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Conquer Life - The Science of Expertise


The master musician plays his violin to a crowd listening in hushed admiration. The beautiful ballerina prances across a stage, making each movement with finesse. A professional athlete competes for the title in his sport after years of intense training.

What do these stories have in common? They’re all stories from a field of research that seeks to understand expertise. After digging through the scientific studies on expertise, there’s one simple concept that stands out: deliberate practice. On average 10,000 hours of deliberate practice over 10 years is required to bring a person with no skill to the pinnacle of his field. Mastery across many domains has been studied extensively by Anders Ericsson and others like him. The 10,000 hour concept was further popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers which was where I first ran into the concept.

In this article, I’ll explain a few relevant discoveries in the field of expertise research to help you achieve higher levels of performance. I will also question the relevance of a 10,000 hour requirement and offer you hints on how to reduce the time required to achieve expertise.