Seriously, Practice Makes Perfect.

We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect but do we believe it? Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Outliers: The Story of Success,” sure does. He says that in order to become an expert it takes about 10 years or 10,000 hours (which ever comes first, I suppose) of practice. Don’t trust Malcolm? Neurologist, Daniel Levitin says, “In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals and what have you, the number [10,000] comes up again and again. … No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”

10,000 hours. That’s a lot of practice. It’s almost overwhelming.

Are you a critical thinking expert?

Most of us cannot honestly say that we’ve spent 10,000 hours (or 10 years) consciously practicing critical thinking. That doesn’t have to mean we’re all terrible critical thinkers but it does mean the vast majority of us have a ways to go until we can cross “become a critical thinking expert” off the list.

10,000 hours doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We’re here to help. Assess your critical thinking skills today with the Watson-Glaser. Start practicing today by integrating the RED Model in your decision making process. Embrace routine practice with our upcoming Critical Thinking University, online social learning platform.  Invest in two-day, top-notch intensive practice, the Critical Thinking Boot Camp. Whatever you do, start practicing today.

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva

3 responses to “Seriously, Practice Makes Perfect.”

  1. Ed Caldwell

    I agree, practice does make perfect. However, a question I have is: how do we as a culture, create a strong value in practicing anything that requires deep thinking? In a culture where nearly everything that is popular and also immediate, fast, and attained by “clicking through,” silence and inward thinking are rarely rewarded.

    Additionally, we are challenged with the proliferation of instantaneous media, especially so-called news sources that do not do the necessary digging into the real facts before “publishing.”

    1. lizziepauker

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Ed! You ask two great questions. First there is a question of speed. Just like sports, the more you practice the better you get. A runner should continually work to improve not only their time but also their form. The RED Model offers a strategy and techniques for critical thinking. Though at the beginning you may go through each process– recognizing assumptions then evaluating arguments then drawing conclusions –as you become a stronger critical thinking the process will be more fluid. The second question you ask is one I’m also interested in. How do we create a strong value for practicing critical thinking? In the corporate space, this change starts at the top with upper management. Organizations should encourage critical thinking and provide the opportunity for employees to develop their critical thinking skills. A great way to achieve this is to have employees take the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and then have a Critical Thinking Boot Camp (an intensive 2 day, on-site critical thinking training) or Critical Thinking University (an online social learning platform geared around practicing critical thinking skills).

  2. James | Employee Scheduling Software

    Practice does make perfect, but it’s not just about how many hours of practice you put in, but the quality. Practice like you will perform is more important in my opinion.

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