…es of business constantly and fundamentally change. A 2014 review of 88 previous studies found that “deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.” This c…
This is a really fascinating study, but it has severe limitations, as is the case with so many attempts to scientifically quantify complex areas of human behavior.
With regard to the idea that deliberate practice only explained an 18–26% variance in performance, it should go without saying that a large portion of the difference in performance is due to factors such as being alive, healthy, having full use of all limbs, and other factors that are ridiculously obvious to the average person.
If we look at size, age, natural physical abilities, opportunities for practice and competition, and the desire to improve, then deliberate practice will occupy a smaller role compared to the total number of factors necessary to perform well.
However, I think this study and the way you gloss over it does a disservice to those people who desperately want to learn how to perform at their best.
Each one of the factors I described above create a base from which an athlete or musician or gamer has even a chance to begin their quest to become an elite performer.
However, the speed and amount with which someone can improve is greatly affected by deliberate practice.
I can only use my own experience as a former professional tennis player and coach to say that the vast majority of people practice the wrong things and even if they practice the right things, they do so in such a haphazard method, there is a good chance the proper habits will not be totally assimilated.
In addition, the mental, emotional and psycho-spiritual forces experienced by each person under stress will have a massive influence on their performance.
What most those researcher fail to realize is that deliberate practice can be applied to dealing with pressure: the ability to control breathing and relaxation; visualizing the ideal performance; creating ritual safe places where an individual can go to calm down and focus right before starting a performance sequence; building a system of self diagnostic tests and tools that can be instinctively accessed in real time to make improvement; even practicing future situations that are impossible to duplicate in the vast majority of competitive situations.
At an elite level, sports are 90% mental. If the researchers don’t count the deliberate mental practice necessary to become an elite performer, they have made the mistake of separating that work from simply using deliberate practice to improve physical technique.
Sports/performance psychology understands that there are many factors necessary for an ideal response under pressure. The origin of this state comes from one of three factors: 1) the good fortune to be born that way; 2) an extensive and successful set of experiences at an early age that allow a person to absorb these principles unconsciously, or, 3) a tremendous amount of hard work that deliberately practices those internal qualities which allow us to perform at our very best.
Munger’s ability to stay calm and objective in applying his mental models will the market is going insane, or there are political, environmental or military crises that could cause tremendous changes to the business landscape is, in itself, a peak performance state that was probably developed through deliberate practice.