James Clear. Name ring a bell? (If so – you are in the know. Lucky you.) It doesn’t? Check out a podcast that will change your thoughts. It is entitled “Change your identity to Change Your Habits.” I first started listening to the “Unmistakable Creative “several months go on a casual basis. With their 500+ archive, it makes finding a specific person or topic very easy. You can listen directly on their site or, as I do, listen to the podcast via Apple. That sounded like an advertisement. Back to the point…
In this cast, James explains his journey and what he has found, from both research and personal experience; how to set yourself up for success. Little things. He sets the stage at one point describing experts in the fields – and what it takes for a “genius” to become the SME (subject matter expert). For example, he references research that indicates out of 400 composers each one was in the industry for 10 years before they “made it big.” Before the icing was put on the cake – they had a decade under their belt grinding away at what they love. There are exceptions to every rule. I am sure you could google it and pull up an outlier on the bell curve or one that was way outside of this timeframe. James did note that even many of the exceptions identified in the research were approaching the decade of experience.
WHAT IS THE POINT JOE? ARE YOU SAYING WE SHOULD GRIND FOR 10 YEARS? Not. At. All. I am simply saying that somewhere along the way we have grown impatient donning an entitlement crown where the bigger-better-faster-more comes with minimal effort, a shortcut (such as payout), or constant hopping. By hopping, I mean jobs, likes/dislikes, or whatever… insert your [SKILL] here. James also points out a quote, by Niels Bohr, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” It may be possible that if you could get the equivalent amount of experiences in a shorter duration than based on the abilities of your field. I do not have any proof of that but I would think it is about the amount of experience vs. the time. To use an analogy, if there was a job that needed to be completed and required 2 people for 4 hours, by adding 4 people the same work could be completed in 2 hours. Make sense? Yet, as I type this I cannot help but wander and wonder.
When I was a child – I liked child things. While I still do like many of the same things as I did my perspective has changed as I have grown older. I hated cottage cheese when I was kid; today I love it in a variety of recipes. The debate, for me, would be what impact time has on a person. It is a chemical or developmental thing? My brain functioning differently at 30+ vs. 10? Or perhaps, it is the exposure of the time element. With more life I have had more chances for diverse interactions. Some of which I may have only been able to have with added age. Maybe combinations…
If your mind is rabbit trailing tangents right now – *fist bump* – I understand. In the same podcast there is another point made along this same subject that solidified my thinking around this subject of time and trail. James references an experiment that a professor performed at some university. The details escape me, and to be honest, I do not thing it matters much. The professor divided the classroom into two groups. The groups, in the same class, learning the same thing(s), had a different requirement for the finished product. Group (1) was assigned the task of making a sculpture. The sculpture would be graded on a variety of criteria but the art would be judged on quality etc. The winner would have the “best” piece. Group (2) was assigned the task of making as many sculptures as possible. Each one should be good but the concept was based on how any pieces could be generated. The students needed to be a sculpture making factory and the winner would be the student who had the most qualified sculptures. What the study concluded was that the best pieces, as measured by the professors predetermined criteria, came from group (2). Each attempt at making a piece refined the students skills and essentially made subsequent pieces “better.”
I could go one this tangent for hours. I will end it with the thought that we need to get out of our shells and do something. Failure will happen and we need to take it and press on – not making the same mistake again. Each time we try – we improve. As we are shaped by experiences and efforts we need to realize that we are making progress. It may not be visible now but we are. So – whatever you are kicking yourself for – or think you are terrible at – pause… breathe… try again. You’ll get there. We all will – if we want it and if we try.