The “10,000 hours rule” claims that with enough nurture in the form of hours and hours of education, training, or practice we’ll all be able to do difficult things, like running marathons well.
Not true. New research shows that not everyone’s body can respond to training. A certain set of about 30 genes allows some to respond to training, by increasing blood flow to the muscles, but not others.
“From our work, we know that 20 per cent of people do not respond at all to training and in fact can get worse. They push themselves as hard as everyone else, but their muscles do not extract the same amount of oxygen.
“About 15 per cent have the genes that mean they will respond highly to training. But of that number, only those with a good inherited baseline fitness and good resistance to injury will ever become elite marathon runners, so that is an even smaller percentage.”
Even with 10,000 hours of gruelling effort, then, about 20% cannot improve, about 65% can improve only somewhat, and only about 15% can improve significantly.
If you are outside of the lucky 15%, genomic testing will tell you to avoid wasting those 10,000 hours.
Meanwhile, logic and science can tell you to avoid wasting mental space on theories of nurture that ignore nature.