In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell affirmed that people who were performing at a world-class level, such as musicians, artists, or sportspeople, had practiced for approximately 10,000 hours up to that point. Therefore, if one wanted to become one of the best in the world, all he / she had to do was to also practice for 10,000 hours.
However, according to inc.com, recently, the authors behind the original study on which Gladwell based his figures claimed that his interpretation wasn't actually very accurate. This has wide implications for anyone trying to develop a skill and expertise, whether in the arts, business, sports, or any other field.
"In 1993, Anders Ericsson, Ralf Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Römer published the results of a study on a group of violin students in a music academy in Berlin. It stated that the most accomplished students had put in an average of 10,000 hours of practice by their 20th birthday. That paper would go on to become a major part of the scientific literature on expert performers, but only attracted mainstream attention after Outliers was published. Recently, Ericsson and co-author Robert Pool wanted to clarify what the science actually says, highlighted in their new book Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise," added Nick Skillicorn for inc.com.
"Within that study, there was no magic number for greatness. 10,000 hours was not actually a number of hours reached, but an average of the time elites spent practicing. Some practiced for much less than 10,000 hours. Others for over 25,000 hours. Additionally, Gladwell failed to adequately distinguish between the quantity of hours spent practicing, and the quality of that practice. This misses a huge portion of Ericsson’s findings, and is the reason why Tim Ferriss scoffs at Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule in this video," also wrote makeuseof.com.
At the same time, a new Princeton study on deliberate practice, the researchers found that practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains. And, more than that, a lot it depends on the chosen domain: a 26% difference in games, a 21% difference in music, an 18% difference in sports, a 4% difference in education and only 1% difference in professions.