The 100,000 Hour Rule

Come back in 50 years and tell me how it works.

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25 Responses to The 100,000 Hour Rule

  1. thesoftpath says:

    I’ll let you be the judge: 🙂

  2. Henry Scrope says:

    10,000? Or something else?

  3. Smithie says:

    Just watch the ending scene of Zardoz.

  4. Space Ghost says:

    No one ever became an expert on anything by just putting in a 40 hour work week.

  5. bombexpert says:

    still no Cheddar man?

  6. Christopher B says:

    I could have practiced basketball for a million hours and never been as good as Michael Jordan. Not saying he didn’t have to practice but he started at a level I wasn’t even near. This is the personalization of the willful blindness to the impact of genetics on human potential. The myths that everybody starts from zero, there is no such thing as talent, that all you need are desire and practice, that failure to achieve is entirely due to outside forces. You can also draw a direct line from this to the current gender insanity. If the most important thing to being an NBA star is wanting to be one, and not height or coordination or vertical leap, then obviously the most important thing about being male or female isn’t biology but the desire to be one or the other.

    • ziel says:

      “Not saying he didn’t have to practice…”

      You wonder what kind of practice he even might have done. Most people think of practice in the sense of sitting at the piano for hours a day perfecting your scales. Did Jordan really spend hours and hours just shooting baskets or working on dribbling? Maybe, but I’d bet no – that his practice was pretty much 95% playing.

      • jb says:

        I don’t remember who wrote this, but the claim was that professional pianists fall into two camps. There are those who are always practicing and trying to improve themselves (even when they are performing for an audience); and those who are always giving a performance (even when they are alone at home learning a new piece). Neither is necessarily better than the other, just different in their motivation. This was just some pianist’s opinion, and I don’t know if it’s really true, but it’s an interesting thought, and I can imagine it might hold equally well in fields other than music.

    • Jim says:

      Capablanca seems to have spent little time studying the game of chess. He took a rather relaxed attitude toward chess. He liked to sleep late in the morning and sometime arrived at morning tournament games after the starting time for the game with his time on the clock time close to expired. He then played his moves at a furious speed until he had made up the allotted number of moves to restart his clock. In contrast Alekhine studied chess obsessively virtually every day of his adult life.

      • gcochran9 says:

        Except when he was drunk, perhaps, which was most of the time.

        • Jim says:

          I was actually going to add “when he was sober”.

          • Jim says:

            As a decent human being Capablanca was way ahead of Alekhine.

            • Jim says:

              Clearly Alekhine never put in many hours practicing to be a decent human being. But he wasn’t all bad. When a youngster Reuben Fine met Alekhine and Fine said that Alekhine was very kind to him and gave him advice on chess playing. He also said that Alekhine gave no indication of anti-Semitism.

      • Bob says:

        Bobby Fischer studied the game intensely beginning at a young age, reading all the books on chess and memorizing many old games.

      • Charles W Abbott says:

        Gary Kasparov talks about Capablanca being talented but lazy. Kasparov also says that Capablanca could only put in a certain number of useful hours before burn out or “hitting a wall.”

        Kasparov describes himself as being on the other extreme, a diligent worker trained by another diligent worker–Botvinnik.

        It’s in How life imitates chess which personally struck me as quirky but thoughtful and worth reading a couple of times.

        Kasparov also talks about reciting lines of Pushkin he had memorized previously, in order to loosen up when stumped during a match.

        • Jim says:

          Capablanca certainly was easy-going. He often was content with an easy draw even in positions where he had an advantage. Yet despite his lack of drive he still has one of the best overall records. Capablanca astonished other chess players by his ability when kibitzing to glance at a position for a few moments and then describe in detail the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and the best strategies for both players.

  7. MawBTS says:

    I have been breathing for over 250,000 hours and I’m getting pretty good at it.

    • US says:

      Let me know how you’re doing once you reach 2.5 million hours..

      • MawBTS says:

        I’ve noticed that people who breathe for a REALLY long time (say, 750,000 hours) actually seem to get worse at it. In some cases, they stop breathing altogether.

        What could be causing this? Some type of epigenetic interference?

  8. Jokah Macpherson says:

    Geezers practicing things is kind of a red queen situation.

  9. Pincher Martin says:

    Reminds me of the funny line that the psychologist Lewis Terman wrote about Walter Lippmann’s criticism of his work.

    Lippmann’s comment in reviewing Terman’s work:

    “I hate the impudence of a claim that in fifty minutes you can judge and classify a human being’s predestined fitness in life. I hate the pretentiousness of the claim. I hate the abuse of scientific method which it involves. I hate the sense of superiority which it creates, and the sense of inferiority which it imposes.”

    Terman’s response:

    “Most of us have uncritically taken it for granted that children who attend school eight or ten years without passing the fourth grade or surmounting long division, are probably stupider than children who lead their classes into high school at twelve years and into college at sixteen. Mr. Lippmann contends that we can’t tell anything about how intelligent either one of these children is until he has lived out his life. Therefore, for a lifetime at least, Mr. Lippmann considers his position impregnable!”

    Now that’s funny.

  10. Stephen W says:

    I thought it was the 10,000 hour rule. 5 years.

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