Experience is priceless
Lengthy immersion in the field is necessary for high quality creative works, a new paper finds. From The Pacific Standard.
In 1990, psychologist John Hayes proposed the "10-year rule," arguing that even someone with enormous creative potential needs to spend a decade working on his or her craft before producing work of lasting merit. (He found this even applied to Mozart, who started composing in his pre-teen years and was already extremely experienced by the time we meet him in the rather misleading movie.)
In a newly published paper, psychologists Richard Hass of Philadelphia University and Robert Weisberg of Temple University re-evaluate this rule by looking at the careers of some of America's most enduringly popular artists—five composers from the Great American Songbook era.
They find that while 10 years is too rigid a number—there is simply too much variation from career to career—their work confirms Hayes' fundamental claim that "high-quality creative products emerge only after a long period of immersion within the field."...
So if you're plugging away at your art, or haven't quite made that scientific breakthrough you feel is close, don't give up. Time and discipline won't guarantee success—Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hours-of-practice rule has been effectively debunked—but they do seem to be an essential precursor to creating genuinely important work.