Medicine is often slow to embrace knowledge from other disciplines - operations management, safety, human factors and lessons from cognitive psychology are examples.
Syed describes the 'myth of talent and the power of practice', with stories and research that demonstrate the key ingredients in developing expert professional practice:
- Knowledge and experience are important, but they are not enough. The differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long persistence of deliberate effort to improve performance. In other words, purposeful practice is more important than talent.
- 10,000 hours of purposeful practice is the minimum required, in a range of domains studied, to achieve expertise - but you also need the right training system, and this is often due to luck: living in the right town, coming across a great coach, having the right facilities nearby.
- Top athletes understand the importance of frequent, thorough feedback (both process and outcome feedback) - 'it is the rocket fuel that propels the acquisition of knowledge, and without it no amount of purposeful practice is going to get you there.'
- Mindset has a vital role to play in motivation. People who believe (and are told) that their abilities are transformable through effort persevere and improve; while those who believe (and are told) they are 'talented' and 'smart' fail to improve at all. In psychologist Carol Dweck's book, 'Mindset' she describes how students, athletes and others should be praised for effort, not talent, and the dramatic impact this has on performance.