The Mundanity Of Excellence by Daniel Chambliss gave me some solid evidence behind being successful and practice. The main message behind this article was that you can practice as much as you want, but you will be limited to the level at which you practice. This makes a lot of sense because if you simply practice incorrectly, then you will only become consistent in incorrectness. I can relate mostly to this concept with my experiences in weight training. There are the simple examples of lifting weights at the same weights and increasing the repetitions which is analogous to Chambliss says about quantitative changes, which “entails an increase in the number of some one thing one does” (Chambliss 3). On the other hand, weightlifters who have a qualitative change, which “involves modifying what is actually being done, not simply doing more of it”” (Chambliss 4), such as increasing the weights lifted, changing a regimen or hiring a personal trainer can witness faster and better results.
This concept is also relatable to my experiences with sprinting where sprinting more could only make me quicker up to a point. Not until I learned new techniques such as bringing my feet down quicker or strengthening my core did I begin to see improvements of a higher class.
Chambliss’ perception on the role of talent is too simple. In his study, he found that “The ‘amount’ of talent needed for athletic success seems to be strikingly low” (Chambliss 80). When asked how people define talent, Chambliss explains that “‘Talent’ is perhaps the most pervasive lay explanation we have for athletic success. Great athletes, we seem to believe, are born with a special gift…” (Chambliss 78). In athletics, Chambliss’ “strikingly low” amount of talent may be the deciding factor that pushes an athlete from the regional level, to the national level. Using bodybuilding as an example again, the bodybuilders born with the amazing genes has what is needed to build muscle more efficiently, suffer less from catabolic muscle loss and possess a metabolism that keeps body fat percentages low. While genes may not vary these advantages to a tremendous degree, these small differences separate the competitive body builders from the amateurs and those who exercise simply to stay in shape.
Debatably, I would also describe mindset, both psychological and physiological, as an advantage that also stems from talent. With the exception of IQ and other inherited intellectual advantages, most psychological advantages such as having a successful or “talented” mindset is not something that people are born with. Successful psychological traits come from living life, trial, error, and success. That may make psychological talent seem like a contradiction, but while athletes are not born with a ready to swim attitude of an Olympic swimmer, their inherited physical and genetic gifts allow them the opportunity to go through the adolescent years in a way that builds up a competitive and driven mindset. A genetically gift athlete have opportunities such as being physically active at a younger age, better fitness, success in their respective sports at a younger age, etc. These opportunities occur at a younger age where the brain is easily molded and developed, resulting in greater confidence and joy in playing sports. While inherited gifts may only be directly related to physical attributes, these physical advantages set the base for a competitive and driven athletic mindset.
Read Part 2 here: 10,000 Hours To Perfection: Does Practice Make Perfect?