What have we learned from this?
1. If you practice for 10,000 hours you can become good at anything.
Jk. Here are some of the real lessons:
1. Never follow anyone else's advice.
Never trust what an "expert" tells you. Unless you're dealing with something repeatable that he's seen before, he doesn't know better than you.
Instead: Gather data. Understand the feedback other people give you. Critically evaluate the suggestions of others.
Dan's mistake: Dan's golf coach advised Dan to spend months doing nothing but putting. Dan failed to critically evaluate this advice. He failed to experiment on his own. Instead, he blindly followed his coach, losing months of his life in the process. Simply pitiful. Once Dan started to practice his long game, he realized he had made a mistake.
2. Be willing to admit you suck (at something)
Many people have trouble overcoming challenges due to a weird, distorted view of the world. Often it's because they're unwilling to admit that they suck at something.
Instead: Realize that you're a good person who isn't perfect. Be happy with what you have and be willing to fix your problems, one at a time, in the right order. If you suck at something, don't let that hold you down, but at the same time admit it to yourself and be realistic.
Dan's mistake: Dan has said that every day he thinks about making it to the Tour. This isn't realistic, and it causes him to have emotional breakdowns, fail to set clear goals, ignore negative feedback and have an all-around poor mental game. (For example: mentally replaying one shot from one bad tournament round for 18 hours.) Worse yet, he may be spending years on a journey he will regret later.
3. Use the right metrics to measure things
Sociologists, journalists, writers, etc. fall prey to bad statistics. Don't be one of them.
Instead: If you want to use numbers, make sure you have enough data (so that you're not just looking at randomness) and don't cherry-pick statistics that make you feel good. In golf, you should be using fine-grained statistics such as strokes gained.
Dan's mistake: Dan constantly uses a single good round to justify how well he is doing. Dan has had one under-par round (on a short easy course he's played maybe hundreds of times) and uses it to justify that he'll get to Tour-level, but it means nothing: if you want to evaluate yourself based on the scores you shoot, you should look at averages, not the extremes, and you should ideally look at competitive rounds. To prove that Vision54 was a success, he "simulated" a round in his head (shooting a 74). Again, bullshit. The simple statistics he uses (greens in regulation, putts per round, etc.) are, combined with his poor mental game (see above), worse than useless.
If Dan did start using good statistics such as strokes gained, he would likely not even dare to analyze them, since they'd prove he's not making good progress.
4. Malcolm Gladwell is nonsense
Malcolm Gladwell is like a woman giving a TED Talk about empowerment. He preaches to the choir with feel-good drivel which sounds convincing to the untrained ear.
Repeating this type of nonsense may give you applause, a professorship and a NY Times bestseller. But their actual content (I'm talking both Gladwell's and the woman's) is destructive.
10,000 hours is bullshit. Some of us knew it before. All of us should know it know.