About experts

I have been reading some thought-provoking remarks on expertise in a book by Joseph T. Hallinan.

“.., experts, no matter their field, usually have certain things in common… innate abilities—either physical or mental—don’t matter as much as people think they do… But what does matter is practice. Experts practice—a lot. No matter the field, it is generally agreed that it takes about ten years of sustained effort to become a world-class expert.”

The next comment is telling.

“But not just any practice will do. Experience and expertise are not the same thing; simply repeating the same task over and over… is no guarantee you will get better. Instead, the practice needs to be directed toward improving the memory of the performance. When performed correctly, prolonged, deliberate practice produces a large body of specialized knowledge—a library, if you will—in the mind of the person doing the practice. This is important because having a big library allows an expert to quickly recognize patterns that others don’t… Pattern recognition is the hallmark of expertise, allowing experts to anticipate events and respond quickly.”

To become expert, years of committed practice are needed to build fitness, muscle memory and a cognitive map of what you are doing. Repetitive practice isn’t enough. Many people with ten years of experience actually have one year of experience, ten times over. You must become immersed in your practice.

What made you think that learning Aikido would be easier than learn to play the violin?