How much practice before you become great at something? 10,000 hours, said Malcolm Gladwell. Or rather, said psychologists who studied super high level musicians, as reported by Malcolm Gladwell. The idea that 10,000 hours of practice = expertise wormed its way into our collective psyche immediately after Gladwell presented it in Outliers: The Story of Success. The book was a huge bestseller, and we all now know that the most important determinant of success is dedicated, deliberate practice.

Except it’s not. Gladwell’s thesis has taken a beating by researchers who point out that the 10,000 hour rule fails to take into account studies showing practice is important, but so are genetics, starting age, and lots of other things. In fact, the latest meta-analysis makes a strong case that the whole 10,000 hour thing is just way overblown, with hours heaped upon hours of deliberate practice accounting for only about 20% of the variance in performance for sports and music, and less than 1% for professional performance.

I bring this up because QF92 is designed to help us get better at doing things on the regular. Things like coming out every Tuesday and Saturday, and doing the daily challenges. For all of us, but especially for queerfitters who do not naturally tend towards doing things on the regular, we are practicing the practice of practicing.

How’s THAT for meta- meta-?

QF92 is all about practice, but we are certainly not trying to practice 10,000 hours of any one skill. There’s not enough time, for one, but for two, it’s not what we’re about. We are not trying to become expert push-uppers, or supreme expert squatters. Who, after all, wants to spend 10,000 hours practicing to become great at exercising? Oh, right, many in the world of CrossFit do, but that’s a whole other kind of queer.

Anyway, I started this overly long post on practice because I reread today Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability, a speech given by my friend and master Catan player Mia MIngus. At the Femmes of Color conference, Mia asked:

What if we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking in and shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things that don’t make us magnificent? 

Aha! That’s what we’re practicing at QF92…we’re practicing magnificence. How great is that?!

Good thing the science guys have figured out we don’t need 10,000 hours of practicing magnificence to become magnificent, because we don’t have 10,000 hours left in QF92. We have 30 days left and we’re going to make every one of them magnificent.

The Thursday challenge:

Take 7 minutes to read Mia.
If you have a to do list, write on top of it: BE MAGNIFICENT TODAY. Then,

15 overhead squats with a broomstick (or if you can get to a bar, 65 pounds)
10 pushups, one step up from your usual
5 lunges each leg
1 minute writing down how to make yourself more magnificent

Repeat 5 times, including the 1 minute of jotting/writing.

Share something about your magnificence in the comments. We want to know.