Archive for the ‘Malcolm Gladwell’ tag
Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi
It’s admittedly hypocritical of me to use the word ‘perfect’ in the title of this post when I’ve written in the past about perfection being overrated. But the word perfect does actually have a place in personal growth so long as you don’t take it too literally.
True perfection isn’t really the point though. The big idea is that practicing your craft has to be done with a level of respect for how you’ll perform in reality at all times. No ifs, ands, or buts.
The only way to achieve your maximum performance potential is to train your body and mind to do so over and over… and over.
Let’s assume for a moment that talent is overrated (just like perfection). Sure, there are people who are naturally better at certain things than others – they have talent, that’s indisputable – but no one can achieve great heights without lots and lots of practice. As Malcolm Gladwell said in Outliers, you need 10,000 hours of practice to be great. Or, really, to even have a chance at being great.
Peter Norvig recognized this pattern as well in “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years”:
Researchers (Bloom (1985), Bryan & Harter (1899), Hayes (1989), Simmon & Chase (1973)) have shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas, including chess playing, music composition, telegraph operation, painting, piano playing, swimming, tennis, and research in neuropsychology and topology. The key is deliberative practice: not just doing it again and again, but challenging yourself with a task that is just beyond your current ability, trying it, analyzing your performance while and after doing it, and correcting any mistakes. Then repeat. And repeat again.