I read this and thought it was interesting. I want to do more research about it, but it could apply to intellectual/physical/spiritual aspects of one’s life.
In the book Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin says, “Extensive research in a wide range of fields shows that many people fail to not only become outstandingly good at what they do, no matter how many years they spend doing it, they frequently don’t get any better than they were when they started.” Think about it. Look at your family, friends, coworkers, the people you workout with, the people you meet at parties. How do they spend their days? Most of them work. Most of them do other things well, like playing sports, musical instruments, or doing public service. Now ask yourself, and answer honestly: How well do they do what they do? More than likely the answer is, they do “fine.” They probably do well enough to not get fired from their jobs, and they probably play sports well enough to enjoy them. But the odds are great that none of the people you know truly do great; none of them are world-class at anything. Why don’t they? They are obviously good people who work hard. Why don’t they swim like Michael Phelps or lead a business like Steve Jobs? Why is that? Most of us actually give rather plausible explanations such as: genetics, innate God-given talent or lack of, it is just a hobby, etc. But there is some research out of Canada by Dr. Balyi that shows that it has less to do with our typical “excuses” than most of us would like to think. Dr. Balyi talks about the 10,000 hour rule or 10 year rule and how deliberate practice over many years plays the biggest role with achieving world-class excellence. Here is a short excerpt taken from Dr. Balyi’s paper, Sport System Building and Long-term Athlete Development in British Columbia, that will help to briefly explain the 10,000 hour rule. Scientific research has concluded that it takes eight to twelve years of training for a talented athlete to reach elite levels (Bloom, 1985; Ericsson et al., 1993; Ericsson and Charness, 1994). This is called the ten year or 10,000 hour rule. For athletes, coaches and parents this translates as slightly more than three hours of practice daily for ten years (Salmela, 1998). Unfortunately, parents, and coaches in many sports still approach training with an attitude best characterized as the “peaking by Friday” approach (Balyi and Hamilton, 1999). We now know that a long-term commitment to training is required to produce elite athletes in all sports. What is the “Ten Year Rule”? The Ten Year Rule simply states that in any sport, the average world-class performer or athlete has a minimum of 10,000 hours or 10 years of personal practice prior to becoming an elite performer. However, additional research has pointed out that the 10,000 hours of practice is not enough in and of itself. In addition to the time requirement, the practice must meet some rigid criteria: 1.) Practice with an explicit goal of getting much better. Research shows that deliberate practice with specific goals in mind lead to higher levels of performance and longer retention of the skills that are being developed. 2.) Stay in the moment. Be present. When you are focused and “in the moment” your neural networks fire more intensely and accurately than just “going through the motions.” 3.) Get as much feedback as possible. Don’t avoid criticism and feedback. All great performers require great coaching. Seek out criticism when possible. 4.) Continually build mental models of your situation. Understand what you are doing from a global view to help keep the key elements of growth and development in the forefront of your mind. 5.) Do steps 1-4 regularly, not sporadically. An ongoing focus on excellence breeds…excellence. In closing, ask yourself how much better you will do if you set specific goals which you measure against the benchmarks of excellence and quality. Once you set goals, you can make value judgments against your actions and how you spend your time. What have you done today that has taken you one step closer to your goal? Is it really a goal or is it just a dream? I would suggest to create a time log of what you do in an entire day to help move you towards your goal. Please note that sample logs are provided at the bottom of this article. Here is what you do: each time you start a new activity, you stop and take a quick note of the action you are taking and the time it took. This will cause you to become present in the moment (step 2 above), and you may even find yourself making value judgments on the fly and choosing to do the things that are more important to you! If you don’t know what is important to you click here, to start that process. At the end of the day, you can do a quick review to see how well you did and make any remaining value judgments about your actions. The key is to make comparisons such as, “Was spending my time on X more important than Y and why?” I typically only do a time log as described in the article once as a baseline and then again as needed if I see in my daily log that I am starting to drift away from my goals. The daily log I keep is very basic with no detail included; it just serves as a overview of what was done on any given day. Becoming world-class at anything takes an uncommon dedication and commitment to excellence. It requires you to get in the driver’s seat of your life. Decide if you are a driver. Commit. And follow the steps outlined above. No passengers allowed!
Taken from here