10,000 Hours?

10,000 Hours?

Back in 1993, Anders Ericsson, a leading researcher in "expertise" wrote a paper titled "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance". In it he referenced past research on the practice habits of young violin students through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. By the time they were 20, the elite performers had averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice, while the less able performers had only 4,000 hours. Naturally gifted performers didn't do better, unless they had also put the 10,000 hours.

10,000 hours is roughly 20 hours a week, for 50 weeks, for 10 years. That is a big commitment. I'm thinking, I spend approximately five hours a week on photography and ten hours on writing. Does that mean, I'm going to be an "expert" photographer in about 40 years and a good writer in 20? According to new research, it turns out that when creativity is involved in tasks - not just repetition where rules remain the same - long hours of practice become less significant. I'll stick to an old maxim I had read many years ago: "Practice makes perfect, if only the practice is done perfectly". Talent, creativity, motivation and practice, you'll need them all in varying amounts. But I think the real question ought to be, what is worth investing 10,000+ hours on?

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