There was a post on Will Gadd's blog a good while ago about a book by Malcolm
Gladwell's called "Outliers."
Here's a general excerpt from the post and referencing one of the main
ideas in the book:
The best piece of information in there so far is the idea
that to be really good, approaching mastery, at something you have to
put in about 10,000 hours at it. The second is that there are
thresholds for natural ability; to be a successful lawyer you need to
be "smart enough," but not necessarily brilliant. To be a good athlete
you need to be good enough, but not necessarily the most talented.
They are plenty of smart people doing very poorly at the game of life.
There are plenty of climbers with natural talent who do very little
with it. Most of the really good athletes I know in any sport were not
the most naturally talented when they started, but they practiced like
demons. Maybe for about 10,000 hours...
This is something to think about. If you want to be a really good
skier you likely need about 10,000 hours of thinking about snow,
skiing in snow, rolling in it, whatever it takes to get to that level
of understanding and skill.
What a fascinating thought! Obviously some skill at whatever item you
want to achieve at (be it in a sport, hobby or work) is required, but
unless you put in the time and dedication to it, you won't achieve
your potential. This isn't to say that you must sell your soul to
whatever you do (or quit your job and go climbing for example ;), but
it does mean that the more time you put in, the better you'll do :)
As the famous Wolfgang Gullich said, "The hardest part about training
is making the first decision to do it." I know what my mantra for the
rest of the year is.....what's yours? have you some goals and
ambitions you want to work towards?
On a side note; Will Gadd's blog also got some great blog posts for
those interested - see this example basically talking about the fact that situps are pretty rubbish when it comes to developing good core strength).
Image Credit: My good friend Scott putting in the time on some technical climbs (5.11-ish) at Mill Creek, Utah