Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Power of Practice

Yesterday, almost all major newspaper around the world put headline about record breaking being done by Felix Baumgartner by his jump from height about 39 Km. 39 Km more or less is Singapore distance from west to east. With speed driving we will spent about 45 minutes from end to end. But in Baumgartner's case the distance is vertical from top to bottom. He took only about 10 minutes and drop with supersonic speed. He became the first man who break speed of sound without riding any vehicle. One important lesson we can gain from this achievement.

The supersonic man doesn't got this skill in one night. He was quite famous by doing many jump from many high building. Several famous places that he have been visited are Petronas Tower and Taipei 101. Its mean he must be have train so hard. In this post I want to bring a discussion about the power of practice.

Gladwell mention about 10.000 hours rule in his seminal book Outliers. He said it will need about 10.000 hours learning and training to be an expert in one field. Then he give several example of success people like Bill Joy the founder of Sun Microsystem and Bill Gates founder of Microsoft who most likely have spent their 10.000 hours to enhance their particular skill. Similar case with Baumgartner and must be similar to us as well.

Life is iteration of learning. Who want to make progress in life supposed to be never stop to learn. Learn cycle is quite simple in my opinion.

  • Read
  • Repeat
  • Retrieve. 

Please notice this is ordinary blog post that doesn't refer to any formal reference. But I hope the explanation could be quite logical. Read doesn't need to be literally reading text. Reading book or any text media could be the main resource of learning. But other form of "reading" like scrutinize carefully, see a beautiful nature and thinking deeply can be considered as a form of reading. As a Muslim, the first verse revealed is Iqra which mean Read. Read is the first moment when human brain exposed by information.

Brain is working like muscle. The more it used, it will be more stronger. That also the case of brain. The more it trained, the more it sharp will be. Read will not guarantee information will be persisted strongly in mind. The next important phase of learning is repeat. Repeat is the form of training for the brain. This is the most significant phase because this determine whether information and understanding can be saved permanently or at least in long term. Form of repeat in learning could be continuous reading, study test in shool or college, writing, sharing, etc. Any activity that involve using the information that have gained before can be considered as a form of repeat or practice.

The last want is retrieve. This is the part of we actually taking advantage of what we have learn. Back to Baumgartner case this is the moment when he finally jump from his Zenith capsule after several years of read and repeat. The success of learning can be asses by how easy information being retrieved and used. For example in learning language the successful learner should be have a capability to use his knowledge of language in communicating. In basic level he has been adapted to retrieve knowledge about that particular language and use it in communication easily.

At the conclusion  human ability is almost unlimited. Human can learn almost everything. Human just need to practice and repeat a lot. Then anyone maybe could be like Felix Baumgartner after enough read and repeat.

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