Is GTD More Relaxed and Loose than I think

TesTeq

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Yes. But I do not believe it.

Max said:
I'm confused.

Can I become a Mozart if I just have enough experience at music?

Can I be equally good at tennis, music, programming, and hobknobbing?

Do I have talents or not?

I have no God given abilities, and I am just a widget thrust into the world I am good at programming and suck at the trumpet due soley to the experiences I have had?

I feel a bit disoriented as if I have been starring at a carousel to long.
As I understand what andersons writes - YES. andersons says that everything is a matter of practice. You can achieve anything you want if you put enough effort. You can be Mozart, Brad Pitt or George W. Bush if you want. Just practice.

Personally I do not believe it but I am not an expert. Apparently andersons has read much more books on the subject so I have to give up in this discussion.

Besides I do not like the idea that I am just a lazy man and it is the reason why I am not the pop star, top tennis player, best-seller writer, Microsoft owner or President of my country.
 

andersons

Registered
TesTeq said:
As I understand what andersons writes - YES. andersons says that everything is a matter of practice. You can achieve anything you want if you put enough effort. You can be Mozart, Brad Pitt or George W. Bush if you want. Just practice.
Not exactly. It is too late for me to put in 10 years/10,000 hours to become an international level golfer; besides the lack of time, age-related decline becomes a problem. :-(

And you cannot do it all. Remember how well Michael Jordan did in baseball?

But it is never, ever too late to increase your skill, and no one can really predict your ultimate skill level if you will just keep practicing. Even if you do not achieve early success, don't worry. Early success is a bad predictor of later skill level, but time spent practicing is.

I cannot say for certain that there is no such thing as talent or heritability of these skills because negatives cannot be proven. But the likelihood of talent being important seems small given the lack of evidence despite looking hard for it, plus all the evidence that relates skill with practice.

TesTeq said:
Besides I do not like the idea that I am just a lazy man and it is the reason why I am not the pop star, top tennis player, best-seller writer, Microsoft owner or President of my country.
Well, let's not bring Presidents in here. It could be argued that becoming President does not require skill so much as money and a great marketing team. :)

It does not take 10,000 hours to develop skill that will enrich your life. Significant skill -- not enough to make you famous, but enough to be rewarding -- can be developed in far less time.

The experts mentioned in this thread, Agassi, Armstrong, et al., have given up much to achieve superior performance. The rest of us don't work that hard at tennis because we simply don't want to. That's not laziness, IMO, it's a perfectly reasonable choice. There is a limit on the number of hours in your life. Every hour spent practicing is an hour NOT available for other things you could be doing. Including sitting on the beach in Hawaii.

TesTeq said:
But I believe that there is something more in Andre Agassi play than thousand of hours of training. It is mastery, it is art and it is charisma.
My opinion about charisma is not based on research. I think that the charisma is a combination of spectacular skill and appealing personality traits. His skill allows him to elegantly make shots that look impossible. His personality is pleasing, outgoing, enthusiastic, intense. He smiles a lot; he reacts emotionally to the game. In the US at least, people are rated highly likable when they have these traits and display these behaviors. Combine the spectacular performance with the winning personality and you have charisma.

I think that Pete Sampras was every bit as brilliant a player as Agassi. He made spectacular shots and beautiful plays. But Sampras was reserved. He didn't show emotion on his face. No one said he had charisma.

And I never hear about the charisma of players with winning personalities but less successful performance. Before Agassi reached the top of the rankings, when his performance wasn't as good, where was the charisma?

If you can know charisma when you see it, then you should be able to watch lower ranked players in the Top 100 and predict who the next Agassi will be. In fact, if charisma is so important, it should be possible to watch children playing tennis and predict who the next Agassi will be. The charisma should be observable all along if it is not learned. But I don't think people can make that charisma prediction reliably above chance or independent of skill.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Talent as skill development catalyst.

andersons said:
I cannot say for certain that there is no such thing as talent or heritability of these skills because negatives cannot be proven. But the likelihood of talent being important seems small given the lack of evidence despite looking hard for it, plus all the evidence that relates skill with practice.
I believe that talent is a catalyst in the skill development process.

Let's assume that we have person A (tennis talent 90%) and person B (tennis talent 10%). In my opinion in the same conditions (the same training effort) person A will learn to play tennis many times faster than person B. And person B will never achieve skill levels that are achievable for person A.
 
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Zatara

Guest
Seeking agreement 2

Max said:
I'm confused.
Can I become a Mozart if I just have enough experience at music?
Can I be equally good at tennis, music, programming, and hobknobbing?
Do I have talents or not?
I have no God given abilities, and I am just a widget thrust into the world I am good at programming and suck at the trumpet due soley to the experiences I have had?
I feel a bit disoriented as if I have been starring at a carousel to long.
I will try to summarize our collective findings here. Please add your comments.

In order to achieve mastery in anything that depends on skill (tennis, music, sports or GTD), 4 requirements have to be met:

1) Boundary conditions
You cannot be blind if you want to paint like Picasso. You cannot be deaf if you want to play like Mozart. You may even get deaf afterwards, when all mental representations are in place (Beethoven), but not while you are still learning.

Not fitting within the boundary conditions is not lack of talent. I (think I) don't have any talent for drawing, but as my two hands and sight are perfect, I would position myself within the boundary conditions. Shades of gray.

2) Time
There is an optimal time to start developing your skills. Children can learn a new language and reach native proficiency, but it is much harder, if ever possible, for an adult to do it.

3) Talent
Tough one, no one knows for sure how much of a role it plays. Personally I tend to agree with TesTeq that, if you level all other conditions, talent may explain the difference between the master and the genius. Andersons and current scientific literature tend to the other side, where talent doesn't play a role, only practice. However, even they accept that this cannot be proven, because of the difficulty in finding a negative control (like training a "non-talented" person to genius level).

I am still open to Anderson's view, especially when I remember George Leonard's book on Mastery and the paradox about his best white belt students, who would give up or stagnate after some time and get passed by the "worse" but more persistent ones. This is particularly true for bodybuilders also, most of the very, very big ones say they were very skinny teenagers and this was actually the motivation for improvement. Their naturally well-built peers (talented?) seemed to lack the motivation.

Anyway, as you cannot define your talent beforehand, this seems to be just an academic discussion, since either way you still need to...

4) Practice
We all agree that without this one, any level of mastery is impossible.

Conclusions:
The first 3 requirements are beyond your control, so no matter what you believe in, start practicing now.

Considering the most common scenario, you are also probably able, but too old and not talented enough to reach master level. You will need all the help you can have.

If you can buy a CD player that plays half-speed tunes, so that you can follow and "see" the relationships in Eddie's solos, do it. The fact that he doesn't need one now or didn't own one when he was a kid is irrelevant, all that matters is if this will bring you closer to mastery.

If you can have a software that links your projects to your next actions, the only relevant question is if this will bring you closer to mastery. If David doesn't use one or has never used one is completely irrelevant.
 

ceehjay

Registered
My summary: This is my last visit to this thread. It doesn't contribute to my goal of becoming more productive with less stress. In fact, it has increased my stress. I long for the helpful posts of a year or more ago, and I find myself wondering if this forum has outlived its usefulness for me. Maybe I am closer to black belt than I think.

Of course, no one else would really care one way or another about this, but like others who post here, I just wanted to have my say.

Carolyn
 
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Zatara

Guest
True mastery

ceehjay said:
I long for the helpful posts of a year or more ago, and I find myself wondering if this forum has outlived its usefulness for me. Maybe I am closer to black belt than I think.
In martial arts, this would be a typical green belt comment. Once one knows all the moves of karate for example, it is tempting to think that mastery is nearby...

Big mistake!

Mastery requires much more practice, and generally mentoring some white belts, especially the "not-so-talented" ones. They will force you to question your own technique, to go slower and try every possible combination, etc.

If you miss the helpful posts of one year ago, maybe you should start writing them now. But of course this depends on your goal: being a karate master or kicking someone's butt on the streets...
 

Max

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andersons said:
And I never hear about the charisma of players with winning personalities but less successful performance. Before Agassi reached the top of the rankings, when his performance wasn't as good, where was the charisma?
I don't think that charisma has much too do with success in tennis. I do know that Agassi has always had charisma. I was a fan of his since I first saw him. He was cool. Loved the image and long hair. And we was not at the top. Actually for a while when he cut (shaved) his hair are focused all his attention on the game he had less charisma.

Also, thanks all for the summaries. I still don't believe I could ever carry a tune in a bukket, but that's a mutt point.

{note to self: practice checking tickler every morning}
 

andersons

Registered
TesTeq said:
I believe that talent is a catalyst in the skill development process.

Let's assume that we have person A (tennis talent 90%) and person B (tennis talent 10%). In my opinion in the same conditions (the same training effort) person A will learn to play tennis many times faster than person B. And person B will never achieve skill levels that are achievable for person A.
You are not alone with this theory. I firmly believed it too, before I read the literature. If you are interested in the subject, I recommend that paper; the data are compelling. Many scientists have shared the talent theory and have looked for support and have come up empty. This astounding lack of evidence has shaken my belief in the existence of talent.

In controlled observations, teachers identify that person A has talent, person B does not. However, the teacher's idea of "talent" is simply based on observed performance to date. Person A is seen to have talent because he is performing better at that time. But when A and B BOTH continue to train approximately equally, the performance difference goes away, and the "talent" prediction does as well.

You never see a "many times faster" learning difference over time with the same training. At most, you'll see one person start with an edge and maintain that edge -- a constant difference. No multiplication. The factor that IS multiplicative is the practice difference (below is a paraphrase for brevity):

We found large differences in the histories of deliberate practice for experts and amateurs. At no point during development did the two groups accumulate comparable amounts of practice or attain comparable levels of performance. Experts started 4 years earlier and their average practice increased each year. The current amount of practice is more than 10 times higher for the experts than the amateurs [16 years later, at age 20].

Over the years, experts' total practice increased exponentially. Amateurs' increased linearly. That is the multiplicative difference between them. My amount of practice -- about 5000 hours -- puts me right in the middle of the expert curve: way above the amateurs, but way below the top experts. Which is exactly where my skill level is, too. I can't claim to have more talent than an amateur. I would like to think I don't have as much talent as Murray Perahia, but I haven't practiced as much either.

I think we want to see these spectacular performers as something magical, but in reality they are working their butts off.

When "talent" can only be identified AFTER a person has achieved extraordinary performance, and that performance is ALSO directly related to increased training, the theory is shaky at best. We cannot find an effect of talent, because in every case, people who perform better have practiced more! 10 TIMES more.

I am passionate about the subject because as both a teacher and a learner, I have shortchanged others and been shortchanged myself for a perceived lack of talent. I didn't bother working at things I really wanted to do because my father thought I had no talent in the area. My students' performance improved greatly when I saw it as related to lack of training, not lack of talent. The take-home message is -- no one has been able to identify talent PREDICTIVELY independent of training, so don't shortchange yourself or others for a perceived lack of talent.
 
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Zatara

Guest
Confused

Max said:
Also, thanks all for the summaries. I still don't believe I could ever carry a tune in a bukket, but that's a mutt point.
Sorry, but English is not my first language and I've no idea of what you're talking about. :-?
 

andersons

Registered
Max said:
I don't think that charisma has much too do with success in tennis. I do know that Agassi has always had charisma. I was a fan of his since I first saw him. He was cool. Loved the image and long hair. And we was not at the top. Actually for a while when he cut (shaved) his hair are focused all his attention on the game he had less charisma.
I agree that his personality and appearance were always appealing; it's just that I didn't hear the really awestruck commentary about "charisma" until he also achieved some spectacular successes. And good point -- I revise my theory of charisma to include appearance: attractive appearance + personality. We are blown away -- and rightly so -- when someone is gorgeous AND has a sparkling personality AND can hit a tennis ball with the best of them. There are some tennis players today with similar charisma but minus the consistently great play. Some might get there. I would predict who based on their training schedule, not their appearance or appealing personalities.

Max said:
Also, thanks all for the summaries. I still don't believe I could ever carry a tune in a bukket, but that's a mutt point.
I have taught supposedly "tone deaf" people to carry a tune. The "tone deaf" students were required to be in my choir, and I wanted my choir not to suck -- so I found a way. If you can listen to 2 pitches and tell me which one is high and which is low, you can learn to sing them. If you can't hear the difference, you need a lot of perceptual training first, which is a lot of work. However, the vast majority of non-musicians can hear pitches quite well.

I also know that vocal tone can be dramatically improved with voice training.

I don't know WHAT it is about singing. The people who complain to me that they can't sing are really not bad and could be quite good with a bit of practice. The people who want to sing the solos sound terrible and can't be helped because they firmly believe they have the greatest voice God ever made.

However, don't bother working at singing unless you really want to. But do check the tickler file every morning! :)
 

kewms

Registered
andersons said:
I don't know WHAT it is about singing. The people who complain to me that they can't sing are really not bad and could be quite good with a bit of practice. The people who want to sing the solos sound terrible and can't be helped because they firmly believe they have the greatest voice God ever made.
I don't think it's just singing. I've seen a similar phenomenon with writers and martial artists, too. It takes a certain level of skill to be able to see your own mistakes, and a higher level of skill to be able to fix them. "The expert is the one who knows how little he knows," and "ignorance is bliss."

Katherine
 
[GTD Habits] Reviews

ceehjay said:
The Weekly Review is important to me because it keeps me up to date on everything else.
The reviews (monthly, weekly, and daily) are the most important parts (habits) of GTD for me. Especially the daily reviews give me some kind of momentum that makes it unnecessary to link everything consciously. But I presume I do some unconscious linking, because during my reviews I come up with ideas for my projects. Two daily reviews every day seem to be optimal for me.

Rainer
 

Max

Registered
Zatara said:
Sorry, but English is not my first language and I've no idea of what you're talking about. :-?
"cannot carry a tune in a bukket" means that the person cannot sing well.

I meant "mute point" not "mutt point".

A mute point is one that does not matter. In this case, I have no desire to sing so it does not matter if I have musical talent or if talent is needed.

Also, just trying to lighten the mood with a bad pun.
 

andersons

Registered
agreement; thread quality; topic organization

Zatara, nice summary.

About consensus, this is my own personal view, not right or wrong but based on my personal values. I am comfortable with disagreement and find it valuable so long as it is reasoned and respectful. I have strongly disagreed with others on this thread, but I hope I have been respectful while presenting my view and the reasons for it. At least, that was my intent. I often learn more from respectful debate than from agreement. If I debate a position, at worst I solidify what I know so far. At best, I learn I am wrong, or I consider facts and ideas and viewpoints I hadn't thought of before, opening my mind.

I realize that not everyone likes debate or is interested in a given topic. Everyone is free to ignore threads or posts. My screen name is always there, and anyone can ignore my posts.

ceehjay, although you probably won't read this since you are done with the thread, I respect your view that the thread is worthless to you. However, several of us clearly were willing to discuss the topic and were interested enough to continue the discussion, so it clearly had value or interest to us. There are posts and threads here that are not interesting to me, so I simply skim or skip over them. I think that if people are interested enough to discuss something, whether it be the fashion style of backpacks or Levenger products or psychoanalysis, as long as it's not vicious or offensive, that's the kind of open discussion the forum enables. Even when not directly related to GTD. There are many off-topic threads, there always have been, and I don't understand why this one is bringing down the board.

And there are 2 topics on thread now. This is hardly unique to this thread or this forum. I read other forums where thread topic is strictly controlled. This is achieved through either expensive moderation, or many tiresome posts saying "your post is off topic."
 
Z

Zatara

Guest
Amen

andersons said:
"I often learn more from respectful debate than from agreement. If I debate a position, at worst I solidify what I know so far."
You're completely right, and that was my attempt to solidify what we all knew so far. My goal never was to stop debate.

For the rest, all I can say is amen.
 

Max

Registered
airolg said:
Are you sure it's not moot point?

http://www.answers.com/topic/moot-point

Not to start a debate or anything...
Actually, that would be correct. So, not only did I make a typo, but I also used the wrong word. :(

Also, i will go ahead and point out that bukket is actual spelled bucket but my favorite restaurant and seaside hangout is spelled 'Bukkets'. This is a common Freudian slip for me to make. ;)

Moral of the story is to be sure to drink one's morning caffeinated beverage before posting.
 
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airolg

Guest
My intention was not to correct you so much as it was to have it correct for the future readers of the forum. As you know, people read things, believe they are correct, commit them to memory and then use them wrongly from that point forward. Sorry if I offended anyone. :wink:
 
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