The expert on expertise and inventor of the 10,000-hour rule offers his insights and techniques on how to master any skill.
We live in a world full of people with extraordinary abilities. Consider what Roger Federer can do with a tennis ball, or Connor McDavid with a puck. There are chess grandmasters who can play several dozen different games simultaneously—while blindfolded—and a seemingly unending supply of young musical prodigies who would have astonished aficionados a century ago. We are dramatically better at just about everything than we were just a generation ago.We assume, though, that these peak performers are the lucky ones, the ones with a gift. That’s only partly true. The fact is we are all lucky. We all have that gift. As Ericsson’s whole career has shown, with the proper practice, we are all capable of extraordinary feats.
The techniques that chess players use to develop their skills seem quite different from the methods pianists use to improve their playing. But at a deeper level, they are all variations on a single fundamental approach to learning, what Ericsson has named “deliberate practice”: a simple, yet powerful system for enhancing learning. This approach to expertise has the potential to revolutionize how we think about every sort of education and training. We can define the limits of our talents. Whether you want to step up your game at work or help your kid achieve athletic or academic goals, Ericsson’s revolutionary methods will show you how to master almost anything.
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