5. Child Prodigies Don't Exist
In Geoffrey Colvin's book, Talent is Overrated, he claims that there really is no such thing as a child prodigy. His argument is that no one is born innately talented, but that everyone who is “great” practices and develops to that skill level.
When people claim that prodigies exist, they point to Mozart and Tiger Woods as examples. However, those two were actually seasoned pros by the time they were famous. Mozart's father was a music teacher who taught Mozart from the age of three, and then he trained with other professionals. By the time he was 14 and wrote his first opera, he had been studying music every day for nine years. He continued to study music until he was 17, and he then worked as a pianist after completing school. So by the time he was 25 and wrote his first masterpiece, he had been playing music daily for 22 years. As for the argument that he wrote music as a child, none of that music was done in his handwriting. His father was making a living off the fact that Mozart and his sister were prodigies, so there's a very good chance his father wrote the music himself.
As for Tiger Woods, his father was a retired teacher and a golf fanatic that had an expert handicap. He started training Tiger at seven months old by giving him a putter and making him watch while he putted for hours and hours. As a child and into his teens Tiger was constantly training, often with professionals. By the time that Tiger was 19 and a member of the Walker Cup team, he had been practicing golf for 17 years. That isn't to say these two men weren't tremendously talented and masters in their own discipline. It's just that they trained for years and simply weren't born with innate talent.
4. The 10,000 Hours Theory
A Professor at the University of Colorado named Anders Ericsson decided to look at what separates amateurs from professionals. In 1993, he released a paper that found on average amateurs only got about 4000 hours of practice, but professionals had practiced for at least 10,000 hours.
科罗拉多大学（University of Colorado）一位名叫安德斯·爱立信（Anders Ericsson）的教授决定研究“到底是什么把业余爱好者和专业人士区别开来的”这个课题。1993年,他发表了一篇论文,文中指出，业余爱好者只花费4000小时的练习，专业人士至少要花上10000小时，这就是10000小时理论。
Besides Tiger Woods and Mozart, another example of people who put in 10,000 hours were the Beatles. Before they were famous, they played full time for two and a half years in Hamburg, often for eight to 12 hours a day. It was at this time that they developed their signature sound. Then there's Bill Gates, who went to a preparatory high school that was one of the few in the country with a computer terminal. He spent more time on the computer than any other student, and was even allowed to miss math class to work on it. It was during that time and his years in university he earned his 10,000 hours.
While there's some debate over whether 10,000 hours is a rule or just a theory, many experts agree that a significant number of people who are considered “great” have, on average, 10,000 hours of experience.
3. Deliberate Practice
If no one is born talented and you need 10,000 hours of practice, what's the most effective way of using those hours? One theory is something sociologists call “deliberate practice.” Essentially, there are six elements. The practice needs to be meant to specifically improve performance, and is even more effective if there's coaching. It needs to be repeatable, and feedback on a regular basis is crucial. It also has to be demanding, either physically or mentally. If you're doing all of this correctly, it shouldn't be a fun experience. An example would be a basketball player who isn't very good at free throws spending hours and hours just doing free throws while being coached. Not a great time no matter how big of a basketball fan you are.
Deliberate practice is important because practicing specific activities over and over again will get you more comfortable with that action. When you compete, you're simply using those repetitive tasks in a different environment. The practice needs to be difficult, because that's the only way someone can improve. If it's too easy, you never leave your comfort zone and never grow through challenge.
As for the feedback portion, Steve Kerr, the former chief learning officer of Goldman Sachs, said that practicing without feedback is like bowling with the pins behind a curtain. Without feedback, you won't get better and you won't care. So while it is possible to be amazing at something, you have 10,000 hours of hard work ahead of you.
关于反馈的重要性，史蒂夫·科尔（Steve Kerr），高盛集团(Goldman Sachs，译注：一家国际领先的投资银行和证券公司)前任首席学习官表示，没有反馈的练习就像是把保龄球投向幕布后的球瓶。如果没有反馈，你不会变得更好，你也不会在意自己的表现到底如何。所以，如果你想要在某事上有所成就，首先你得完成这10,000小时的奋斗。
2. The Third Grade is The Most Important Year of Your Life
Sociologist Robert K. Merton first coined the Matthew Effect in 1968. Simply put, it's the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The reason this is such a big deal when it comes to success is that experts think the third grade is the most pivotal year of someone's life (no pressure, huh?). In the fourth grade, the learning model changes and it becomes incredibly important that children know how to read and learn independently. Children who don't have these skills began to avoid reading and start to fall behind. But to move on and do well in school you have to learn cumulatively, because school doesn't get easier as the years go on. If a student falls behind early, the gap would just widen over the following years. The kids that can read keep getting ahead, and the students who had problems keep falling behind. Studies have shown that if someone had problems reading in grade three they are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
1968年，社会学家罗伯特·金·默顿（Robert K. Merton)首次提出了“马太效应”（Matthew Effect）。简单来说，这一术语用以概括一种两极分化的社会现象，即富人愈富，穷人愈穷。如何利用好这种效应也是引导一个人走向成功的关键。专家认为，三年级是一个人一生中最关键的一个学年（无压力？呵呵）。进入四年级后，随着学习模式的改变，孩子们自主阅读和学习的能力开始变得极其重要。不具备这些技能的孩子开始抗拒读书，成绩也逐渐落于人后。为了在学校取得好成绩并且不断进步，你必须不断提高自己的学习能力——因为年级越高，学习难度越大。如果一个学生输在了起跑线上，在接下来的读书生涯中，他与领先者之间的差距会越来越大。能够自主阅读的孩子们持续领先，而这方面能力不足的孩子则会一直处于吊车尾的状态。研究表明，三年级时不能掌握阅读技能的学生，中学时期的退学率会比其他学生高出四倍。
1. You Have Amazing Potential
On average, the human mind can remember a sequence of seven to nine numbers. After that it becomes incredibly hard to remember all the numbers in the right order. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University wanted to know if someone of average intelligence could break that barrier with practice.
一般来说，人脑可以记住一组由七到九个数字组成的数列。但是此后要记得所有数字的正确顺序就会变得异常艰难。卡内基梅隆大学（Carnegie Mellon University）的研究者们想弄明白，拥有一般智力的人通过练习是否可以突破这个记忆力的极限，于是他们进行了相关实验。
One test subject, who practiced two or three times a week for over two years, was able to remember 82 numbers before deciding to stop. Another subject hit 102 numbers when he stopped. It's not that they couldn't push further — the study just came to an end. Both of these test subjects did better with practice than people who said they had photographic memories.
Through these tests, researchers discovered what they called “the remarkable potential of ‘ordinary' adults and their amazing capacity for change with practice.” Their research showed that even “ordinary” people have the potential to be great by challenging themselves. If you work hard, your goals can be more attainable than you thought.