About 2 years ago I read a few books on the subject of Talent. I cant remember all the titles but I do remember I started with a book called "Outliers” and then moved on to a very good book called The Talent Code. Interestingly all the books I read had a similar slant on the subject and basically concluded that talent doesn't exist, at least not in the way we seem to think about it.
It common for people to view great performance in an area such as sport or the arts (including photography) as being the result of natural talent. Often those coming to this conclusion have only seen limited evidence f this natural talent and tend to view these performances in isolation. What they often fail to recognise are the many hours of painstaking practice that the performer had to go through in order to reach this level of competence in their subject.
The startling conclusion researchers have found and which was argued so well in these books is that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to reach world class performance in any area. If you are trying to put this into some sort of context, its unlikely someone would be able to achieve this in less than 10 years. Interestingly this threshold appears fairly constant irrespective of the area.
What I found interesting about this was the short introduction found in "The Talent Code” where the author describes a young girl practice a musical instrument and how her practice sessions were so purposeful and productive that she was excelling, but there was nothing else special about her. You see it isn't enough to just practice something such as photography for 10,000 hours; it needs to be the right kind of practice that will help you further develop your skills.
What I also find interesting is that in sport the coach fills this role of helping someone develop and in the arts it is the teacher. But in photography, we tend not to have anyone fulfil this role but rather tend to rely on our own judgement. Do you know what practice will develop your skills best?
If you are interested in knowing more about what might be the right kind of practice to develop photography skills I am looking to cover it in my month end newsletter. You can sign up for this here if you are not already a member.
(If you have read this and wonder why my punctuation has become so poor its because my new blogging software doesn't like it)