Research shows attaining expert levels in any field requires 10 years (or 10,000 hours) of intense training, or deliberate practice. Deliberate practice differs from ordinary practice in that it emphasizes execution (performing) with immediate feedback, then focusing on correcting execution failures. Many people practice what they are already good at since it is more fun to confirm perceived strengths. Experts strive to perfect deficiencies.
Yo-Yo Ma has created a timeless musical legacy. His prodigious ability is perhaps what will be most remembered. Many are not aware that from an equally impressive age, he began to practice musical composition under his father. At age five, Ma was placed on stage in front of a nationally televised audience. He warns about the danger of praise at a young age, “When I was a child, people said things to me I wish they hadn’t: “Oh, you’re such a talent, such a genius.” That’s dangerous, because it can overwhelm the decisions you make about yourself. I wanted to determine who I was. The best approach is to have a healthy confidence but also the self-knowledge to ask, what do I and don’t I do well?”