Complexity and the 10,000 hour rule

I’m sure you’ve heard about the 10,000 hour rule: do something for 10,000 hours and you’ll be an expert! If only it were as simple as that. The number 10,000 is an easy number, though, to pick up and use it. It’s something concrete – you’ll get to 10,000 hours if you work long enough on whatever you’re working on. But as always there are nuances and it does not apply in every single situation. Malcolm Gladwell reminds us of that in this article.

This is the scholarly tradition I was referring to in my book “Outliers,” when I wrote about the “ten-thousand-hour rule.” No one succeeds at a high level without innate talent, I wrote: “achievement is talent plus preparation.” But the ten-thousand-hour research reminds us that “the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.” In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals.


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