The 10,000 Hour Rule — closely associated with pop psych writer Malcolm Gladwell — may not be much of a rule at all.
The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.
When psychologists talk about deliberate practice, they mean practicing in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible.
In “Outliers,” Gladwell contends that early access to getting 10,000 hours of practice allowed the Beatles to become the greatest band in history (thanks to playing all-night shows in Hamburg) and Bill Gates to become one of the richest dudes around (thanks to using a computer since his teen years).
But a new Princeton study tears that theory down. In a meta-analysis of 88 studies on deliberate practice, the researchers found that practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains.
What’s really surprising is how much it depends on the domain:
• In games, practice made for a 26% difference
• In music, it was a 21% difference
• In sports, an 18% difference
• In education, a 4% difference
• In professions, just a 1% difference
The best explanation of the domain dependency is probably found in