Everyone Has the Ability to Do Great Things
November 11, 2006
A variety of scientific studies seem to indicate that success is connected more to hard work and training than natural ability.
British researchers conclude their extensive study of the subject by saying:
"The evidence we have surveyed ... does not support the [notion that] excelling is a consequence of possessing innate gifts."
Scores of studies conducted over roughly the last 15 years have found no evidence of high-level performance without experience or practice. Even the most accomplished people need about 10 years of hard work before they become greats in their field, a pattern seen so frequently that researchers have dubbed it the 10-year rule.
Even Bobby Fischer, who became a chess grandmaster at 16, had nine years of intensive study first.
And the 10-year rule is considered a minimum rather than an average; in many fields, including music and literature, 20 or 30 years' experience is often needed. The key seems to be a process called deliberate practice: regular, focused, intense efforts to improve toward measurable goals.