Ten Thousand Hours to Mastery

I’ve been reading Daniel J. Levitin’s book This Is Your Brain on Music. In particular, I was interested to learn of the ten-thousand hours theory of mastery…that it takes that long to become “world class” at something.

The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert–in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people don’t seem to get anywhere when they practice, and why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others. But no one has yet fond a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.

Of course, my question is, how long does it take to become “pretty good”?

And, after searching Google, I see I’m pretty late to this party; there are further discussions in the context of game development, and personal productivity.

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