Ten Thousand Hours to Mastery!

So here is the plan! I am an amateur artist; I am passionate about creating artwork but have been very lax in practicing the craft on any regular basis.  I can draw and paint, I have a bachelor degree in creative arts and majored in sculpture from the University of Wollongong, but am I proficient? I would have to answer that with an emphatic NO!!

I have gone many years since that time where I have not created any artwork at all and then wonder why I am not a more polished artist.

So what would happen should I take on the Ten Thousand Hours rule and what is that rule? Well  we all know that ‘practice makes perfect’ right?  At least that’s what we are told…we also know that some people just seem to be born with an innate talent to which there is no amount of practice that can induce the same results, for example  Beethoven, Mozart, Picasso, Einstein,.or is that true?  Perhaps some people are born with a passion and an inborn ability that allows them to learn and master some ‘thing’ and to absorb the information required to do this ‘thing’  with a high level of proficiency whether it be in music, dancing, sport, mathematics or any other field.  What if though anyone could achieve that kind of level of expertise?  There is a study which suggests that it is actually the practice and not the natural gift which give rise to mastery!

The 10,000-hours concept can be traced back to a 1993 paper written by Anders Ericsson, a Professor at the University of Colorado, called The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.

It highlighted the work of a group of psychologists in Berlin, who had studied the practice habits of violin students in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

All had begun playing at roughly five years of age with similar practice times. However, at age eight, practice times began to diverge. By age 20, the elite performers had averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice each, while the less able performers had only done 4,000 hours of practice.

The psychologists didn’t see any naturally gifted performers emerge and this surprised them. If natural talent had played a role it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect gifted performers to emerge after, say, 5,000 hours.

Anders Ericsson concluded that “many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years”.

Lets see what happens when I take on the challenge to do Ten thousand hours of practice from this point and log my hours in a journal and post the results online…Lets see if I go from an ‘average’ amateurish artist to an artist with obvious expertise in my chosen field over the next few years!

I believe that if I can do this with my art the we could put this concept to absolute anything and anyone to get the same results, what are your thoughts?  Anyone out there reading this blog who has already done this for themselves and happy to share their results?

Let me know your thoughts





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