Outliers 10,000 Hour Rule: Did He Get It Wrong?
It was a number one best seller on The New York Times and The Globe and Mail.
It held this position for eleven consecutive weeks.
Written by Malcolm Gladwell, his non-fiction book, Outliers: The Story of Success, examines the factors that contribute to success.
Outliers as Gladwell defines them are people who are exceptional and do not fit into our normal understanding of achievement. These are people who are smart, rich and successful and operate beyond the statistical norm. He offers examples such as the Beatles and Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates.
The main theme throughout Outliers is the “10,000-hour rule” which says that to reach expert status you need 10,000 hours of study (which equates to roughly 5 years if you spend 40 hours per week on just the one skill you seek to master).
The “10,000 hour rule” is based on the research of psychologist Anders Ericsson, but according to Ericsson as documented in a new book by Daniel Goleman, it turns out that there is a big piece missing in Gladwell’s book.
In fact, it seems Gladwell got it wrong.
In Goleman’s book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Ericsson says that, “You don’t get the benefits from mechanical repetition, but by adjusting your execution over and over to get closer to your goal.” Ericsson said that the secret to success is “deliberate practice” where you are guided by a mentor or coach that takes you through “well-designed training.”
In other words, the feedback matters and so does the focus, not just the hours as Gladwell states.
For example, if you want to improve your golf swing, hitting the ball off a tee with the wrong mechanics over and over isn’t going to improve your fairway percentage or make you the longest hitter on your team. This seems logical, after all how can you become better if you’re practicing the wrong thing?
But, if you have an expert golf coach who can identify what you’re doing wrong, who then gives you a plan of what you need to concentrate on, and continues to evaluate your swing, adjusting as necessary, then you can improve.
If you continue practicing without feedback or evaluation, what tends to happen is “expensive experience”. You waste time, effort and money doing the wrong thing.
The only way to get a return-on-investment from “expensive experience” is to extract the “principle” by which you can make future decisions and prevent the same outcomes.
Another golf coach I know says “Golfers with 30 years of experience are no better off than golfers with 3 months’ experience if they aren’t adept at identifying, extracting and using “principles.”
He adds, “I think it’s very, very, very rare for a successful golfer not to have had at least a couple of profoundly influential mentors in their lives. This tells you to seek them out, pay them if necessary; get coaching.”
In the book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maltz says you need “corrective feedback” because no one and nothing ever goes on a perfectly arrow-straight course to its target. Instead there are little zigs and zags and course corrections.
Goleman agrees. He says that this is where amateurs differ from the most successful experts. Amateurs get good to a point. But the most successful people keep paying attention and actively concentrate on correcting what is not working and on refining things. In his book, Goleman says, “The secret to smart practice boils down to focusing on the particulars of feedback from a seasoned coach.”
It boils down to this. If you want to eliminate “expensive experience,” find an expert mentor or coach who will give you feedback so you can correctly identify the principle you need, apply it and continue to refine it until you reach excellence.
So what does this mean to you?
You need to get a coach that can look at what you’re doing and give you feedback on what changes you need to make in order to improve your iron play, short game, tee shots, or a hundred other things that have to do with being a champion golfer, which will in turn allow you to win more tournaments faster, because the truth is, you don’t need to wait 5 years to master something (and the flip side of that is even if you spend 5 years on a skill, without these corrections, you may never “master” that skill.)
As you start this new year see what opportunities are around you for getting a mentor or coach or joining a group of other top performing jr. players. BocaRatonGolfLesson.com is currently accepting applications into the Elite Junior Coaching Program where top juniors get together in order to guide each other to success.
While BocaRatonGolfLesson.com has incredible mentoring, coaching and Elite Junior programs that you can take advantage of, even if you don’t do it here, do it somewhere if you’re serious about making the big leaps in your golf game, rather than simply learning by “expensive experience.”
NOTE: An ancient proverb goes, “Better to spend one day with a master than 10,000 years of study.” If you are ready to bust down your roadblocks, awaken your dream golf game and build an peak golf performance experience like you’ve seen the most successful junior golfers have…then mentoring might be for you. Call Stan Moore at 561-699-2616 between 9:30 am-6:30 pm (U.S. Eastern) and ask for a 30 minute “Elite Junior” Consultation (free to newsletter subscribers) where Stan will take you through four areas of your golf game and help you identify where you can experience the most growth in the quickest way possible.
How I Ended Up In The Top 2 Percent…And How You Can Too
Besides teaching golf, one of the things I enjoy doing is actually playing golf.
I began playing golf at the age of 10 and improved my game.
And while I’m passionate about golf, reflecting back, it took a lot more than my passion to continue playing at a high level. It took more than my devotion to practice and the many hours I competed on the course too.
Sure effort was a big part of it, but without someone to guide me…give me feedback on my set-up and swing technique…help me with a golf fitness plan…give me advice about how to use course management, etc., the truth is, I wouldn’t have gone very far.
One of the ways I differed from players who didn’t play past high school was that I continued seeking advice and listening to it too. Sure, I knew a lot by then, but I knew if I sought advice and took action on it…I could continue to improve.
I’ve continued to find this to be a similar scenario in all aspects of life.
Those who seek advice, guidance and take it, rise to the top.
For me, that has come from mentors.
What about you? Do you have a coach or mentor to help guide you and your golf game to get better?
In my previous article about the book Outliers and the 10,000 Hour Rule I discussed how having a mentor is a key difference between overwhelming success and mediocrity.
If you’re at all curious about the idea of having a mentor, here’s some information on how to determine if mentoring is right for you:
If you have trouble implementing a practice schedule. If you are like most junior golfers, you are very busy which makes it difficult to stick to a time schedule and get things done. Having a mentor will not only keep you accountable, but he/she will help you identify what’s most important to focus on at any given point. This narrows your focus making it much easier to get things done.
If you have questions about what to do and no one to answer them. Mentors with professional golf instruction background can not only be the one to turn to when you have questions, but they can give you advice based on their past experience as well as the experience of their past mentees and other golfers they’ve come across.
If you have no one to brainstorm ideas. Brainstorming often produces much better ideas and can help eliminate ideas that possibly shouldn’t be done. However, in order for brainstorming to be effective, you need someone who “gets it.”
If you are always running yourself ragged beating balls without a purpose. As a golfer, it’s common to fall into the trap of hitting a lot of balls as fast as you can. As a result, you end up running yourself ragged trying to beat balls. A good mentor will help you identify where to devote your time and energy and can save you time by sharing his experience…such as which things will be most beneficial, which are a waste of your time, and the best resources to assist you so you don’t have to do all the research yourself.
If you sometimes end up having higher scores because you become results focused instead of process focused. That’s why you’re a competitor—because you love to win and it’s all to easy to picture yourself accepting the trophy with your new record low score before the round is over. But that tends to make you results focused and you tend to hit poor shots down the stretch. Or you are rushing so much at the end that you change your routine and strategy that was giving you success. A mentor will help you stay focused on the process and keep you accountable so you’re not rushing at the end of a great round.
What makes a good mentor?
The role of a good mentor is to help guide you to make the right choices. Your role as the mentee is to listen to and act upon the advice given. After all, if you aren’t taking action, then the advice doesn’t do you much good.
A good mentor will…
• Encourage you and work to keep you motivated.
• Hold you accountable to do what you say you’ll do.
• Point out where you are making a mistake.
• Guide you to make the right decisions.
• Help you make a plan based on experience that often provides a shortcut to reaching your goals faster.
Common mistakes people make when they work with a mentor.
They stop because they think they know enough. This is what separates the great golfers from the pack. Great golfers never stop learning and looking for how they can improve their game.
They don’t listen to their mentor’s advice. You have to be prepared to take your mentor’s advice, otherwise nothing will happen. After all, a mentor can only do so much. You need to put the effort in to execute the items you discuss and agree upon.
They aren’t prepared for their mentoring session. To get the most out of mentoring, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish and communicate those items with your mentor prior to the start of the training. Also keeping your mentor updated on what’s happening in your golf game, so they can prepare information relevant to what you need.
Everyone can use a helping hand in golf, no matter how successful you are. Mentors can’t do it all for you, but they will help guide you to bigger success—faster than you imagined possible.
*What’s HOT at BocaRatonGolfLesson.com* We’ve all experienced mentoring at some point in our life…from a teacher, a boss, a parent…it only makes sense we use it in our golf game. If you want to take your golf game to new levels…have more fun…struggle less…or get better at implementing your changes fast…then the Elite Jr. Golf Program is right for you.
We have a limited number of spots available in this special…very affordable program. Get more information and reserve your spot now before they are all gone. For more information call Stan at 561-699-2616.