10,000 Hours Rule: Insight From Deliberate Practice

So the theory goes, as outlined in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success: practice “deliberately” (stretching your skills in new directions) for 10,000 hours, and you can become an expert in your field.  For those who don’t want to do the math: that’s 5 years of 40 hour work weeks, with two weeks of vacation each year… a long apprenticeship, no doubt.  

The attached articles add more texture to this argument, showing in subsequent studies that the level of structure in the field of endeavor plays a large role in the efficacy of the practice (good for classical piano, not so good for rock-and-roll).  Nonetheless, it’s a good reminder that expertise in a difficult, structured field takes time, effort, and dedication.  It’s why we seek out experts in fields like medicine, law, religion, and, yes, finance and investing.  In the age of social media influence, where mass opinion via “Likes” and “5 star ratings” seemingly determines truth, be careful of the counsel you take.  I doubt many of those pundits put in 10 hours, let alone 10k.  In sports, that’s probably the reason I prefer coaches’ polls.  Collectively, we probably need to start evaluating how we evaluate… and value expert opinion in the important areas of our lives.



Love or Money?

While 79% of respondents from a recent survey indicated that love was the primary motivator for marriage, 58% wouldn’t marry someone with significant debt.  Before you tie the knot, make sure you understand the effect of your partner’s financial condition on your joint status as a married couple.  Hopefully love always wins, but make sure it’s informed love…