This is just nonsense. Fischer started playing when very young and it is highly unlikely he was strong when he started. He studied like crazy before he played games in public.
The 10,000 hours of practice was a sine-qua-non to becoming an expert, but he never claimed it was necessarily sufficient.
Expert -> (implies) 10,000 hours spent
10,000 hours spent does not imply Expert
Fun fact: my text prediction will not let me Swype permanent at the end of the phrase practice makes...
After the last p is started, there are no other options.
Sports is a little more realistic in that sense. I don’t think anyone believes that if you do exactly what Tom Brady did you will win the Super Bowl.
Too many people focus on aptitude/talent, thinking it's some kind of innate ability to perform better at a given task, but I take it as a tendency to enjoy a certain type of practice. For example, I really don't like drawing, but I forced myself to take a class, and I still suck. That's not because I'm naturally bad at drawing, but because I don't enjoy the process of getting better.
There's a huge difference between developers who have done programming for 10k hours but didn't enjoy it and someone who enjoys it. The first is unlikely to go any deeper than necessary and will always work in a similar role, whereas the latter will explore a variety of concepts and approaches and become capable of solving a wider array of problems. I don't think there's a great divide between good and bad programmers based on "talent", but quality of practice, which can usually be identified by enjoyment of that practice.
And another: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19162386
- definition #1: "talent" doesn't exist or it's achievable by anyone because it's just a learnable skill. Skills can be improved. This is the meaning emphasized by M Gladwell (10000 hours), D Coyle (talent doesn't exist), Carol Dweck "growth mindset", Angela Duckworth "grit", etc.
- definition #2: "talent" is a ranking. This is the meaning emphasized by most people who are "looking for the most talented". E.g. sports teams for athletes, Hollywood for actors, Google/Microsoft for PhDs in mathematics and machine learning, etc.
If you're unaware of both meanings of "talent", you will always misunderstand what the other side is talking about. As a result, people will forever be bikshedding the word "talent" and stay frustrated that they can't convince the other side to change their mind!
The blog author of this thread also leaves out the meta discussion of "talent" and is using definition #2. The blog author (Jacob Kaplan-Moss) in my previous comment uses definition #1.
I don't like this definition, but it is definitely one of them. If it is accurate I think it is in the fact that training / practice from a young age can give an edge that is difficult to overcome later in life. But this would only apply to the top of the top.
In sports even physical attributes can determine peak talent.
Sprinters definitely have a fast twitch advantage that you can't get with any amount of training if you're not born with it. Sure, you can improve your own sprint times up to a point, but you can't really make up the gap. You just choose an event that's better suited for your body type, such as longer distance or throwing, etc. And sprinters can't compete with distance runners either.
Assuming similar amounts of training. If there's a huge difference in training, one might be able to overcome the differences. Particularly if you're more middle distance with decent speed and endurance.
And anyone who disagrees with the claim in #1 would also disagree you can improve talent by #2.
I don't see how clarifying terms would make anyone think they were talking past each other.
My view is that #1 is obviously false, but also that it can be possible to outperform someone with more natural talent by studying or practicing more effectively.
Can you point me to where Carol Dweck says this? I've read a little of her work, but do not recall such a claim. The primary work that made her famous was that emphasizing talent resulted in:
1. A focus on the very narrow area the person is talented in, and being very quick to give up outside of that discipline.
2. The same people who have the talent, when effort is emphasized, do not suffer from this.
And that at times, people with less talent often end up doing better than people in bullet one above in the long run because they're less likely to view short term barriers as made of bricks. But I don't think she ever claimed that such people will do better than those in bullet 2 above.
>Carol Dweck: ", when students had more of a growth mindset, they held the view that talents and abilities could be developed"
An interpretation can be that one can have talent_level=100 which can then be developed into talent_level=200.
In contrast to Dweck, the people emphasizing definition #2 of ranking "talent" are usually talking about the innate aptitude that "can't be taught". Talent is not a "learnable skill" but an unchangeable raw baseline of aptitude.
Dweck is not wrong in how she frames "talent" (hey let's empower people to improve themselves). However, it's worth pointing out that different people attach very different semantics to the word "talent". This makes various books and blog posts look contradictory.
I think she's simply being informal. Right after your quote she says:
>With a growth mindset, kids don’t necessarily think that there’s no such thing as talent or that everyone is the same, but they believe everyone can develop their abilities through hard work, strategies, and lots of help and mentoring from others.
The way I always read her work is: If a person has talent, having a growth mindset is much more likely to realize the talent than a fixed mindset.
No, she explains that talent is not fixed in multiple presentations. To paraphrase one of her examples, "Michael Jordan wasn't particularly talented at basketball; he _became_ talented."
>The way I always read her work is: If a person has talent, having a growth mindset is much more likely to realize the talent than a fixed mindset.
Right and I agree with it but that doesn't change the meta discussion that people leave out about "talent".
She can be "correct" about "developing talent" using that type of framing (which agrees with Gladwell, Coyle, Duckworth, etc) while at the same time she doesn't point out that "talent" is also used by others as a word that describes ranking of innate aptitude which cannot be changed by a growth mindset nor explained by "practice". (For example, an 8-year old child prodigy that has mastered differential calculus even though he didn't have 10000 hours of math practice that the 19-year olds in college still struggling with remedial algebra had.)
The reason I'm pushing back is that as we are talking about talent in the innate sense, there is (AFAIK) no scientifically valid way of measuring it (beyond perhaps a binary measure). So taking a stance either way on whether it can be developed further is a bit problematic. I'd be curious to see how her actual journal papers discuss the matter.
But it has a flip side: "after 10K hours, that's about as good as you're ever going to get". I've easily got 10K hours on the guitar, but I'm no Jimmy Page, nor will I ever be. 10K hours of running? 40 years, carry the one...yeah, probably. Look through my comments, see anything about the Olympics? A few wins at some regional-level races is all I'm ever going to get.
On the other other hand, if you put the time in, you might not become Jimmy Page/Bobby Fischer/Usain Bolt, but I am convinced you'll get competent at whatever you pursue. No musical talent? Bah, sit down for a half hour a day of real practice for a month, tell me how little "talent" you have.
10k hours of fiddling around by yourself will get you somewhere, to be sure.
(Quick math: 10k/5 = 2000, divide that by 365 and you have about five and a half years of spending 5h on your craft every day. Which sounds a lot like “majoring in your craft at a four-year college, then learning how it really works on your first job” to me.)
The article appears to be attributing the difference to genetics alone, which is neither accurate nor a useful line of inquiry. And the article is attempting to argue against a Gladwellized strawman of Ericcson's work, rather than the actual research, which feels intellectually dishonest. Not a fan of this post.
Anyway, I wasted my 20s trying to get good enough at math, when I could've pushed on my talents instead. I really thought it was all about hard work and that I wasn't working hard enough, or maybe that I should've approached the problem from some other angle. Big mistake. Wasted opportunities.
The article says that China is doing good and the US is not doing well in this regard. I think they're both wrong. It's really stupid, and offensive and immoral, to put individuals into boxes. We don't know how the talents of individuals can express themselves to serve the needs of other people. That's why there should always be complete freedom of studying and working, instead of universities and States deciding who can do what job and on what terms.
Eventually I know programming will become a closed profession and I won't have access to it because of my inability to do math despite my ability to ship software. I can't even imagine how much we have lost in other closed fields in terms of productivity due to this belief that you just have to put in the work.
I hope I'll manage to get out of programming before it's too late. Clock is ticking.
I wonder if we evolve kind of similar to ants, which some are just explorers, some hard workers, other just defend the nest.
I think genes are the code that render us inside of the matrix :)
10,000 hours of practice seems like a reasonable gauge of mastery. Its also how you define mastery. Mastery is defined by the people who came before who set the standard. If athletes' top running speed reached 3MPH and I came along and broke the record at 5MPH, I would seem like a master.
But THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS.
Height is an easily observable phenotype, cognition is massively more complex and dependent on many genes that are not well understood. Furthermore, cognitive ability is heavily dependent on upbringing, and cognitive ability develops at different rates for different people.
Not to say that the school system should be cookie cutter, but we in no way have enough knowledge about human cognition to determine a child's career path because of their performance in kindergarten.
At that point, probably not.
Assuming a person is healthy, there's nothing that makes playing in the NBA literally impossible.
Well no, but there's a reason that those short people made it to the NBA, they had other potential that got them there. Mugsy was incredibly fast. If it was all about heart we'd see an equal distribution, unless somehow being taller means you have more heart.
Mugsy choose to capitalize on his "small and fast" talent. It's coaches who make the decision to augment teams with speed.
The article says don't practice or work harder... your talent may be enough.
Too much factors to understand why someone is successful or not, and there is a lot to practice and how you approach it to become an expert to it... acting like skill has a cap is not really gonna help you at all anyway
Practice makes permanent.
Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Sep; 73(3): 627–631.
Published online 2003 Jul 23. doi: 10.1086/377590
PMCID: PMC1180686 PMID: 12879365 ACTN3 'Genotype Is Associated with Human Elite Athletic Performance'
"ACTN3, one of the most thoroughly studied performance genes. In 2003 a seven-scientist team published a study in The American Journal of Human Genetics in which 429 elite Australian athletes were tested for the ACTN3 gene . . .".
General discussion in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sports_Gene