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Gerald Boggs - Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 12:54pmOT: Sandbox YAK
10.000 hours. I heard about this again this summer. What was put forward is not simply doing something for 10.000 hours, but deliberate practice with a mentor or coach working with you.
Here's a quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal:
"The most successful performers in any area, he writes, engage in "deliberate practice." This is activity specifically designed, ideally by an expert teacher, to improve performance beyond a person's current comfort and ability level. These activities are repeatable, provide clear feedback and are highly demanding mentally, even when largely physical......In explaining the development of extraordinary talent, both Mr. Gladwell and Mr. Colvin zero in on seminal research by Florida State Professor Anders Ericsson and colleagues that suggests the threshold for world-class expertise in any discipline -- music, sports, chess, science, business management -- is about 10 years, or 10,000 hours, of persistent, focused training and experience."
I thought about this and looked at my driving as an example. I have driven thousands of hours in my live. Knowing my mileage of the last ten years and using 40 mph as the average, it works out to 7500 hours. Yet, in spite of all this driving, I have driving skills that are best described as adequate. Why, because I simply drive. I don't work at making myself better. If just hours logged in, was a prime factor in skill development, I would be a excellent driver.
I've started to think about this more and more. This year, as last year, I've done quite a bit of training and taking of blacksmith classes. Yet I don't feel my skills are developing as much as I thought they would. Yes, I've gained a wealth of knowledge, but that knowledge has not translated into skill. I think in my desire to become skilled. I moved forward too quickly. I developed adequate skill of basic movements and then rushed on to more diffecult tasks.
My idea is to step back a little and concentrate on making simple items. By simple I mean the most basic of forged ironwork: wall hooks, fire pokers, etc. I plan on making the same hook over and over again, until I can make that hook look like the last one and do it without having to try. No free shaping allow, each hook must look exactly like all the rest.
Think about the farriers of past. Many times the blacksmith we have thought most skilled, started out as farriers. They made horse shoes over and over again. Repeating the same process over and over again. Each and every one, had to be right.
Anyway, this is a conversation I've been having with myself.