Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Could you be an Olympian and you don't know it?

While watching the Olympics - seeing hero's rise and victims fall. I can't help but reflect on what it takes to be the best in the world.

Could you be the best already - and not know it?

How good was Usain Bolt at Cricket? Turned out he was much better at just running. Fastest man on the earth fast.

A few years ago, writer, Malcolm Gladwell came up with the concept of "10,000 hours". Which was the magic number of time it would take for you to be the best at your field.
This was all covered in his book "Outliers".

When you think about this number. It makes sense. 3 hours a day for 10 years. If you start an exercise now and do it every day, to the best of your ability. It should take you many years to get to the top. But 10?

Should we be taking 10-year-olds to the track/pool, every day, for 3-hour training sessions to make them an olympiad? Turns out the answer is no. Well not according to this study.

Please note also the Gladwell also says his rule apply to sports. But yet parents such as myself still take my child to the pool because practise makes perfect.
Well, that is a more simple rule. Say you are fortunate to be the 0.1% of the world that is a natural savant in a particular domain. Then all you have to do is find that domain. For the rest of use mere mortals - you have to earn respect in any domain you touch and prove that you suck at it.
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Yes you heard me right - all that practise you are doing. Is to prove that you suck at something, and that is not a bad thing. You see right now you are surrounded in a world of unknowns. With training you will find out if your efforts are rewarded (which may or may not prove that you can be the best in the world) or more ideally not rewarded (proving that all practise is doing is upgrading your muscle memory).

So you need practise - to prove that you can be great in something. But not 10,000 hours. Just enough to prove to yourself that you can keep getting gains.
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Of course, if you find something you enjoy - you never have to practise a single second. Unless you want to be the best in the world......then there is a thing called cross-training and that really hurts.

and on that note - I have concluded I am unfit and I need to remedy it. Also my son is getting really good at swimming.
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