A Brief Guide to Becoming an Expert

Updated: November 18, 2011

Corbett Barr

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Becoming an expert at something can seem complicated and unattainable, but it doesn't have to be. Forget about all the details for a minute and simplify your approach down to the basic requirements.

The process for becoming an expert is rather simple when you break it down. It's the work that really matters, and the quality of your practice, not your talent or the shortcuts you take.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. - Thomas A. Edison
Follow this brief guide to become an expert in any skill or field you desire:
  1. Learn

  2. Practice (and don't wait too long after learning begins)

  3. Constantly challenge yourself

  4. Measure your progress often

  5. Repeat until skill is achieved

Increase the levels of #1, #2 and #3 if progress isn't as quick as you want.

This approach works best if you set expectations based on your goals before you begin.

To become an elite expert (one of the best in the world), you might need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice or more.

To become expert enough to accomplish more modest goals, you might need 100 hours for a very basic level of proficiency, or 1,000 hours to offer services on an entry-level professional basis, for example.

In any case, hard work and dedicated practice is the key to gaining expertise.

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