“I was thinking about the three-year rule while reading about Malcolm Gladwell’s observation that it takes 10,000 hours to become truly expert at something. If you really throw yourself into a job, you’ll spend 60 hours a week working. That’s 3,000 hours a year (allowing for vacation), which means you’ll hit the 10,000 hour mark a few months after your third year.
So maybe that’s where the three-year rule comes from. You’re now expert at what you set out to master. Great. Now go do something else.”
When I read the book I thought that the idea behind the 10,000 hours was to get good at something and then use that knowledge. What The Economist and the media in general seems to favor is getting good at something and then doing something else.
The other version of this is that you learn a foreign language, say Italian, but then only travel to Spanish speaking countries. Or you learn a new instrument ever three years but never perform.
I think that this explains something that we all know deep down. Whenever we read an article about a subject that we know well we believe that the article is wrong. However, we believe articles about subjects that we don’t know.