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Argumentative essay

The 10,000-Hour Rule was initially put forward by a psychologist from Sweden and it was later made popular by Malcolm Gladwell’s Outsiders which asserts that extraordinary expertise needs at least 10,000 hours of practice prior to rising to the t...Read More

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Argumentative essay

The 10,000-Hour Rule was initially put forward by...

The 10,000-Hour Rule was initially put forward by a psychologist from Sweden and it was later made popular by Malcolm Gladwell’s Outsiders which asserts that extraordinary expertise needs at least 10,000 hours of practice prior to rising to the top. Gladwell goes ahead to use anecdotes as well as examples in demonstrating this rule. He uses examples such as the Beatles and Bill Gates, whom he asserts, accumulated more than 10,000 hours to perfect what they do. The rule implies that greatness is within any individual’s reach, as long as one can put it a lot of time in mastering their preferred choice (Susan et al. 13). Nevertheless, scientists have since challenged the use of anecdotes as well as examples by Gladwell, proposing that their validity is questionable. There is some credibility in the scientists’ challenging of Gladwell’s application of anecdotes as well as examples.

The question as to what makes an individual rise to stardom in various fields is a subject of one of psychology’s ancient debates. There is no person who highly succeeds with the absence of innate talent. To achieve something implies that one ought to have a combination of talent and preparation. Nevertheless, Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule” implies that preparation plays the largest role in the achievement, thus underrating the role of innate talent towards achievement. In Gladwell’s examples of the early access of Bill Gates in the computing world, which eventually made him become an icon, it is true that the preparation played a key role towards his great achievements. Nevertheless, other factors come into play, and that is, the innate talent, which Gladwell supposedly overlooked (Humphries).

Psychologists have since then examined different studies in finding out the relationship that exist between practice, as well as performance. These studies have been carried out to find out if there is any correlation between practice and performance. The results show that the practice indeed does play a role in one's ability to succeed in a given area. Nevertheless, it is dependent on the nature of the task. Different tasks have been assigned different proportions in terms of the dependency of practice for one to succeed. There are many things that facilitate the greatness of an individual in a particular field. Personality factors such as intrinsic motivation are determinants of a person’s success (Attwood).

There is no substantial evidence to support Gladwell’s “10,000-hour principle.” Gladwell defended his 10,000-hour principle by use of anecdotes as well as examples. During the late 1800’s, Galton, the father of scientific study of intelligence examined the genealogical records that were recorded by hundreds of successful people such as scholars, musicians, or artists and arrived at a conclusion that greatness has a tendency of running in families. For instance, he was able to count for more than 20 outstanding musicians within the Bach family. As a result, he made a conclusion that experts are “born.” Later, behaviorist John Watson provided another approach by asserting that experts are “made,” by arguing that he can take an infant and make him/her to achieve greatness in any specialized fields such as medicine, law, or even engineering (Forje 70). The point of view that experts are made has had a great domination in the field of psychology for a long time.

Gladwell’s use of anecdotes, as well as example, work with psychology very well. When psychologists discuss concerning deliberate practice, they refer to practicing in a manner that pushes one's skill set to a great extent. This explains the reasons why Gladwell uses the example of the Beatles’ many hours of practice made them become the greatest band ever to exist. Their success was achieved through all-night performance shows in Hamburg. A meta-analysis study identified 88 studies that gathered activities that illustrated deliberate practice with the measures of skills. A number of studies were analyzed, revealing the average correlation that exist between the two variables more precisely as compared to the result of whatever individual study. With only a few exemptions, deliberate practice positively correlates with the skill level. This implies that people who practices a lot more tend to portray a better performance. Deliberate practice left most of the difference in skill without being explained. In actual terms, what this proof implies is that accumulating a lot of considerable practice does not guarantee that one turn out to be an expert. There are other factors that matter as well.

Gladwell’s use of anecdotes as well as the example in supporting the 10,000-hour principle can be challenged in several ways. It is certain that a deliberate practice is significant, both from the statistical as well as theoretical viewpoint. Deliberate practice is merely a forecaster of success in areas that have stable structures. For instance, in games such as tennis and chess, the rules do not change, and as a result, one can study until he/she becomes the best in a specific field. However, in fields that are less stable such as entrepreneurship, rules are prone to change. For instance, Richard Branson began in the record business and rapidly branched into fields that are beyond music.