The Making of an Expert.
By: Ericsson, K. Anders, Prietula, Michael J., Cokely, Edward T.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jul/Aug 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 7/8
New research shows that outstanding performance is the product of years of deliberate practice and coaching, not of any innate talent or skill.
The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment.
It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in "deliberate" practice -- practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort. You will need a well-informed coach not only to guide you through deliberate practice but also to help you learn how to coach yourself.
Real expertise must pass three tests. First, it must lead to performance that is consistently superior to that of the expert's peers. Second, real expertise produces concrete results. Brain surgeons, for example, not only must be skillful with their scalpels but also must have successful outcomes with their patients. A chess player must be able to win matches in tournaments. Finally, true expertise can be replicated and measured in the lab. As the British scientist Lord Kelvin stated, "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it."