What does it take to become a magician?
Do you really need natural talent?
This episode of the excellent Freakonomics Radio Podcast is gold dust for magicians. Is “talent” completely overrated when someone wants to become a magician? What if it was the quality of your practice that made 99% of the difference in mastering any magic trick? Deliberate practice may well be the REAL SECRET magicians should keep. In this podcast, research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of practice for decades, reveals what he has learned.
From the podcast:
ERICSSON: I think there’s really nothing magical about the 10,000 hours practice rule. Just the amount of experience performing may in fact have very limited chances to improve your performance. The key seems to be that deliberate practice, where you’re actually working on improving your own performance — that is the key process, and that’s what you need to try to maximize.
DUBNER: You write that this rule, or the number, really — 10,000, nice, big round number — is “irresistibly appealing.” “Unfortunately,” you write, “this rule, which is the only thing many people today know about the effects of practice, is wrong in several ways.”
ERICSSON: Well, the one thing that I’m mostly concerned about is, and I’ve met a lot people who are counting hours that they’re doing something and then assuming here that accumulating enough hours will eventually make them experts. Because I think that is a fundamental, incorrect view that is so different from what we’re proposing — namely, that you intentionally have to increase your performance, and you have to be guided, ideally by a teacher, that would allow you now to incrementally improve. So that idea that people actually think that they’re going to get better when they’re not — that, I find, to be the most troubling.