10,000 is not a magic number
You don’t have to walk 10,000 steps or practice 10,000 hours
Big relief this month as we learned that you don’t really need to walk 10,000 steps every day. Scientists didn’t see much advantage beyond about 7000 steps, and that’s already a much more realistic daily goal for many of us.
It reminded me of the myth of needing 10,000 hours of practice. That idea originated from an interpretation of a study by Anders Ericsson, who has been very clear that it was an average number of hours. The 10,000 average was measured among violinists, and focused on dedicated practice hours. But Ericsson also found that there were other skills, like memorizing numbers, that don’t quite require even close to that much practice.
Speaking of violin practice, you might remember that I had been trying to play daily for 100 days in a row. Friends, I failed. I just can’t imagine doing anything every single day. I noticed that the attempt was making me think of violin practice as a box-ticking exercise: If I just played for a few minutes, I could say that I did it that day and be done with it. But I get much more out of it if I spend more time on it and just try to find that time when I can. Maybe not every day, but certainly more often when a concert is coming up. (And no, I’m not at 10,000 hours yet, even after more than three decades…)
More than a century ago, science illustrator Violet Dandridge helped zoologists document their specimens, by me for Forbes.com
A journey to the center of our cells, by James Somers for the New Yorker
Vaccine sculptures and textbook drawings: Where do art and science meet? By Tim Gallagher in Euronews
How the same music tells different stories around the world, by me for Forbes.com
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