10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice

Want to become really, really good at something? Just spend three hours a day at it for the next 10 years.

Fabrice Grinda, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to at dinner in New Orleans last spring, notes:

At a recent conference organized by the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell described the different types of geniuses. He suggested that given the complexities of the problems we face, stubborn and deliberate innovators who collaborate with others are much more likely to be the leading innovators of the 21st century.

His recounting of how Andrew Wiles solved Fermat’s last theorem was a case in point. It took Wiles years of work, collaboration with multiple mathematicians around the world and resulted in a 200 page proof.

As Gladwell points out, it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become good at almost any activity. The good news is that you can become good at almost anything you set your mind to. The problem is that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is about 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day.

He suggested that as a society, we are not giving people the right incentives. We often reward intelligence, but ignore stubbornness which is arguably more important.

Here’s the video of Gladwell talking on the topics of genius, stubbornness and collaboration.

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