Tuesday, October 18, 2016

18th October 2016 - Flute in one month (unlikely)


Have you heard the idea that you need 10,000 hours to master something?

I saw a video about how talent or genius is really a myth and that essentially it comes down to practice, practice, practice.  I think that while there are obviously some people more gifted naturally at, say, complex math or hitting a tennis ball or singing a tune I tend to agree with the overall hypothesis.  As someone who is fond of evolution as an explanation of, well, pretty much everything it would make sense to me that it would be, in evolution terms, less favorable to have a few people brilliantly gifted with everyone else incapable of mastery.

Evolution, it seems to me, would prefer to have a species who - once stuck with intelligence rather than strength or sharp teeth - can learn to do things well rather than sprinkle genius dust throughout the tribes.  Skills like cookery to boat making to hunting to herbal medicine would need to be mastered each generation for the evolutionary advantage to stay with the tribe/species and it wouldn't make sense to allow the randomness of the village genius to appear .. "we can't cross the fjord to the nicer pastures" said Ug to his village "but just you hang on a few years and a gifted child may be born".  Unlikely.

I see us as a clever bunch of grafters.  Toiling away every day with our fishing and hunting and pottery making - getting a lot wrong but trying and trying until we master it.  Then passing it down.  Cheese was an accident when milk was left in an unclean animal gut-sack allowing the rennet to do it's magic (yum right?) .. but once it was discovered it was refined and refined and .. well you should go to the Sheridan's summer food festival.  I'm sure the flute was based on a lot of accidental discoveries and tweaks.  Even in Keymaster Pat Olwell talks about taking years to tweak and assemble his abilities.

So what about the 10,000 hours?  Is that true?  Do we need so long?
Had a look at this video where he says you only need 20 - which is a month of daily practice.

I'm not sure .. maybe to do something very simple to to get it to the point you can get away with it.
But for the sake of argument I'll accept one of his points that you shouldn't be put off starting to learn something.
He makes a good point that learning something new is an emotional barrier - often we're afraid to get things wrong and feel bad/look silly.

I also like his idea of not being blocked or finding reasons not to practice.  I have to admit that I can be guilty of wanting to read every manual on something before I try it .. the idea of knowing just enough to 'give it a go' is a good one if you suffer from 'analysis-paralysis'.

I could go on about Habits and stuff .. but perhaps another time ..

Back to the practice.  I've only 3 weeks left in my month to master this.



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