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 Fast.co 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.