Experience is essential to be able to have enough practice and become an expert on something you want to master. Experience makes perfect in any field … Many people have doubts as to whether an expert is “born” or “made”: do genetics or experience play a more important role in shaping who we are? Many experts choose because an expert … “gets it done.”

But how does someone become an expert? Do you need to be born with a talent or can you become an expert only with the right training?

The experience

It may seem easy to pinpoint what an expert is and is not, but agreeing on a formal definition of expertise is not always so easy.  Is it about how much do you know? Is it about being able to perform an action well? And at what point does a person go from simply being good at something to being an expert?

Experience is consensually defined as elite, peak, or exceptionally high levels of performance in a particular task or within a given domain. One who achieves this status is called an expert or some related term, such as virtuous, teacher, genius … These terms are intended to label someone whose performance is at the top of the field they master.  An expert’s field of expertise can be almost anything from crafts, sports, and music , to science or math.

Experience is labeled differently depending on talent. If the experience is perceived as the result of hard work and practice, we could describe him as a master or virtuoso. If people consider that your abilities are derived from pure innate talent, it is called genius or prodigy. Skills are often learned, but they can also be influenced by natural talent and ability.  Finally, people with experience also tend to excel in their field and achieve much more than the average person does.

How long does it take to be an expert?

The key to becoming an expert is to spend at least 10,000 hours studying and practicing what you are doing, this is called the 10,000 hour rule . A person can become an expert in almost any field as long as they are willing to put in the 10,000 hours required to study and practice the subject or skill. At least this is what popular psychology author Malcolm Gladwell thought.

Anders Ericsson of the University of Florida is a world-renowned expert. He has studied experts from all walks of life, including areas such as chess, sports, music, and medicine. He is also the researcher behind the study from which Gladwell drew his conclusions about what it takes to become an expert.

Ericcson pointed out some problems regarding Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. As it takes more hours to be an expert in some skills but in others, less than 10,000 hours are required to reach the expert level … That is, the hours vary depending on the difficulty of what you want to achieve .

Can you become an expert?

Ericsson believes that what separates the amateur from the expert is what is known as deliberate practice. Regular practice can help people gain skill in a task, but gaining real experience involves practicing in a way that pushes the boundaries of current skill levels and knowledge . Such practice is highly concentrated and involves working on things that are outside of your current skill level, setting goals, and receiving training and instruction from a qualified teacher.

Simply spending 10,000 hours trying the same things over and over is not enough to become a true expert. Instead, deliberate, focused, goal-directed practice that extends skills beyond the comfort zone is what to follow if you want more experience in any area.

There are experts who do not agree with what has been said in the previous paragraph. Some recent studies have found that while deliberate practice is certainly important, it is not the only factor that explains the differences between the experts and the unskilled. While psychologists are not yet sure what factors may play a role,  personality traits, physical characteristics, and general intelligence may also be important.

So can you really become an expert at something as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort? It’s a question psychologists continue to ponder, although there is little doubt that regular practice will improve both skills and knowledge. The fact that you can eventually become a true master in that specific domain is something that can only be known once you try. Before deciding to proceed, consider whether you have the interest, dedication, and time to commit to gaining experience in that domain that interests you.

How to gain experience

So what does it take to get real experience? What steps do you need to take to become an expert?

It takes work. While the 10,000 hour rule is more of a popular psychology myth than reality, there is one aspect of the idea that is correct: becoming an expert takes a lot of effort.  People who become experts in any field put a tremendous amount of time, energy, and hard work into learning and practicing their skills. If you want to master something, you must be willing to put in the time. It may not take exactly 10,000 hours, but it takes a long time.

Have challenges. Practice is essential to developing a skill , but becoming an expert requires constantly challenging yourself to improve, learn more, and acquire new knowledge and skills. Simply rehearsing the same skills over and over will make you better in those areas, but it won’t lead to the real experience.

If you want to be an expert in a specific field, do not hesitate to be aware that first, you must have motivation and interest, and then, dedicate time, effort and energy. What do you want to become an expert in? Think about it to do your part and be able to focus all your energies on what you have in mind … when you least expect it, you can do it almost automatically! 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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