Words by Darren Sutton
January 30, 2024
Many of you will be familiar with the famous research of Anders Ericsson towards the end of the last century which states that it takes 10000 hours (that’s 20 hours a week for 50 weeks a year for TEN years) of deliberate practice to become an expert in almost anything.
Thankfully, modern research has discovered that it doesn’t have to be this way and there are some innovative ways to accelerate and even simulate experience to develop competence and then mastery.We now know that if you do require 10000 hours to master something, it’s probably because your quality of practice and methods of learning were inefficient.
It is also important to consider that experience can be a potential pitfall. Strategies that worked in the past will not always be the best solution in the future.
When striving for excellence, it is important to check ourselves and remain objective, so that past experience does not negatively bias our future decisions. The goal should be to master how to integrate our previous experience with our learned processes and strategies and the experience of others we are working with to promote better decision making and outcomes.
And there are other factors to consider with experience. This is what we mean by ‘quality practice’ and ensuring we are always being challenged. Some of you will have heard the phrase “get comfortable in being uncomfortable” and there is some truth in that.
We need to ensure we keep our lives challenging, as soon as a situation or a job becomes comfortable, our rate of experience gain drops off a cliff. This can, in part be addressed by continuing to move into more challenging and diverse operational roles.
This was discussed in detail in episodes 2 and 3 of our podcast series with IIRSM - How to create The Ultimate Risk Professional