If you’re over the age of 10, then you probably are, like me, a bit depressed by the recent popular revelations that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery. 10,000 hours. That’s a really long time, a big sacrifice and commitment in your life to become really great at something.
However, Jonah Lehrer’s comments on a Time article about Magnus Carlsen are as encouraging as Magnus’s accomplishment of becoming the youngest #1 chess player in the world is astounding. Magnus achieved mastery in accelerated time by learning chess and training on multiple games at the same time. Basically, accelerating time by amassing those 10,000 hours in parallel.
The result for young Magnus Carlsen is that the game of chess is one of “feel”, of intuition rather than a thinking game. He’s using his emotions to create his moves rather than consciously considering each possible move, like a computer does. He’s reached a level of mastery in his craft where he can get out of his own way, he can leave the thinking part of his brain aside and just play.
It’s a major piece of getting into The Zone: turning off the brain and trusting your intuition to do the right thing.