From Fast Company: Can 10,000 hours of practice really make you an expert at anything? The widely touted theory, highlighted in a 1993 psychology paper and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, says that anyone can master a skill with 10,000 hours of practice. There’s even a Macklemore song about it, so that makes it real.
Scientists, however, remain skeptical. A recent study by a group of psychologists from five universities, rebuffs Gladwell’s wisdom. Different levels of deliberate practice can only explain one third of the variation in performance levels in chess players and musicians, the authors found, “leaving the majority of the reliable variance unexplained and potentially explainable by other factors.” In other words, practice is great! But practice alone won’t make you Yo Yo Ma. It could also have to do with personality, the age you started, intelligence, or something else entirely.