You don’t have to be smart to be good. Practice doesn’t always make perfect.

Web Watch knows quite a few professional sports players, and in the off-season, we regularly see them continuing to practice honing their skills.

They don’t sit around and eat Butterfingers all day – they really do live, breathe the sports that they love getting paid to play.

The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World
The Click Moment:
Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World

Michael Jordan famously would shoot free throw after free throw, even after he led the Chicago Bulls to another championship, just to ensure that he still had that golden touch.  Perhaps Shaq should have practiced just a little bit more.

But maybe that’s just it.  Maybe Shaq DID practice his free throws.

It’s been said that in order to totally and completely master a skill – any skill – that it TAKES 10,000 HOURS WORTH OF PRACTICE to achieve expert status.

You know what?  That’s a lot of bull.

A recent study took a look at that 10,000 hour figure and determined that it was a load of crap.  That practice didn’t necessarily lead to perfection.

In fact, practice only is a part of the equation. For example:

  • in sports, practice only contributed about a 18% improvement
  • in music, practice was just 21% of the difference.
  • and in the majority of professions?  We’re talking a 1% difference

It all comes down to whether the rules of the game (sport, event, musical piece, job function, etc) ever change.  If they don’t change… ever… then YES, practice is a definite part of the equation when it comes to showing improvements.

But in tasks where there are a large number of variables from activity to activity?  A lot of outside forces having influence on the outcome?

That’s when practice is almost impractical to the end result.

So ask yourself – would you rather take the time to practice?  Or would all the practice in the world really end up meaning anything in the end?  What’s it worth to you?