Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Dan Plan

In his book Outliers Malcolm Gladwell shares a theory that if you practice something for 10,000 hours you become excellent at it. It’s something I’ve posted on before – the theory puts a number on the concept of grit, the amount of sheer perseverance needed to be truly successful at anything. And now someone has decided to put the theory to the test.

Dan McLoughlin is on a quest to transform himself from someone who had barely lifted a club, into a golf pro in 10,000 hours. He calls it The Dan Plan. It will take him six hours a day, six days a week, for six years. A little over one year in and he’s spent 1,400+ hours on the course, with a laser-like focus on building his short-game, working away from the hole, putt by putt, chip by chip. Forget about the hard yards. Dan is doing them all.

The point has been made that people have achieved excellence in other fields in 10,000 hours. But according to psychology professor Dr. Anders Ericsson, one of the experts consulted while Dan was formulating his plan, few start this late in life, from a zero-base, and document their efforts in such a deliberate way.

Dan humbly says that more than anything his experiment is about testing human potential, and opening up people’s eyes to what they can achieve if they give themselves over to a dream with relentless determination. Even if he doesn’t go all the way, he will have become the best golfer he can possibly be. In that sense he can’t fail…but I say nothing is impossible! Go for it Dan!

1 comment:

Nathan Westgate said...

This sounds like a very reasonable and pragmatic approach to testing an interesting theory. For Dan's sake I hope he grows to 'love' the sport - without it he's got no chance...