Putting “10,000 hours” to the test

Our last post mentioned the 10,000-hour rule – a theory by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, and made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.

Well, it’s an interesting concept. In observations, becoming an expert is less about talent and more about intentional practice. So anyone should be able to become an expert at anything if they focused and worked at it enough.

But up until now, it’s still really a theoretical framework. An interesting idea, and probably, mostly true. But how do you prove it?

One guy is putting it to the test.

Dan McLaughlin is on a six-year path to go from a novice to professional golfer, and he’s chronicling the experiment on his website, The Dan Plan. He’s one year into his six-hour-a-day plan and documenting it all online. His team has taken an interesting approach at learning golf as well. Starting perfecting short putts and slowly working out. From what I can tell, he still isn’t playing a full round of golf.

Sure, it’s still really an n=1 experiment, but it’s sure to be an interesting journey.

(via kottke.org)

Success and mastery take work

“Almost nothing worthwhile is easy, and it’s hard to just jump in and be good at something difficult right off the bat. Think, say, of Twitter, whose business plan, such that it is, has always been something along the lines of “Get big and popular, then just flip the switch and start making money when we feel like it”. There is no switch.

The only reliable way to succeed at anything is to actually do it, repeatedly, with concentrated effort. True for individuals, and true for organizations. Athletes, artists, businesses.

John Gruber (emphasis mine)

True for tech companies (like Gruber’s context), but also so true for everything from blogging to the job you’re doing to relationships and everything in between.

(Think Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule from Outliers or Seth Godin’s ideas from The Dip)