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Hard work pays off. If you want to be good at math, reading or science, you need to think like a professional athlete or musician. What do athletes and musicians have in common? Practice. To become really good at something, you need to practice. In fact, some people believe that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Read more about it here.
Khan Academy has practice exercises and instructional videos that will help you get to the next level in math. Go to khanacademy.org and log in! If you need a user name and password, ask Mr. Randall or a parent to help you get started.
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In the book “Outliers,” author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. How does Gladwell arrive at this conclusion? And, if the conclusion is true, how can we leverage this idea to achieve greatness in our professions? Gladwell studied the lives of extremely successful people to find out how they achieved success.
Violins in Berlin
In the early 1990s, a team of psychologists in Berlin, Germany studied violin students. Specifically, they studied their practice habits in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. All of the subjects were asked this question: “Over the course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?”All of the violinists had begun playing at roughly five years of age with similar practice times. However, at age eight, practice times began to diverge. By age twenty, the elite performers averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice each, while the less able performers had only 4,000 hours of practice. The elite had more than double the practice hours of the less capable performers.
Natural Talent: Not Important
One fascinating point of the study: No “naturally gifted” performers emerged. If natural talent had played a role, we would expect some of the “naturals” to float to the top of the elite level with fewer practice hours than everyone else. But the data showed otherwise. The psychologists found a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement. No shortcuts. No naturals.