12 March 2010

Tenacity and Training

"Skill, surgeons believe, can be taught; tenacity cannot. it's an odd approach to recruitment, but it continues all the way up the ranks, even in top surgery departments...

"And it works. There have now been many studies of elite performers -- concert violinists, chess grand masters, professional ice skaters, mathematicians, and so forth -- and the biggest difference researchers find between them and lesser performers is the amount of deliberate practice they've accumulated. Indeed, the most important talent may be the talent for practice itself. K. Anders Ericsson, a cognitive psychologist and an expert on performance, notes that the most important role that innate factors play may be in a person's willingness to engage in sustained training. He has found, for example, that top performers dislike practicing just as much as others do. (That's why, for example, athletes and musicians usually quit practicing when they retire.) But, more than others, they have the will to keep at it anyway." from The Learning Curve, by Atul Gawande

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