Monday, July 16, 2012

The 10,000 Hour Rule

I loved watching Serena Williams and Roger Federer win Wimbledon again earlier this month.  Both are over 30 - imagine that!  But they are also expert, world class, phenoms, whatever you want to call it.  Writer Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point) uses his educated and well-researched logic and makes an argument for what he calls the 10,000 Hour Rule in his book Outliers.  Gladwell argues that you need 10,000 hours of practice to be a phenom. 

I love his book Outliers:  The Story of Success and it's full of cool observations that no one else has thought of but are well researched and actually make sense. So what is an outlier?

According to Gladwell, an "Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book he's interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.

We won't talk about many of the other chapters (they are all good), but this one has great meaning for sports and also for great riders.

Wonder how many hours young Reed Kessler has under belt.  She turns 18 this month but she has been riding forever.

( photo)

Here she is during her pony days.......

(usef photo)

Think about some of the others:  McLain Ward, Margie Engel, Beezie Patton, Karen O'Connor, Buck Davidson; all have been riding forever.

Gladwell argues that it takes about 10 years to get in 10,000 hours.  He uses examples of chess players, classical musicians (who learn their craft starting at an early age) and also the Beatles.  He claims that the Beatles were so good because they were able to hone their craft day after day, for months on end, 8 hours a day in Hamburg before they were famous.  This helped make them great.

I do agree that you can't be great or even pretty good in this day an age without a lot of practice. Riding is certainly like that. Those who want immediate gratification in this sport will be humbled over and over again.
Please take a look at this really interesting book if you have not seen it! 

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