Practice makes…achievement, anyway

My favorite section of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest masterpiece, Outliers: The Story of Success, is the second chapter, The 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell makes a strong argument for the role of practice in the success of people you have heard of – Bill Gates and the Beatles, and high achievers whose names may be unfamiliar to you. I will always start portfolio or capstone classes with this quote:

…Is there such a thing as innate talent? The obvious answer is yes. Not every hockey player born in January ends up playing at the professional level. Only some do – the innately talented ones. Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play (38).

This is great news – it means that even if you do not believe you have innate talent, you can still be as successful as your friend or the teacher’s favorite – those who you are sure are talented. Your strive, dedication, and willingness to practice – literally for 10,000 hours of your life (you can do it, just give it years and years), will result in achievement.

Practice may not “make perfect” as the saying goes. No one can promise perfection. Achievement, however, will follow years of dedication and preparation.

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