Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

10,000 Hours: Myth or Magic?

This month’s issue takes a closer look at the now famous 10,000 hour rule- the amount of practice time needed to qualify for excellence. Although a daunting number, some may find it worth their while if it will make them brilliant and successful. Unfortunately, like most skills, just showing up and counting the minutes is not enough – by a long shot. In fact, people at the top of their game are continually logging hours, easily surpassing that 10,000 number.

Upon first hearing this theory, my initial reaction was “but what if you spend all those hours doing something incorrectly and without any improvement or change?”

Even in our instant gratification digital society, there is no short cut to high level performance. Quality vs. quantity still matters. Many people feel content when they reach the “bottom up” (body to brain ) system when a learned skill becomes automatic (although this comes in very handy when actually performing). High achievers however tend to continually return to the top down (brain to body) system as they train, correcting errors from feedback and forever trying to improve. If full, deliberate attention is not paid during practice, the number of hours becomes irrelevant.

This whole top down vs bottom up concept parallels for me the fixed vs growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck believes that “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life”. Those with a fixed mindset establish who they are and what they can do early on with the belief that there is no possibility of change or future potential – you are who you are. The growth mindset , on the other hand, views set-backs as challenges, not failures. Instead of life being a game of either win or lose, it becomes a journey of experiences. Those with this  mindset improve their skills and enhance their lives through passionate, concentrated effort and a continual seeking of knowledge.

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly will deserve” (Debbie Millman). Those who hunger for constant approval but miss the bar, will not surmount the barrier of failure. If however, you believe in building a resilience that moves you forward through disappointment, your potential will grow and find its fullness – maybe even greatness!

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