Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Get Lost

There are some things you can measure and some things you can't. Having a clear, objective, quantifiable goal can be addictive - it can let you feel like you have everything under control. It is much easier to be productive when you can say, 'these are the three things I want to achieve today', and then to tick them off. We apparently get a hit of dopamine when we do manage to hit these targets.

A child with the spending power of an adult would struggle to make it down the tantrum tunnel. You know that tunnel of sweets by the check out counter when the parent is trapped and the kid has to survive to the end without blowing their minds. The risk when you try measure everything is that you become the child rather than the adult. The measures are so sweet, you can't think of anything else.


What I am wanting to study and talk about are the obstacles to learning new skills. What I don't want to focus on is the efficiency side of things. Tim Ferris is doing some awesome work in his Four Hour Series showing ways to free up time by doing things better and cutting out waste. Incorporating productivity measures is great, but above that I do think there is stuff we simply can't measure.

Malcolm Gladwell talked about needing 10,000 hours of practice to become world class at something. Matthew Syed continued with the idea and spoke of how practice needs to be purposeful. Ken Robinson wrote about the need to find that place where talents and desire intersect and how those who succeeded found that powerful combination.




So you need to put the time in. There need to be objective criteria. You need to love what you do.

There is also some value in going off the clock. In stopping measuring and getting a little lost. When you use satellite navigation to get somewhere, sometimes you are not able to get there by yourself. Above that, you don't discover the flavour off the route. I spoke the other day of our 'Sense of Authenticity' - I think part of method acting or our ability to tell if someone is talking about something someone else does or something they have done is our ability to tell if it is worth doing in and of itself. I love the Afrikaans word 'Kuier' - it translates as visit, but that doesn't quite capture it. When you 'Kuier', you are in no rush and you have no measurable goal. Yes there is an intersection of 'talent and desire' but it isn't explosive, it is comfortable. Beyond the very valid points Ferris, Gladwell, Syed and Robinson make about finding success - I think perhaps one of the things we haven't explored enough is the value of regularly just getting lost in the things we love.
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