Malcom Gladwell defined mastering something as 10,000 hours of deliberate practice however psychologists define ‘deliberate practice’ as practising in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible, so is does this theory continue to hold? A new meta-analysis by Princeton University of 88 studies of deliberate practice showed that practice accounted for an average 12% difference in performance, with less than 1% for professions and a predictably higher rate for gaming of 26%.
So with this in mind, does Malcom Gladwell’s theory hold? On the face of it the short answer is no, but what we have to remember is that everyone is different, so those who took part in the studies may not have benefited them but there will be people out there who do need all 10,000 of those hours to perfect their preferred skill set so I personally I don’t think its fair to say that the theory is debunked just yet. Having said that the introduction of the internet and smart phones means that we essentially have the world at our fingertips so you can learn new skills much more easily and at your own pace. At the time that Malcom referenced the 10,000 hours to the many all night concerts The Beatles did to become masters of music, in a time where there was no technology to negate practice, if you wanted a certain guitar technique then you had to learn it, there were no synth programmes or pieces of software to mimic the sound.
As time and technology changes so do the processes we use to learn, trial and error will always be the best way to learn, largely because you will at least find out how not to do it if nothing else and learning from others mistakes is priceless, there is no need to reinvent the wheel its already available! Its also surprising how much you learn from those in other fields, Michelin star chef’s have an eye for detail that surpasses all others they have spent the time tirelessly remaking a dish so that its perfect for their guests and its the detail that the diners remember, the different flavours and textures working together, I use them as an example simply because between chefs, artists and writers their mastery speaks for itself.
Currently i’m taking these crazy times to review my exercise regime (or complete lack of) mostly squats and a few jumping jacks but the point is to keep going through at least 6 songs! Im building up my mental stamina and taking inspiration from the people around me and the legendary David Goggins if you haven’t heard of him you need to look him up, if you want to be a master of weights in the gym look to a strong man/body builder like Calum Von Moger, you want all round fitness coaching Joe Wicks is your man – he has a wealth of knowledge and experience, BUT you have to do it for yourself, make it fun otherwise you risk the dying halfway through and not wanting to carry on. I am currently reacquainting myself with my cd collection with bouts of exercise, sing as loud as you need to or if you are self-conscious hum, it helps control your breathing and that is just as important as the exercise, there’s nothing worse than that breathless speechless feeling you get when you have forgotten to continue breathing half way through. Find your inspiration, set your goal and have fun doing it, the Covid-19 virus has given us all a distorted and confusing view of the world right now and you need to find your own clarity in these trying times.
Stay safe out there, love each other and most importantly be kind to everyone, you never know when you might need a helping hand. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou