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Not 10,000 hours again…

It’s a good article, but it really is more than a tiny bit misleading to refer to “Anders Ericsson’s 10,000 hour rule”. Gladwell came up with the phrase and popularised the concept, although the number originated from results about violinists published by Ericsson, but this simple view or interpretation doesn’t mention some things and oversimplifies it somewhat. There is a section in chapter 4 of “Peak” by Ericsson himself which is actually headed “No, the Ten Thousand Hour Rule isn’t really a Rule” and which clarifies things (and which incidentally also refers to Mark Lewisohn’s questioning of the oft-repeated idea that the Beatles had put in 10,000 hours before becoming hugely successful, and his revised estimate that it was probably more like eleven hundred hours — anyway, you don’t really explain a phenomenon like the Beatles, with a combination of talent, commitment, and historical/cultural environment, opportunity, and the presence of George Martin, with some kind of rule about hours on the guitar, of course). Incidentally, if anyone is thinking of putting ten thousand hours into their passion for clarinet or painting or whatever, just realize that if you wanted to do it over five years, you would have to spend nearly five and a half hours a day on it, 365 days a year. If you wanted to do it over ten years, and were actually able to practise seven days a week 365 days a year, it still means about two and three quarter hours a day. If you can only put in a mere (!) six days a week, and a couple of hours a day, it will still take you sixteen years. And that’s with what Ericsson calls “deliberate practice”, not just repetition. Don’t underestimate a commitment to mastery!