Can You Biohack The 10,000 Hour Rule?

I'm specifically talking about physical skills, such as sports or musical instruments. I know that the reason for repetition making perfect is that it causes the myelin around the axon(s) to thicken. I know the 10,000 hour rule is largely de-bunked, but I know that you still have to put in a significant amount of time. I'm not lazy (well, not unusually), it's just that...I want to get to the good stuff (not to mention I want to be able to enjoy my athletic and physical peak before it's passed).


I was sure that this was one of the unhackable things that you just have to work with, but I did see a post here somewhere about using electricity to stimulate an axon to fire 500 times/second, cutting thousands and thousands of hours down to just a few.


Any thoughts?

Comments

  • If you take enough hallucinogens you can hack in to the matrix and learn ANYTHING immediately. Even kung fu!


    Actually no, I mean you can try to Tim ferriss your way through life all you want, but really it comes down to finding the best teachers, putting in time and effort, and being lucky (genetically and otherwise). At least for anything REALLY awesome.


    Well, the first suggestion might work for music. Either that or it might convince you that it worked, which is just as good right?
  • edited February 2016

    The more laser-like your focus, the "deeper" your brain will encode your neurons. Just cultivate zen-like focus while you practise/don't let your mind wander and you'll be able to shave off a lot of hours. Or just be born Mozart, that'll work too.


    "Men are more easily wooed by imagination then by science" - Will Durant

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  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭

    Dopamine/oxytocin entrainment could work neurochemically. I heard a mention on an older Bulletproof Podcast of using an ULV current induced across the brain to assist in solidifying the neuronal pathways.If you want to risk chemically frying your brain then you can always sign up for a clinical trial of valproate and attempt to regress your neuroplasticity to the level of a teenager.


     


    Personally I would go with a version of the Varied Practice method (I thought this was called "neuroletic learning" at one point but I cannot find anything when Googling that term) since it does not involve any chemical or direct electrical current applications and you can see results fairly rapidly. The concept here is to actively build muscle memory by only allowing a "perfect" action to sit in your recent memory and cement itself. A small example for playing the guitar:


     


    Choose a piece of music you want to learn. Play a small section, and when you make a mistake note at what point you made it. Determine how far you can play without making a mistake, and set this as your realistic goal for your practice session.


     


    Now play the section from your piece of music, deliberately taking the time to get the transition to every note correct. Do not worry about being perfectly in time, focus on getting every single note correct. If you make a mistake, start over at the beginning. DO NOT CONTINUE ON FROM A MISTAKE.


     


    As soon as you have played the entire section through without missing a note, STOP. Ideally you will put down the guitar and choose a different activity, but switching to a completely different genre of music or playing scales is also acceptable, as long as your activity is sufficiently different than the piece you just played. 


     


     


    This is a very rough outline of the technique, so I hope it is an adequate illustration. The major idea is to solidify the neuropathways you just developed for the muscle movements used to perform that action. You could equate it to forming neural scar tissue if you are metaphorically inclined. You want to avoid following up a "perfect" repetition with anything else that could overwrite that neural link you just developed, allow it to cement itself. The speed and tempo of your piece can be practiced at a later time. Remember that every time you practice this piece you must play through without mistakes, otherwise you are encoding those mistakes as well. 


     


    To recap:


     


    1. Determine how much of a complex action you can reasonably perform with precision.


     


    2. Perform the action "perfectly" one time. (Start over if you make any mistakes at any point. Speed comes later.)


     


    3. Go do something different. 


     


    A very simple way to actively build muscle memory. After several years of not playing I can still ghost out a song on the guitar that I learned with this method while I cannot remember any of the other pieces. Hope it helps!




  • Dopamine/oxytocin entrainment could work neurochemically. I heard a mention on an older Bulletproof Podcast of using an ULV current induced across the brain to assist in solidifying the neuronal pathways.If you want to risk chemically frying your brain then you can always sign up for a clinical trial of valproate and attempt to regress your neuroplasticity to the level of a teenager.


     


    Personally I would go with a version of the Varied Practice method (I thought this was called "neuroletic learning" at one point but I cannot find anything when Googling that term) since it does not involve any chemical or direct electrical current applications and you can see results fairly rapidly. The concept here is to actively build muscle memory by only allowing a "perfect" action to sit in your recent memory and cement itself. A small example for playing the guitar:


     


    Choose a piece of music you want to learn. Play a small section, and when you make a mistake note at what point you made it. Determine how far you can play without making a mistake, and set this as your realistic goal for your practice session.


     


    Now play the section from your piece of music, deliberately taking the time to get the transition to every note correct. Do not worry about being perfectly in time, focus on getting every single note correct. If you make a mistake, start over at the beginning. DO NOT CONTINUE ON FROM A MISTAKE.


     


    As soon as you have played the entire section through without missing a note, STOP. Ideally you will put down the guitar and choose a different activity, but switching to a completely different genre of music or playing scales is also acceptable, as long as your activity is sufficiently different than the piece you just played. 


     


     


    This is a very rough outline of the technique, so I hope it is an adequate illustration. The major idea is to solidify the neuropathways you just developed for the muscle movements used to perform that action. You could equate it to forming neural scar tissue if you are metaphorically inclined. You want to avoid following up a "perfect" repetition with anything else that could overwrite that neural link you just developed, allow it to cement itself. The speed and tempo of your piece can be practiced at a later time. Remember that every time you practice this piece you must play through without mistakes, otherwise you are encoding those mistakes as well. 


     


    To recap:


     


    1. Determine how much of a complex action you can reasonably perform with precision.


     


    2. Perform the action "perfectly" one time. (Start over if you make any mistakes at any point. Speed comes later.)


     


    3. Go do something different. 


     


    A very simple way to actively build muscle memory. After several years of not playing I can still ghost out a song on the guitar that I learned with this method while I cannot remember any of the other pieces. Hope it helps!













    While it sounds good in theory, with the amount of breaks i'd assume being taken, this would take you forever to get half-decent at an instrument.


     


    Full disclosure I do employ some of these techniques myself.

    "Men are more easily wooed by imagination then by science" - Will Durant

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  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    While it sounds good in theory, with the amount of breaks i'd assume being taken, this would take you forever to get half-decent at an instrument.


     


    Full disclosure I do employ some of these techniques myself.




    The official technique (not the my-experiences-written-from-memory one you see above) was actually developed to teach music at a massively accelerated rate. Think 4-8x. Your breaks don't have to be incredibly long. You can still switch to a practicing a different piece / style, or running through scales, something still related to that instrument. It's pretty modular. Fine-tuning it for yourself is half the fun!


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varied_practice


     


    You can also look at it as a way to put in minimal practice in a whole handful of activities in a single afternoon, exponentially increasing your return on your time investment. Combined with a few of the more involved methods to accelerate learning (neurochemical enhancement) should enable you to craft your own system that rapidly enhances your learning curve. 




  •  Fine-tuning it for yourself is half the fun!


     


    You can also look at it as a way to put in minimal practice in a whole handful of activities in a single afternoon, exponentially increasing your return on your time investment.




     









    I agree with the first point but i'm having a hard time understanding how the second perspective on practising will net 4x to 8x returns on time investment.


     


    Wouldn't quitting after your first mistake potentially entrain your brain to give up easily as well?


    Are you not also spending the majority of your time playing the parts you already play well and very little of it on the parts you don't play well?

    "Men are more easily wooed by imagination then by science" - Will Durant

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  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    I agree with the first point but i'm having a hard time understanding how the second perspective on practising will net 4x to 8x returns on time investment.




    What I was trying to get across with that is in certain settings using varied practice can allow you to learn certain complex activities 4 to 8 times faster than rote memorization and standard repetitive practice. The return on time investment would be determined by the individual.


     


    To go a little anecdotal, I have a roommate who is a classical guitarist, and he refuses to even consider applying any varied practice or to even attempt it. He genuinely loves repetitive practicing and working through the mistakes. He would not see any ROI on his time since he enjoys the practicing. The funny thing is, I can listen to him play a piece and know to the very note where each mistake is going to happen, because he practices through the mistakes. He taught himself where the mistakes go. 


     


    So if you value being able to learn things rapidly, have a handful of complex skills you want to learn, and can be very disciplined, then you could set up some varied practice schedules that could allow you to use say a 2 hour block to learn 4 skills with 2 repetitions each, and plenty of time for relaxing between sets. Instead of practicing one skill for a solid 2 hours a night. Some people like solid chunks of practicing though, so it is an individual call.


     


     




    Wouldn't quitting after your first mistake potentially entrain your brain to give up easily as well?




    You don't quit completely after your first mistake, you start over from the beginning. You avoid playing through mistakes, instead starting over and playing it without mistakes. Then you stop and take a break. This is why you choose small sections to learn at a time, and add on when you are proficient.


     


     




    Are you not also spending the majority of your time playing the parts you already play well and very little of it on the parts you don't play well?




    You would progressively increase the number of parts you play, adding a new part once you can complete the previous parts without mistakes. So if you can play the first, say, 4 bars of a song without mistakes, then on your next repetition you could add in the next bar or two. Whatever you can reasonably expect to be able to play without mistakes. Your whole goal is to progressively learn the entire song in this manner while building muscle memory.




  • You don't quit completely after your first mistake, you start over from the beginning. You avoid playing through mistakes, instead starting over and playing it without mistakes. Then you stop and take a break. This is why you choose small sections to learn at a time, and add on when you are proficient.












    Ah, Ok, my mistake. I accidentally blended that in with the next small paragraph haha.


     


    And again this is very close to how I practise too, not that i'm a virtuoso or anything, but I just like hearing other people's opinions on these things.

    "Men are more easily wooed by imagination then by science" - Will Durant

    Instagram

  • That is quite an interesting question and I am going to test it soon with learning the guitar. Going to get one of these - https://musiety.com/best-acoustic-electric-guitar-under-300/ and I'll try to reach a decent level for much less time than people usually do. Have a plan already and I really hope that it will work out.

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