It’s Practice, Not Talent, That Counts
Most people believe that innate talent determines success. Thus, great athletes supposedly have their individual sports “encoded in [their] DNA.” Similarly, great musicians, artists, mathematicians, race-car drivers and other world-class experts presumably benefit from such encoding. Not true. Through formal testing, researchers have determined that athletes, artists, musicians and others become great only by putting in “an average of 10,000 hours” of purposeful, dedicated, intense and challenging practice.
This works out to about three hours daily for a “minimum of 10 years,” the amount of time needed to become an expert on “any complex task.” “Nobody – but nobody – has ever become really proficient at golf without practice, without doing a lot of thinking and then hitting a lot of shots,” golf great Jack Nicklaus said. This is true in every field.
Most people are quick to give up when they can’t do something new. They rationalize, “I am not a natural linguist,” or “I don’t have the brain for numbers” or “I lack the coordination for sports.” In truth, they probably spent only “a few weeks or a few months of halfhearted effort” before quitting.
Practice in which you do not constantly drive yourself will not improve your skills. Numerous research studies show that how long people work at their careers has little to do with achieving optimal performance. Success requires not only strong experience, but also “deep concentration.” Thus, you must constantly push your limits and extend yourself beyond your normal comfort zone. To strengthen your abilities, practice must have a clear purpose: to make progress.
How much "Practice" are you putting into your career?