Aug, 2013

Don’t believe the hype. It’s not about the amount of hours you put in, it’s about how you perform when that time has come.

All the practice time in the world won’t automatically make you produce great results. But lack of experience doesn’t always mean you can’t hang with the big boys either. Sometimes amateurs–due to necessity breeding innovation–bring imagination to their field along with a previously unconsidered approach that turns out to be a better method than what was done in the past.

And that’s not an exception to the rule. There are no rules. People make them up.

Experts may not be made overnight, but if practice and time was the almighty Lord that created these so-called pros, then they could not only define success, but also draw up a precise map on how everyone else can magically get there too. Impossible sorcery.

What works for others may not work for you at all, ever. Find out what works for you and do that. Not what works for someone else…unless that also works for you, in which case you might want to consider doing both things. Or multiple things.

Whatever works.

Sports Illustrated Senior Writer David Epstein has covered his fair share of athletes. So in his new book, The Sports Gene, he takes a look at what makes the great ones great and in an interview with Outside, he sheds some light on his findings. He starts by debunking the popular conclusions made by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers that all greats have 10,000 hours of practice:

The 10,000 hours is an average of differences. You could have two people in any endeavor and one person took 0 hours and another took 20,000 hours, which is something like what happened with two high jumpers I discuss in the book. One guy put in 20,000 and one put in 0, so there’s your average of 10,000 hours, but that tells you nothing about an individual.

Instead, he advises, there is no template for greatness:

No cookie-cutter training plan is ever going to work. I’m a great example. Before my senior year of high school, I got up to 85 miles per week of training, which isn’t a lot for a pro, but was a lot for someone my age. When I came to college, I really got interested in physiology and took a scientific approach to my training. I found I was better at cross-country by training 35 miles per week with hill intervals instead of doing 85 miles per week. People need to pay attention to their training plans, because if something is not working for you as well as the next guy, it may be your biology, so you should try another plan.

If you’re not taking a trial-and-error approach to training where you’re measuring something your time, you’re way less likely to find a plan that works for you. The cookie cutter approach to training is purely a facet of having a large group of people to train.

Read the entire interview with Epstein at Outside Magazine. [Syndicated from Behance]

Tagged with →