Saturday, January 14, 2017

Does practice make perfect?

I am the first to say (with great conviction) that the more one practices, the better one gets.

This probably goes hand-in-hand with the “10,000 Hour Rule” that is promoted by the pop writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” and that says that at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to become world-class in any field, citing the Beatles and Bill Gates among other examples.

This assertion is based on a study by Anders Ericsson. So when I apply it to skiing, after tallying how many hours I've spend on skis since I learned as a kid, I get to 12,500 hour, so I feel I can claim that I master the art of skiing.

This said, a recent Princeton study just debunked that theory. In a meta-analysis of 88 studies on deliberate practice, the researchers found that practice accounted for only a 12% difference in performance in most domains, and only 18% in sports.

Of course, I don't buy this and remain a staunch proponent of the 10,000 hour rule. Do you want me to substantiate my hunch? I may, but will only do it when I'm done practicing and finally have more time on my hands!

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