“Practice Makes Perfect” – Is It Really True?

   What can be born from “ripe”? Anyone can blurt out, “cooked” can make “smart”. This is of course true, and elementary school students know it, but nothing is absolute.
   There was once a widely spread theory that as long as you persist in practicing for 10,000 hours in a certain field, you can become an expert in that field. That’s the theory popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, and it’s now being called into question by a new study. A study by psychologists at five universities dismantled Gladwell. In a controlled experiment between a group of chess players and musicians, the authors found that differing levels of familiarity accounted for only one-third of the variables affecting performance levels, saying: “The most important level differences are not explained, and these differences are likely are determined by other factors.” In other words, practice is important! But practice alone doesn’t make you another Yo-Yo Ma. Success is also related to personality, age, intelligence and other factors.
   A new study on the behavior of macaques from Stanford University in the United States shows that due to unstable brain activity, “familiarity” does not necessarily make “good luck”, and non-stop practice of shooting or golf swing skills may just be a waste of time. Related research reports have been published in the journal Neuron. In the study, the researchers asked macaques to reach out to touch colored light spots at different speeds, while monitoring the area of ​​the macaques’ brain responsible for movement coordination, and recorded the speed of each macaque’s hand extension. It was found that in thousands of trials, the macaques rarely reached out at the same speed, and that small changes in their reaching speed corresponded to how much brain activity they had before reaching out.
   In fact, “practice makes perfect”, this is the product of the agricultural economy and industrial economy in the past, whether it is farmers farming the land or workers doing work, it is true that “practice” makes perfect. The more proficient you are, the more efficient you can be and the more accurate you can be. But in the era of knowledge economy, in the era of emphasizing innovation, blindly seeking proficiency and blindly repeating past practices will lead to some opposite effects. The knowledge-based economy requires innovation, not conformity to the past, and the old concept of “practice makes perfect” hinders innovation, because people are accustomed to the past thinking and are unwilling to make breakthroughs.
   Taxi drivers and bus drivers in London drove for the same number of years, but only the taxi drivers grew larger in the hippocampus, an area of ​​the brain responsible for remembering spatial locations. Bus drivers drive the same route every day. Although they are familiar with driving, their brains are not challenged enough. Taxi drivers need to keep abreast of the latest road conditions in London and think about how to deliver passengers in the fastest and smoothest way, so their brains are fully developed. A person who plays “The Butterfly Lovers” may play it effortlessly after five years of repeated practice, but his control and expressiveness of the piece have not improved by half—maybe not as good as when he first learned it. In top hospitals, veteran doctors are first-class talents, because they continue to face intractable diseases and constantly break through themselves. In a small hospital with no challenges, senior doctors sometimes have outdated knowledge and are not as good as young doctors who have not graduated long ago.
   What does this explain? Familiarity, at some point, makes it easier for people to fall into unconscious simple repetition, take it for granted, or even get used to it. Not only does it not help people’s creativity, but it is often restricted, which makes perfect nothing.
   If people only focus on hard work and strive to be proficient, but do not look for tricks and shortcuts, only follow objective laws, and do not break stereotypes, no matter how skilled they are, they will eventually be eliminated with the development of society. In the same way, if people use ancient and cumbersome looms to weave fabrics, in order to weave more and better fabrics, they practice hard weaving skills instead of improving and innovating looms, and ultimately cannot I got my wish.
   The scary thing is that some teachers also believe that practice makes perfect. In the long-term training of a certain method, students can indeed master this method proficiently and firmly, and form a habit. But once the habit is formed, it is difficult to accept other methods, even if it is a better and better method, they are too lazy to accept it. Just imagine a student who doesn’t even bother to accept good methods, how can we expect him to be “smart” and choose better and newer methods to solve problems?
   Cooking does not necessarily make perfect, sometimes, it is easier to rust.

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