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2018-01-17 15:32:52
How to Excel

How you ever tried to improve at something without as much success as you were hoping for? Is there a field of study or talent that is not your cup of tea? Maybe you struggle with math, or perhaps you don’t have a knack for cooking. Don’t worry, you can’t excel at everything. You might not become world-class at anything. Most people don’t. There are well over 6 billion people on this planet. That’s a lot of competition. This might not sound like very good advice for how to excel at something, but it gets better.

The good news is you just need to identify what you are more likely to excel at. You certainly can improve at anything you want. That just takes practice. The 10,000-hour rule, popularized by Malcom Gladwell, states that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in any field is required to excel at a world-class level. This idea is not completely accurate. Several Princeton studies show that the field strongly limits the rate of improvement. The participants in the study practiced in various fields, and at varying amounts. The differences in performance between participants that practiced different amounts revealed the following:

  1. Games- 26% variance in performance
  2. Music- 21% variance in performance
  3. Sports- 18% variance in performance
  4. Education- 4% variance in performance
  5. Professions- 1% variance in performance

This is not to negate the importance of practice. If you don’t practice in a given field, you will not see much improvement if any. This study just reveals that if you do practice, and are not improving at a significant rate, it may not be because you are not practicing hard enough. There are lots of factors to excelling in any given field. 

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