The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Thursday, April 21, 2016

More Than Just Practice for Martial Arts Excellence

Is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice enough to achieve excellence? That's not the half of it, or even a third of it.

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared in Psychology Today which states just that. The full article may be read here .

They say that practice makes perfect. Or, more specifically, that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is necessary to obtain elite performance levels in activities ranging from golf to chess to music. Coined by Florida State psychologist Anders Ericsson and made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, the 10,000 hour rule reflects the idea that becoming a world-class athlete or performer rests on a long period of hard work rather than “innate ability” or talent. You don’t need to be born with the “right” genes to be a super star, says Ericsson, you just have to practice in the “right” way.

Hard work does help explain who will reach the highest levels of performance in music and chess alike. But, it’s not the entire story. In fact, in both areas, deliberate practice wasn’t even half the story – it was about 1/3 of it. Some people require much less practice than others to reach elite performance levels. In other words, it seems that factors other than practice are important for determining who is going to obtain the highest level of skill.

I have to admit, the 10,000 hour rule is an appealing one. It implies that almost anyone can become an expert if they work hard enough. As Hambrick says, deliberate practice is so popular because it has “meritocratic appeal.”  The data, however, tell a somewhat different story. Yes, hard work is extremely important, but it’s not everything. Whether it’s genes, motivation, one’s ability to handle failure, all of the above or something else altogether, we have to owe up to the fact that factors other than practice contribute to achieving greatness. Only then will we be best able to identify areas we are most likely to excel in and have the best chance of rising to the top.




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