Deliberate Practice

The expertise exhibited by individuals in various careers or duties has elicited significant debate on the concept of deliberate practice. There is significantly difficulty in distinguishing expertise from talent in some instances. The obvious reason for this is that audience sometimes sees actions of an expert as natural when handling a given issue. Accumulated experience can refine one to do things with simplicity in the view of other people hence almost undefined boundary between talent and knowledge.

The major controversy that surrounds the relationship between deliberate practice and performance is the direct-effect attribution. In other words, one faction of researchers attaches show of expertise solely to regular practice. The other faction critic this argument and brings in the extraneous factors that may as well contribute to the refined delivery of an individuals in any assignment. In most cases, the show of effortless and seamless performance of say Musician easily dupes people to term them talented. However, the contribution of regular deliberate practice cannot be underestimated. In essence, besides innate ability to perform a given craft, training is central to sustainability and remaining relevant with changing circumstances and dynamic body needs.

Malcolm Gladwell’s publication Outliers emphasizes the critical understanding of deliberate practice. It is worth to note from Malcolm’s 10,000 hours rule that mere training does not yield better performance. Instead, one must learn to master the skills of a particular field of interest for about 2-3 hours on a regular basis. From Malcolm’s point of argument, taking the 10,000hours without critical understanding of the craft-specific training may not achieve anything. Expertise is seen as subject of deliberate practice (James 7). Malcolm asserts the idea advanced by Ericsson that regular training on specific task overtime empowers an individual to master diverse approach of doing it in a way that would appear simple. The other question that many people fail to understand is the actual meaning of deliberate practice. One may ask what it takes to satisfy the conditions for deliberate practice. Kathy Sierra offers an insightful definition of deliberate practice in line with Malcolm’s 10,000 hour rule.

In the view of Kathy, one needs not to strain in training but, rather allocate an average of 2-3 hours per session in learning a given task. Consistent adherence to the sessional training eventually adds up to make longer time for in-depth knowledge. In other words, expertise is accumulation of routine training on smaller skills that improve one’s performance over time. For each session, one should be able to perfect on the task by marginal gain on skill and ease execution. Considering every other session as the leverage for improvement improves the way one can perform task and gives a practical and tangible value to the 10,000 hour rule.

There are three basics questions one must ask and seek answer in an attempt to reap fruits of deliberate practice. Most importantly are the fundamentals of the task. In essence, every task has rules and regulations in which one has to confine actions. It is therefore critical to understand that moving forwards is only possible if there is a ground to stand on and fundamentals is it. Asking oneself about progress in terms of skills acquisition is also key in fortifying the outcome of deliberate practice. Although critics of Malcolm’s theory points out its emphasis on finish line, one needs to answer the question on to “what next”. Ericsson is of the idea that deliberate practice is a sufficient explanation to achieving expertise in a given task. According to this school of thought, even talented people are likely to falter in their competitiveness if they fail to put in more time for practice. Random selection of globally acclaimed experts in Sports, Music, and management exhibit convergent characteristics in terms of regular training hours input (Hambrick 34).

For instance, those who take up music at later years in life may not closely match those that embrace it from childhood. The obvious reason in the opinion of Ericsson is that from childhood one has invested much time focusing on improving skills on various aspects of performance, on and off stage. Further research into the subject points out some loopholes in Ericsson’s view. Individual performance cannot form a linear relationship with practice only, however, other extraneous variable like genetic affiliation play role particularly in Music and sports. Eriksson’s idea can therefore, only hold in other tasks such management which can be learnt and perfected over time provided one stick to the organizational policy.

Psychological orientation towards a given activity boosts one’s memory hence help in training. It is on this base of reasoning that deliberate training becomes task specific. One cannot achieve much by gambling with more than one task in the guise of deliberate practice. The bottom line is that association with a particular task perfects craftsmanship. Boredom on one skill on the same task is another compelling factor that motivates innovation each session. Geoffrey Colvin is of the idea that the concept of talent is exaggerated. In that respect, this great editor emphasizes the factor of choice as primary path to exceptional performance (Geoffrey 3).

According to Geoffrey, repeated experiments indicate that one would not perform exceptionally before engaging in intensive training. However, Geoffrey points out that presence of talent cannot be ruled out but may sometimes be deemed irrelevant. Although some successful people like Warren Buffet claim being born with their exceptional traits, Geoffrey dismisses this argument and emphasizes the notion of more hours of reading and other training to attain such scale of performance. Argument of other researchers converges with this idea by demystifying the innate theory of success. Deliberate practice is blend of activities that sums up to create a dynamic, sustainable, and consistent performance.

Brooke Macnamara gives a contradicting view in reference to other psychologists. In his work, deliberate practice is not the absolute path to success. Although Brooke Macnamara recognize the relevance of deliberate practice, but is not of the view that it should serve as the ultimate standard of exceptional performance (Macnamara,et al.31). Although statistical and theoretical results show higher correlation between performance and deliberate practice, Macnamara ask for more alternatives. His idea is that there exist other unidentified factors that explain expertise in tasks across people. In fact, Macnamara introduce the role of age in skills perfection since memory is a function of time. This sheds new research light into the debate on other variables that explain excellence in a given task.

Although conclusive research has not been done in this topic, the centrality of deliberate practice continues to elicit mixed reactions among scholars. One issue that attracts almost unanimous agreement is that successful people exhibit unique internal motivation of regular training. The arguments that counter this fact are progressively gaining mileage but none has proved absolute and decisive to explain what it takes to stand out among the crowd in terms of expertise.

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