It is a well-known theory in sports and other fields, that it takes approximately 10.000 hours of practice to excel. But does this then also mean that anyone kan become excellent, if ‘only’ they put 10.000 hours of practice into it? American Dan McLaughlin is testing this, by practicing golf for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week for 6 years, in an attempt to go from being almost a novice in golf, to become a PGA golfer.
He named it “The Dan Plan“, when he on the 27th of June 2009 began his project, on his 30th birthday. Quit his job as a professional photojournalist, and now does nothing but play golf. Not necessarily to become the best golf player in the world, but in order to test the 10.000-hour-theory in Malcom Gladwell’s bestseller “Outliers”, that 10.000 hours is the time it takes to become really good at anything. “The magic number of greatness.”
McLaughlin is a dreamer, yes, and his father thought to himself when his son told him about “The Dan Plan”, that the boy could become a doctor in 10.000 hours. But that is what it is, Dan has completed almost 2 years of the project now, and has now less than 8.800 hours to go. “Basically, what I’m trying to do with this project is demonstrate how far you’re able to go if you’re willing to put in the time. I’m testing human potential.” … “There’s a 99 percent chance I’m not going to become a PGA golfer. But that’s not the point.”
Personally, I [Rókur] am very sceptical about the concept that it is enough to just train, as it seems like still it is those with special abilities that go the farthest. But the moral is good:
Shelves and shelves of self-help books are stocked in America with the canon of the quick fix. The 10,000-hour concept, though, is based on academic research into the idea that success is a choice — made, not born. At first glance, it feels like a very American idea — you can be anything you want to be — but it is an unsentimental view of the world. It helps to be tall in basketball, and it helps to start violin lessons at a young age, but what separates the few truly great from the many merely good is not talent or magic or luck. It’s dedication and discipline.
The secret to success isn’t a secret. It’s work.