Growing up, we all heard the expression “practice makes perfect” from our high school coach/music teacher. Then Malcolm Gladwell went on to popularize the research that expertise developed over “10,000 hours” of deliberate practice. But how does that really work?
In this post, I’ll share what science knows about learning and how special type of brain tissue called myelin, plays a key role in helping us acquire and master skills.
Learning Rewires Our Brains
When we learn a new skill, whether it’s programming in Ruby on Rails, providing customer support over the phone, playing chess, or doing a cartwheel, we are changing how your brain is wired on a deep level. Science has shown us that the brain is incredibly plastic – meaning it does not “harden” at age 25 and stay solid for the rest of our lives. While certain things, especially language, are more easily learned by children than adults, we have plenty of evidence that even older adults can see real transformations in their neurocircuitry.