Is the 10,000 hour rule valid?

For English class we had to read a chapter in a book called Temple Grandin’s chapter “From the Margins to the Mainstream,” in The Autistic Brain. We had to choose a topic in the book that we wanted to research I chose the 10,000 hour rule. I was interested in this topic because the way that Temple Grandin disagreed and showed her opinion on the rule made me want to learn more about it. This relates to her chapter because there was a whole paragraph talking about how she felt about the rule. My research question that I chose was is the 10,000 hour rule valid? The 10,000 hour rule is not valid because the hours wasn’t even based on calculations. The creator just chosen it arbitrarily. Also practice is only 12% of success, not even half of it.

The 10,000 hour rule, a rule that means if you do something for 10,000 hours you’re an expert. The rule was created by Malcolm Gladwell when he wrote a book called Outliers in 2008. According to it states “To notch up 10,000 hours it would require about 90 minutes of practice for 20 years…being the best requires a lot of time and effort only some can do it”(Bradley). This tells me the real calculations of how long it would really take to accomplish 10,000 hours and, what it takes to be the best.

The rule is not accurate.There is nothing special or magical and the ten thousand hours no math calculations were proven. This tells me that there is no numerical evidence to this rule. Also practice does determine success but only a 12 percent; mostly talent and skill determines success. For example “Practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performances in various domains… practice is only a predictor of success in fields that have stable structures”(Bradley).This shows the stats of how much impact practice has on success. Furthermore, another example to support my claim is “…stop believing in it sure practice is important but other factors(age? Intelligence? talent?) appear to play a bigger role”(Sonian). Therefore this means that there are things that have a bigger impact on success than practice. Another example for why practice isn’t the most important part of success is “If you practice something you will almost certainly see great improvement but you have only scratched the surface”(Silicon). This shows if you practice a lot that it’s not the only thing you need to do to be an expert you have only begun. Practice is important to become successful.  It is not the only thing you have to do it takes hard work and determination aka “No pain no gain”  to become an expert at something not just doing it for 10,000 hours.

As a result hours of practice are important but will not improve as quickly as how much work and focus you put into it. For example, “Hours and hours of practice are necessary for great performance but not sufficient”(Popova). This give the impression that even though you practice for a long time it is not enough to be an expert. Another statement is “If you spend time practicing by spending time doing a task you will not improve as quickly as you would if you focus on what you want to achieve in that time practicing”(Silicon). This tells me if you’re just practicing something make sure you actually are focusing and trying your hardest to improve if you fail make sure you keep trying different things and don’t give up. Lastly “ How much you improve is up to you don’t worry if you don’t have 10,000 hours to practice any amount of time will give you good results”(Silicon). This shows you don’t need to calculate the hours you practice it’s about how much effort you put into it. Therefore, work hard and practice you can improve in anything.

In conclusion the 10,000 hour rule is not accurate. This debate is similar to nature vs nurture because Gladwell is saying that traits, genetics, and talent that is inherited are irrelevant to success, that practice is superior. I disagree with his claim It all needs to be combined practice, talent, hard work, and dedication determines success not just practice. This doesn’t change how I see things because I always thought it was not accurate. The impact that is has is to really work hard at what I do. To put time practice and be determined to do things that I am passionate about.


Works Cited

Bradley,David.Why Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule is wrong. BBC Future, n.d. Accessed 6 March, 2017.

Baer,Drake.New study destroys Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule.Business Insider, 3 July 2014, . Accessed 6 March, 2017.

Silicon,Nick.The 10,000-Hour Rule Was Wrong, According to the People Who Wrote the Original Study. Inc, 9th June, 2016, . Accessed 6 March, 2017.

Popova,Maria. Debunking the Myth of the 10,000 Hours Rule: What It Actually Takes to Reach Genius Level Excellence. Brain Pickings, n.d, . Accessed 6 March, 2017.

Sonian,Smith. The 10,000 Hour Rule Is Not Real. Smart News, 20th August, 2014, . Accessed 6 March, 2017.


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