4+ Things It Takes to Be an Expert

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outsiders, he asserted it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in something.

But recent research has found that there’s more to it than just time – 4 things in particular.

What It Takes to Be an Expert

Valid environment

To be an expert, you need a valid environment. This means having access to the right equipment, tools, and resources. You can’t become a surgeon without access to a hospital, for instance.

Many repetitions

You also need many repetitions. This is where time comes in – you need to do something over and over again to get good at it.

Timely feedback

Timely feedback is crucial as well. You need to receive information about your performance that is timely enough for you to make adjustments.

For example, if you have opinions but you have to no process to determine whether they’re good or not, there’s no incentive to change.

However, if you’re investing your money and things are going poorly (i.e., you’re losing money), that may be an indication that you need to change your process.

Deliberate practice

Finally, you need to engage in deliberate practice. This means that you’re constantly pushing yourself to improve and trying new things. It’s not enough to just show up – you need to be actively engaged in the process.

For example, a golfer who is just going through the motions will hit the ball the same way every time.

But a golfer who is deliberately practicing and testing the edges of their talent will be constantly trying to improve their swing, experimenting with different techniques, and so on.

Likewise, a chess player can’t just play beginners and intermediates to become a grandmaster. He or she will need to play and hold their own (i.e., win or draw) against opponents at the level they’re aiming for.

The 4 things it takes to be an expert

Final Word – What It Takes to Be an Expert

So if you want to be an expert at something, remember that it takes more than just time. You need a valid environment, many repetitions, timely feedback, and deliberate practice.

With these four things, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in your field.


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