According to a theory written by Anders Ericsson, and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, an ordinary human can perfect a skill with 10,000 hours of practice. Dan McLaughlin, a 30-year-old from Portland, decided to put the theory into practice, quitting his day job to become a professional golfer just about two years ago. McLaughlin began a journey of golf, hitting the course to practice six days a week and six hours a day for the next six years. It's truly a sight to behold.
McLaughlin isn't alone in this and has enlisted the help of Christopher Smith. Without any of the bad habits other golfers pick up -- McLaughlin had never touched a club before -- Smith put together a plan to make him a professional golfer. McLaughlin would start one foot from the hole and master shots along the way. For five months, he putted and almost a year later, he's only hitting shots from 50 yards away and has only hit three clubs.
Along the way, McLaughlin is documenting his journey, taking meticulous notes to track his progress in the research aspect of his project. You can read the full story over at the St. Petersburg Times.
On the drive to Tallahassee, he said, "If I put in those 10,000 hours, in my eyes, no matter the outcome, I will have been successful. Because I think I'll be much more in tune with my abilities."
It takes some kind of attitude to pick up a putter at age 30 and set out to play 10,000 hours of golf in six years, all while learning the sport from scratch. McLaughlin has the right attitude and though the goal is to become a professional golfer, he knows it's about the journey. It's a fascinating study and one to keep an eye on as he progresses.
Edit: Prof. Ericsson developed the theory while Gladwell brought it more mainstream attention in his book, Outliers.