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Persevere not only for 10,000 hours but for 10,000 years

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Book: Outlier The Story of Success
Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Sometimes ago we had this discussion on the book Outlier. I remember the book, but when I have to explain to somebody else, an instant blankness happened.
Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years.

Genius is not the only or even the most important thing when determining a person’s success.
Christopher Langan = a man who ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri despite having an IQ of 195 (Einstein’s was 150).
Langan has not reached a high level of success because of the environment he grew up in. With no one in Langan’s life and nothing in his background to help him take advantage of his exceptional gifts, he had to find success by himself.

SUCCESS = is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of ADVANTAGES and INHERITANCES, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.

A scientific genius is not a person who does what no one else can do; he or she is someone who does what it takes many others to do. The genius is not a unique source of insight; he is merely an efficient source of insight.

In 1984, a young man named Malcolm graduated from the University of Toronto and moved to the United States to try his hand at journalism.

Some poets do their best work at the beginning of their careers. Others do their best work decades later.
A painting done by Picasso in his mid-twenties was worth, he found, an average of four times as much as a painting done in his sixties. For Cézanne, the opposite was true.

What can we learn from Malcolm?
1. uncommonly clear writing style. “There is beauty in saying something CLEARLY and SIMPLY.”
2. keen eye for a story.
3. No matter what age you are, you can always produce innovations and best work. Think of the Cezanne and Picasso story.

Written by blueroselady

September 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

DO what you LOVE, LOVE what you DO

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Do what you love and love what you do sound simple, but appear complex in practice.

How many of us do what we love for most time of our lives?
How many of us love what we do for most of our doings?
For many people across different ages and roles of life, here are possibilities:
Dreams change.
Goals change.
Plans Change.

Do you love a doing because you are good at the doing?
Would you still love the doing if you are not (yet) good at the doing)?
Would you still love the doing if you are not (yet) good at the doing (even after 10,000 hours of practice)?

A quote by Steve Jobs shared by Jeff Moore:
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.
Don’t settle.
As with all matters of the heart,
you’ll know when you find it."

When I was in high school,
I love (or perhaps prefer) science subjects because my linguistic skills are limited (reason #1).
Apparently and consequently, I did better in maths, chemistry, biology, physics than in language subjects. People love doing things whereby we have a sense of mastery, do you feel so as well?

My native Chinese-speaking classmates who have learned writing and reading since early age, are at ease in the Chinese class.
My Eurasian classmates who have a native speaking father / mother, or those who have English-educated parents, seem to write English so fluently.
They had read thick novels / non-fiction books and easily won the essay writing and elocution competitions.
For me,
to write an essay in English or Chinese,
I had to start from simple structures.
When I have an exam topic of essay to write,
I would quickly jot down some ideas in point form and elaborated on them later as my writing progressed.
Normally, I would write explanatory or argumentative essays, and very rarely narrative essays, simply because of my limited vocabularies.

Reason #2
There are high certainty in science subject exams.
1+1=2. If the answers are right now, they will be right tomorrow.
We love things that we do well.

But in real life (including the real scientific fields as my scientist acquaintances point out),
the rules of game are uncertain.
The rules are not constant; change is the rule of the rules.
That’s why life is the only known example of infinite game is life, according to James P. Carse.
On contrary, examples of finite games are debates, sports, schools, receiving a degree from an educational institution, belonging to a society, or engaging in war.

The surprise in infinite game is the triumph of the future over the past.
So, when you are uncertain about what to do next, an easy step is to
always choose infinite games.

Winning should not be the final goal because after winning, the game stops.
Life is a game that is meant to be continuously played.
Aunt Florence shared some profound advice on how to play the game of life, you may want (and I need) to revise and remember them,
as resilient shortcuts in the moments of negative feelings and events.

Although I honestly feel that my writing is still not up to standard (set through social comparisons with people of similar professional credentials to mine and authors whom I admire),
I will continue writing.
I think this is an example of "DO what you LOVE".

Sometimes we may have to do things that we are not interested, so it is hard to love what we do.
However, the good news are interests are malleable,
they are formed through our past experiences (including education),
so we can change them through learning and unlearning.
Revealingly, you can re-program your minds and interests through conscious efforts,
this attempt will also beneficial to discard some preferences that we would not want to have if we think carefully about them but others manage to incept on us — think of the 2010 science fiction film entitled Inception.

For example, I know a number of people who have focused greatly on their careers,
hate doing house chores or parenting tasks,
but I believe that if they want to,
with right conscious efforts to shift their interests,
they can love what they do.

How to continue love what you do (even if you feel tired / bored / disappointed / frustrated) ?
My friend Tracy suggests using positive feedback loop.
You can establish positive feedback loop when the rewards / pleasure of your doing outweigh the sacrifices / pain.

To DO what you LOVE, you need willpower and courage.
To LOVE what you DO, you need positive feedback and inner security.

Inner security that I means here is not worrying so much about achieving certain levels of success.

More real-world examples:
# Joanna: becoming a mother at age 48
# My friend Leo highlights that people rule out the possibility of great change, because it appears unrealistic.

Finally,
"Do what you love, love what you do & deliver more than you promise!" ~ Harvey Mackay

Written by blueroselady

September 25, 2013 at 4:56 am