Target designed by Libby Ventura from the Noun Project

Target designed by Libby Ventura from the Noun Project

Malcolm Gladwell’s popular theory (from the research of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson) of 10,000 hours of practice to become a master is an uplifting bit of motivation. Unfortunately, a recent study found it to not be true. As Design explains:

 Different levels of deliberate practice can only explain one third of the variation in performance levels in chess players and musicians, the authors found, “leaving the majority of the reliable variance unexplained and potentially explainable by other factors.”

Basically, practice is wonderful and you can’t get better without it, but it takes more than deliberate study to become a master of your craft.

One chess player, for example, had taken 26 years to reach a level that another reached in a mere two years. Clearly, there’s more at work than just the sheer volume of hours practiced, the study (and a similar one by the same authors published in May) argues. “The evidence is quite clear that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice…

So, remember: practice, and practice hard, but take some of that time to find balance so you don’t burn out as well.

Read the rest of the article here.

  • Jezicka

    What are the other factors not explained in the article? Is it the approach? Study tricks? Conceptualization?

    • Kevin Garcia


    • Sasha

      The article linked goes a little more in-depth, but basically says that in the end their is an certain amount of talent that seems to be more innate. I recommend clicking through to read it and get a better idea of the specifics!

  • Hannes Grebin

    So the rest is all about talent.

  • vegaviscount

    Toward the end of his life Michelangelo said he regretted leaving as he was only just beginning to learn his craft. Not bad for a beginner.

  • guy einy

    He didnt say 10,000 hours make you an expert.
    He said its nearly impossible (and non existent) to become an expert without 10000 hours.

  • Samwilsono2

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  • Luke Swenson

    It seems like talent would be a huge factor. Natural talent is the way someone is wired to think and act a certain way… with a certain amount of confidence because it is natural. That said, I think you can learn to think and make similar decisions as a naturally talented person. So if you go 10,000 hours and don’t learn these traits you won’t be as good. My thoughts.

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