30-Second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute - Christian Jarrett 2011
Ericsson’s 10,000-hour rule
Ways We Differ
It’s tempting to look at truly exceptional achievers — such as Olympic athletes and celebrated musicians — and conclude that they must have been born with a unique gift for what they do. According to influential research by psychologist Anders Ericsson, however, the path to expertise is available to anyone who’s prepared to put in the necessary levels of practice. How much? Studies of elite musicians, athletes and chess players suggest at least 10,000 hours of practice spread over a period of more than ten years. What’s more, not just any kind of practice will do. Ericsson says it needs to be what he calls ’deliberate practice’, in which you don’t just repeat what you know but instead constantly seek to stretch yourself. This inevitably involves forensic self-criticism, repeated failure and a dogged ability to keep dusting yourself down and trying again — a process that’s not particularly enjoyable and quite distinct from leisurely practice. Although Ericsson’s perspective argues against the idea of innate gifts, his concept of deliberate practice does of course require a rare mix of motivation, good health and opportunity.
Greatness isn’t innate, it comes from epic amounts of self-critical, obsessive practice.
As well as excessive practice, other situational factors that apparently ease us towards greatness include being born in January (thereby having the advantage of being older than peers in class and on the sports pitch) and being born in a city of fewer than 500,000 citizens — the latter apparently allows for the opportunity to sample many different activities, which builds generic skills, such as self-discipline and coordination.
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR
NATURE VIA NURTURE
Biographies of musical geniuses like Mozart and Michael Jackson nearly always reveal that they started relentless practice from an early age.