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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:58 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
About a year ago, an uber smart friend of mine (Yale undegrad, UVa medical school) and former boss was chatting with me about a book he had read. I bought it fairly quickly, but never got around to reading it.

After going to Vicki's funeral, I was rearranging stuff in my (Virginia) home office (with the help of an assistant). She found a bag with books I had bought for myself and my number 2 son. I took my books with me on the plane ride back to Louisville. I started the one my friend recommended, and managed to zip halfway through it in my one-connection flight from Richmond to Louisville.

Here it is....

Image

The book is about what makes very unusual people special, or outliers using common statistical lingo. Candidates include the founders of Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Google, and even The Beatles. Like a few books I read on martial arts (thanks to Van, Rory, and others), this one shoots holes in conventional wisdom.

For instance... Goleman's Emotional Intelligence talks about another important dimension to success. Gladwell speaks about how IQ helps predict probability of greatness... up to a point. Beyond a certain level (below the IQ of many of my peers...) any additional IQ points don't help. Other "orthogonal" abilities however come into play. He gives many specific examples, and discusses the research of Terman who followed the lives of a cadre of IQ "geniuses" from grade school on.

Another interesting chapter goes into how "unfair" advantages come into play for predicting greatness. You Canadian hockey fans will be shocked at one of the more important predictors of whether or not some Canadian will make it to the NHL. (I won't spoil it...)

The particular chapter worth discussing here however is "The 10,000 - hour rule."
Wikipedia wrote:

A common theme that appears throughout Outliers is the "10,000-Hour Rule", based on a study by Anders Ericsson. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous time, using the source of The Beatles' musical talents and Gates' computer savvy as examples.[3] The Beatles performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time, therefore meeting the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell asserts that all of the time The Beatles spent performing shaped their talent, "so by the time they returned to England from Hamburg, Germany, 'they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.'"[3] Gates met the 10,000-Hour Rule when he gained access to a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13, and spent 10,000 hours programming on it.[3]

Hmm...

Time to get on with that Sanchin, eh? ;)

- Bill


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 Post subject: Not a Beatle yet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:21 am 
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From day one I have logged my hours on the dojo floor...9200 hours :(
I think I will need more than 10000, but nice to know as I`m of average intelligence.

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 Post subject: Just in
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:33 am 
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:oops:

I sent an email to my better (smarter) half asking her if she was interested in picking the book up.
The reply...
Quote:
we have this book love. It's in the bookcase by the TV.


I am toopid :lol:

Reading now

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:48 pm 
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Gladwell is one of those writers who I love reading and think he's on to something. Only after I finish his books do I get the feeling that he's sometimes right, sometimes questionable and sometimes just full of beans. :lol:

Lot's of folks do things for 10,000 hours without achieving great success. I think his idea of timing has a lot of merit. Gates, Jobs, Woz, Allen, Kildall, Kahn, etc were smart guys who were doing what they were doing at the right time. The Beatles, Stones, Who, Byrds, Doors, Sinatra, Madonna all hit at exactly the right time. But the ones who were involved with something that lasted had something else going for them, smart people who knew other stuff that made success possible.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:14 am 
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MikeK wrote:

Lot's of folks do things for 10,000 hours without achieving great success. I think his idea of timing has a lot of merit. Gates, Jobs, Woz, Allen, Kildall, Kahn, etc were smart guys who were doing what they were doing at the right time. The Beatles, Stones, Who, Byrds, Doors, Sinatra, Madonna all hit at exactly the right time. But the ones who were involved with something that lasted had something else going for them, smart people who knew other stuff that made success possible.

I don't see a conflict with the book I just read, Mike. Gladwell would agree 100%.

Like most things in life, the outcome is multi-factorial. In addition to doing the time you need to be
  • just smart enough (IQ)
  • have just enough emotional intelligence (not the least of which would be for having the perseverance to do the time)
  • have just the right number of breaks in life (the planets all being aligned, so to speak)
  • have the right help from the right people

Gladwell uses Gates as an example. He lists nine (9) opportunities that came Bill Gates' way as he was growing up (from 8th grade on) which gave him early (one of the first) access to time-sharing computers to build his craft. Others ADULTS of his time? Most were working for "the man" writing code with one punch card per line that got submitted today and gave you output tomorrow. If it didn't have any bugs in it... Which it never does the first time around... It's like being given a 10-mile head start on a marathon run.

But you still have to run the marathon. Who runs a marathon???

That's the thing. I can't tell you how many "promising" students I've taught, Mike, among the thousands who entered my dojo. But maybe 5 out of every 100 did the time it took just to get a shodan. Put in 10,000 hours? I had to think about whether or not I personally had gone past that threshold. I have, but... That's because I was insane for about a 10-year period. And I have the gray hairs to show for it.

Like Joe Flom (the Jewish New York lawyer in the book), the time was put in not BECAUSE of opportunities given, but because opportunities were denied. I didn't have a George Mattson in my town. After a year and a half each exposure to Hamada (Shorin Ken) and Rad Smith (Uechi), I was on my own except for long rides to New England twice a year. So I had to learn by teaching. And so I did...

You get the idea, Mike. Doing that 10,000 hours is in and of itself a sign that you have something else going on for you - as you stated.

- Bill

P.S. And yes, I'm no Bill Gates. ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:43 am 
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The 10,000 hours reminds me of an old Black Belt Magazine article about Tom Muzilla (don't remember if that's the correct spelling). His thing was pushing yourself to reach the next level through meditation and physical challenges. Anyway he said you didn't really break the threshold of understanding or success until 1000 reps. So, being young and somewhat insane, I gave it a try. After doing a thousand thrust punches each day for about a week.... I came to an epiphany. It takes a really long time, and gets old real quick. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:54 pm 
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KentuckyUechi wrote:

he said you didn't really break the threshold of understanding or success until 1000 reps.

As crazy as the rest of your post sounded (taken in good humor of course...) there's something to this 1000 repetition rule.

Patrick McCarthy, author of The Bubishi and world traveler/instructor, has often repeated this rule of thumb about techniques and forms. He learned it from one of his own Japanese Senseis. My own take on it is that it takes about 1000 repetitions to make it "yours", and about 10,000 repetitions to absolutely master it. If you take the old Tomoyose formula of doing (for instance) 3 Sanchins every day and it takes 10 years to master it, well the numbers work out. (10,956 repetitions to be exact, accounting for leap years and such)

Your junior misunderstanding of the concept brings up a very important point that I like to remind my students. Doing a technique 1000 times over 50 days (essentially 20 repetitions per day) gets you a LOT more benefit than doing all 1000 in a single day. As with weight training, the days (or nights) in-between the workouts are more important than the workouts themselves. With resistance training it's one step back on the workout day, and two steps forward on the rest days. With studying (cognitive or physical), there's a lot of very important processing that happens when you "sleep on it." Thus when I'm working with a student on something, I'll only push so far. When I see the frustration hitting or the point of diminishing returns, I'll tell them to "sleep on it." Sometimes at the next class, they will have gotten better - even if they did nothing in-between classes.

My strength coach at UVa taught me to schedule my rest periods as carefully as I did my training days. Another professional trainer once told me "After an hour of weight training in the gym, you're only working your ego."

As any professional student knows, cramming for an exam is a sure-fire way to make the mind perform automatic flush sequence after the test is turned in. It's no proper way to learn something that you need to use later.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Found it!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:53 am 
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http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/interviews/muzila2.html

http://ma-mags.com/Mags/BB80/BB%201983-08%20Cov.jpg

[/quote]Your junior misunderstanding of the concept
Quote:

Actually.... As I remembered it, even in my youth I understood the concept quite well (IMO). However, it's different than the concept you or the book speak of. Mr. Muzilla was speaking of a kind of Marathon training, and setting goals that seemed beyond reach. Despite poking fun at the concept and myself in my first post, I did benefit from it. It was a test of my determination and a confidence booster. I agree with what you said about doing a few reps per day over a number of weeks, as far as skill building and understanding a technique. "Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect."

I remember telling my Shito-Ryu Instructor that I had been doing 1000 punches per day, and he ignored the statement - No doubt he thought I was greatly exaggerating. But it made me feel good, since I knew what I had "accomplished", and to everyone else the # seemed preposterous.

Bill, Forgive me. I know I've rambled way off track from the original post.

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