. Channel surfing. Online shopping. Grocery shopping. Sorting emails. Using social media.

And that’s great. It shows you that where your energy goes, the results will show.

Knowing now that you are fully able to build up your skills as long as you invest the time in it, how about using some of the time to develop skills that really matter to you? Skills that will add real value to your life in the real world? For example, skills like:

I’ll continue to play Bejeweled whenever I need a release from whatever I’m doing, but I’m also conscious that my bejeweled “skills” aren’t going to help me double my income, achieve my goals, meet new people, or expand my business. (Unless I aspire to be a professional gamer in which case it would be a goal-specific skill for me, but I don’t). Spending the time to build my real skills, on the other hand, will.

Hence, I just spend whatever time I need in the game, then get out of it. For example if I’m playing Bejeweled to relax / destress, I stop playing once I feel ready to get back to what I was doing – and that may be as long as a few minutes to as quick as a few seconds (no kidding). Sometimes I launch the game and I feel like I’m good to go, and then I close it. I don’t let myself get sucked into the game and enter a circular chain of trying to outdo my last game (because that never ends).

Similarly, continue to do the things you need to do – be it playing games, watching TV, chatting, or using Facebook. Just be mindful that every minute you spend on them is time away from your actual goals. The more time you spend on your goals, the more time you will be clocking toward your 10,000 hours, the better you will be, and the greater success you will accomplish in life.

Check out my articles on skills development: 

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