Malcolm Gladwell's latest, "Outliers" and Geoff Colvin's "Talent is Overrated." Their answer: practice, practice, practice. Each cite a study of music school graduates in
. The study followed them in school and after. The one variable between the grad who ended up at the Berlin Symphony and the grad who ended up teaching teenagers in his home was how hard and how long they practiced. There is a number: 10,000 hours over a 10 year period. Various studies cited by Gladwell and Colvin find pretty much the same thing as the German study. Gladwell says that's why the Beatles became so good. They were just another band until they went to Germany to play at strip clubs, 14 hours a day, day in and day out. Their sound coalesced after all that practice together. Colvin goes deeper into the concept of practice and cites studies on deliberate practice, which is a focused effort to move beyond a person's current level of ability. Hamburg, Germany
I really think there is a great deal if importance to deliberate practice, the focused effort to move beyond your current level of ability. People need to be taught that the only practice worth doing well is deliberative practice.
(click on the Amazon link, get the book numbers, etc. and then pick it up for free through interlibrary loan).
And ask yourself, when you read scripture, when you pray, when you meditate, are you engaged in deliberate practice or just vain repetition?