There’s a fascinating article on the New York Times web site about Anders Ericsson’s research into how people get good at what they do. Apparently stars are made, not born – innate ‘talent’ is swamped by what Ericsson calls ‘deliberate practice’.
“Deliberate practice entails more than simply repeating a task – playing a C-minor scale 100 times, for instance, or hitting tennis serves until your shoulder pops out of its socket. Rather, it involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.” <snip>
“Ericsson’s research suggests a third cliché as well: when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love – because if you don’t love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good.”