Archive for the ‘advocacy’ Category
I don’t think you think about the end of anything. Our job is to be ready to play; it’s always been that way.
[Nor should he. I know it's a mess for the Yankees, but they'll figure out. They're not sentimental and they'll do what they need to. But Jeter's perspective is right on. There's no quit in him.]
This is like most big goals you set for yourself, a bit anti-climatic. There were no fireworks or signs for me when I registered. It is just another old car race. But to me it does feel special. Like 20 years of late nights and lost weekends. Time away from friends. Are finally paying off. Life has lots of small rewards we work for. But precious few big ones. Those goals that when we set seem impossible to achieve. Our Moby Dick’s and moon shots. This is one of those. Anti-climatic. But also, I know how hard I worked to get here – so I am set to savor it. Most likely from the back of the pack.
[Along the same lines as this.]
Source: Kevin Gosselin
My son is 8. And he’s a lot of things. Over the course of the average day he saves the world from all sorts of bad guys, he rescues damsels in distress, and he designs and builds a variety of mostly flying vehicles for the aforementioned missions. He can also switch to being a dancer in a split second if the music and mood are right. He plays a mean air guitar. He sings while he works. He’s studying martial arts. And of course he’s also a student with a significant course load for one so young.
And what is so very cool about any this is he hasn’t drawn any lines around himself stating what he isn’t. He is whatever he wants to be for as long he wants to be it. And then he’s on to the next thing. (Admittedly, often without cleaning up. We’re still working on that…)
Soon friends, acquaintances, society will begin to ask him to make decisions about who he is. Probably before he’s given it much thought. The question in the less serious form has, of course, already occurred. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But there’s so many things wrong with that question it makes me grimace, although his answers on any given day can be amusing.
I think the decisions about who we are *not* are complicated. Do you remember when you realized that you’re not an athlete? Were you picked last for any organized sports? Did it take any of the fun out of running or jumping? Riding or swimming? Should it have? Should you have thought “I’m not good at…” just because by whatever measure someone else seemed better? Is it good thing that “I’m not good at…” becomes “I’m not a…”? Is it helpful at steering us? Or is it the first real challenge we face—to not let anyone else define who we are and put off the decisions about what we are not for as long as possible.
It might be more important to figure out who we’re not (do you want to be *that* guy?) but we should do it on our own terms, and as late in life as possible. By then we have the information that allows us to to be reasonably certain about our “nothood”.
For years I’ve taught student of all types that most important thing you can do to get better is to concentrate on the things at which you are not good, because it’s easy to chase the I-do-that-well stream of endorphins. Want to be a great person? Work on everything you’re *not* good at. Want to be a good baker? Bake every day. When you realize you’re good at pie but not bread…bake bread every day. Etc. And if I can get The Kid™ to work on the skills he’s not good at, I’ll never have to be concerned about someone else defining who he is or is not, merely where he needs to apply himself.
“Wonderful things can happen when the instructor doesn’t jump in,” she said. She often would let the conversation go and several hours later weigh in and have everybody move on.
“I think it was fantastic,” she said. “Our students who come back to mentor and tutor in on campus intro courses learn more than the students in the course. It’s not just that this is the second time around for them. They get the information again, but now they have to use it flexibly, they have to be able to respond to all the questions the students are asking. In any technical area we often make students take an intro course and then they have no interest in going on. This was a great opportunity to think how peer tutoring can be that second course — getting students exited, getting their confidence up.”
It was also a great exercise for her, she added.
“When you have to think about 10,000 students you will never talk to or explain things to, it took my materials to a new level. This had to work without my being able to talk to them.” She took a project approach to the MOOC, she added, with videos, lectures and demonstrations so students could go back to any areas they had difficulty with and collaborate with other students online.
[Great stuff. More! Much More!]
Don’t be impatient. Consider Hemingway: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Start there. You’re not going to publish a novel by age 20, but, if you work hard and keep working, you might write one true sentence by then. There are no shortcuts, and *sounding* true is not the same as true.
[Patience seems especially difficult in our world. It's why I'm so amazed at what Bezos pulls off with Amazon's financials. How do you get all those hard charging investors to accept that the answer is "we'll get there". Magic!]
When I finally did finish, at 1:05 am, my knees and elbows were crusted with blood, and my palms dotted with blood blisters from falling down, my skin pickled and covered in a sun rash, my ankles swollen red and hot, dirt everywhere, and my face completely flushed with fever. It was, after so many runs in my life, the first time I felt so deeply that I could not possibly have gone one extra step. So often people have commented upon seeing me after a 30 mile day that I look great, considering. I’ve always felt conflicted about that – sure it’s nice I can run that much and not look awful, but on the other hand, I want to look awful! I want to look like I’ve been through something. And finally, at 1 am on Friday morning, I looked like I had been through something. 23 hours, 110 degree heat, 8000 feet of elevation gain, all of it was written on my face, etched in my body. Finally, I looked like hell. And it felt great.
[It's amazing anyone ever thinks of these things… let alone complete them.]
How did Gladwell misconstrue it?
Aside from not having copied the numbers from the actual paper correctly for his book? He says that there is a perfect correspondence between practice and the level of expertise a person attains. And you can’t tell that from the paper. The 10,000 hours is an average of differences. You could have two people in any endeavor and one person took 0 hours and another took 20,000 hours, which is something like what happened with two high jumpers I discuss in the book. One guy put in 20,000 and one put in 0, so there’s your average of 10,000 hours, but that tells you nothing about an individual.
Now, Gladwell doesn’t say there’s no such thing as genetic talent. I think other writers are stricter than him. [Matthew Syed’s] Bounce is a book that minimizes talent. Gladwell does say elite performers are more talented. One of the things that Ericsson criticizes Gladwell about is to say that 10,000 hours is some kind of rule. The paper just says that these performers by the age of 20, these performers have accumulated 10,000 hours but there’s no where that says it’s a magical number where that’s when they become elite or anything like that. These people, by the time they go into their professional careers, have way more than that. That’s just where they were when they’re 20 as an average, not even to mention their individual differences.
[It's a meaningless quantifier. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. Not every journey needs an ending. Some devotions are categorical imperatives.]