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Can 10,000 hrs of deliberate practice really make you an expert? One man is going to find out.

Stashed in: Time, Best PandaWhale Posts, Practice, Awesome, 10,000 Hours, Meaning of Life, sports, Golf, Restore your faith in humanity., Patience

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The Dan Plan...

So Dan is an ordinary man who has no golf background but wants to use 10k hours to see if he can become a professional golfer?

It's a battle of will vs skill!

I wonder if he has a chance.

I did like the definition of Deliberate Practice:

I'm fascinated by his really testing this out. It's easy to look backward at success stories but we all wonder if this is something just anyone can really do. Kudos to this guy. I love that he's doing this.

He hit 350,000 balls in the first 3000 hours of The Dan Plan:

This recent interview with him is excellent:

Can't believe he's doing this off savings. I figured Nike or Callaway golf clubs would be sponsoring him "Where the hell is Matt?" style:

Actually, Nike has been helping him, as he explains in the recent interview:

I wanted to be able to finish the entire project on my own dime so that people would not have the excuse of money getting in their way of doing something like this.  I saved money for about 5 years prior to starting The Dan Plan and at the onset had enough to live on for about 4 years.

The Dan Plan is taking longer than I thought it would to get to the 10,000 hours, so at some point down the road it might make sense to partner up with a good sponsor, but to date I have not received a single dollar from any corporation or company.  Online, there is a donations page on The Dan Plan website that has had some amazing people contribute over the past 2 years.  This donations have helped quite a bit and I appreciate all of the support I have received.  It’s amazing!  As I see it now, I am still able to support myself, but there are a number of things that I would like to do to help my game that I cannot afford on my savings.  For example, it would be beneficial to spend this coming winter somewhere that doesn’t rain every day like Portland, OR does.  Whether it’s Palm Springs, Florida or Australia, it would be good to be able to afford a change of scenery and to play some new courses over the winter months.  With a sponsor would not be a far fetched idea.

Nike has been kind to me and provided me with all of my gear to date and Columbia Edgewater Country Club has granted me greens privileges which has been amazing as it’s the best place to practice and learn golf in Portland.

He has really thought this through.

His story is and will be an inspiration. His progress is phenomenal. Personally,I don't golf regularly but I've shared this with friends who are pretty active golfers and they were surprised about how fast he progressed. Fascinating, really.

As an aside, the Nike giving him gear, and the club letting him use the course does seem to be a significant sponsorship if you will, especially given the frequency of his golfing.

My favorite part:

That hour count shows you’re pouring a hell of a lot of time into this project – and, through the website and blogs etc, your heart and soul. Have you ever thought of giving up… that it’s just not worth the effort? Your inner circle of family and friends must play a big part of keeping you grounded despite the constant highs and lows…

We all have bad days, it’s just part of being human.  There have been instances where I have gotten extremely discouraged, but over time I have realized that these low points come in cycles and it’s during these moments when the best learning happens.  If you can manage to push through you know that a peak is just around the corner.  My friends and family have been huge in helping me realize this and I will be forever grateful for having them around.  Contrast is the gold of life and without the hard times the good times would just seem average.

What I love most is the simplicity of the plan. Pick the thing you want to do. Put in your 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Start now, it's never too late.

That's something we'd all love to try, whether that dream is to be a pro golfer or a novelist.

So what's stopping us?

Money (he had to save enough to take 5 years off) or other commitments (to children, etc) are two things that come to mind.

And a third: It's hard to be tenacious. There are many obstacles on that road that will make you want to quit.

True commitment on a path of uncertainty is special and rare.

It's rare, yes, but few things cause me so much pain as when I look back and think about all the time I waste...

Our lives give us so much time. The tragedy is how much of it we waste.


Greg, that 10,000 hours of surfing infographic is phenomenal.

Clicked through to the Dan Plan home page and the driving range in the video is the one I go to. Small world. Not sure what he means by being "granted privileges" at the country club. Do they let him play for free? Or just let him not have to join, but still pay?

@adam thanks. Was going to use troll faces, but thought it'd look so much better without.

Ryan, my understanding is that they let him play for free.

That surfing timeline is interesting.

I learned to bodysurf in my teens at 2 of the better bodysurfing beaches in Hawaii (Makapu'u and Sandy's).

It took less than 300 hours at Makapu'u to get pretty good.

Sandy's took another 300 hours.

I went with friends who were more experienced as often as possible and both asked for coaching and copied their styles. 

Using Tim Ferris and others (including myself) as examples - I'm completely not convinced of the "10K hours to expertise" notion. I've seen way to many examples of people becoming incredibly good at something in less than 10K hours (I doubt most F1 drivers have 10K hours on the track when they get their superlicense).


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