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Ten-year rule

The term was introduced by Hayes (1989) who studied the role of the preparation stage in creative production. He examined career development in several fields requiring creative thinking such as musical composition, painting, and poetry. He found that even the most 'talented' individuals required many years of preparation before they reached master-level performance in their work. He described the average pattern of career productivity of a composer as beginning with what he called 'years of silence' or 'period of noncreativity, ' which led to the first master-work. Then there was a rapid increase in notable works, through career years 10-25, which followed by a stable production through years 25-49, and finally a gradual decline. For painters, the average time of preparation was 6 years, and for poets 5 years. The period between significant works of the same creator is also regulated by 10-years rule. It shows the importance of extensive domain-specific knowledge and deliberate practice for successful creative functioning.

Ten-year rule. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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