I think that we all know what works and what doesn't work, but in order to avoid doing the work, we come up with fake stories about what works. How do you make progress? You stick with it.
There are other things that matter, of course, but the big one is whether or not you stick with it. I read a blog post once where a trainer was talking about the two types of people that go to the gym. There are the types that go inconsistently, constantly trying to figure out a better way to train, and then there are the guys who just show up and keep trying to increase the weight they move.
Technique and strategy matter, of course, but not as much as sticking to it. After all, sticking to it will refine your technique. You learn what works and what doesn't, and you course correct. Starting with the best possible technique won't get you to persist, but persisting will get you to good technique. That's why it's the most important thing.
One of my favorite gems online is this forum thread. Jonathan Hardesty posted in 2002, saying that he would draw one sketch a day and post it online. He stuck with it for eight years. At first his drawings were terrible and inconsistent. Some would look halfway decent, but others were disasters. He drew whatever he felt like, almost at random. No person would look at his early work and say, "This guy has artistic talent".
But as time went on, his paintings started getting better and better. So did his technique. He would spend weeks studying anatomy or some new medium. Eventually his work became good, and then amazing. Now he's a professional artist, both through selling his paintings and through teaching.
He started out as a bad artist without a real game plan for improving other than working on it every day. Now he's a great artist.
When I think about Sett and the threats that may approach us, I'm not worried about some guy with a genius idea for blogging. Good ideas are good, but they're not what create greatness, and they're not even a necessary component of it. Sett is good not because we started with a complete vision of how it should be, but because we've worked on it tirelessly, always trying to improve it. It's good because we stuck with it.
Know what I'd love to see in the community section here? I'd love to see people saying, "Here's what I'm going to do to get good at X. I'll post every Y days in this thread with progress." Think about if someone did that-- can you imagine someone sticking with that plan for two years and not getting good at whatever they were doing? I can't. So if there's something you want to get good at-- why aren't you the person who commits to that plan, guaranteeing some level of success for yourself?
Photo is my favorite Van Gogh painting-- Almond Blossoms from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
Totally agree with the message I would just add you are more likely to stick to it with some decent foundational instruction up front. I see guys at the gym all the time who clearly don't have a clue. Rail thin guys doing triceps isolations exercises or spending 25 minutes crunching their abs... no compound movements... basically wasting their time... so of course they don't end up sticking with it after a month or two of no results.
Here is a timelapse of many (or all?) paintings in the thread Tynan mentioned. It's extremely impressive to look through them in a video: http://vimeo.com/29510470
Hello, Tynan and Community
It's great that you included a work by Van Gogh in this blog post...talk about sucking at something, but later becoming a Master! Have any of you seen Van Gogh's first/earliest works?! He struggled with perspective, scale, shadow and light. His stuff was not great. You name it. He was also OBSESSIVE and RELENTLESS. It pays off.Thanks again, Tynan for another thought-provoking post.
I suspect this post is here because Tynan got tired of fielding questions about the Ghost platform. This work ethic is why I continue to invest here.
I would add one thing to this though: I think that sticking to it blindly is not the best idea. You should regularly evaluate your goals and if you are still on the right track, otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of your time without getting any results.
For example, let's say you are trying to lose weight and you start going to the gym. After one month, you should check your weight. If you didn't lose any weight so far, probably you are doing something wrong and sticking to whatever you are doing won't get you anywhere in the long term. Of course, quitting is not the answer - you should re-evaluate your exercise program, your diet and so on - tuning the process until you are starting to see the desired results.
Wow, this post came at exactly the right time for me. Just after Christmas I tried drawing a bit, but was pretty terrible at it so I set it aside. I think I'll challenge myself to do one page of drawings/studies every day.
Apparently the prerequisite to mastery is 10k hours. Anyone read "Outliers"?
It's a nice story, but it may not be accurate. See this recent paper: Deliberate practice: Is that all it takes to be an expert?
But the data indicate that there is an enormous amount of variability in deliberate practice—even in elite performers. One player in Gobet and Campitelli's (2007) chess sample took 26 years of serious involvement in chess to reach a master level, while another player took less than 2 years to reach this level. Some normally functioning people may never acquire expert performance in certain domains, regardless of the amount of deliberate practice they accumulate.
Their chart shows that around 12% of players reached Master in 2500 hours of practice, and another 12% take more than 25,000 hours. Deliberate practice explained only a third of the variation in performance, leaving two thirds for other factors--they showed support for 1) starting at a young age and 2) intelligence.
Reminds me of https://giveit100.com/ -- you post a ten-second video of yourself practicing the thing every day for a hundred days, after which you can then do it for a year or forever. The video on this page is another example: https://giveit100.com/about
I think that is a great idea. Since I usually make New Year's resolutions, it makes sense to make a yearly goal with a weekly check in. I will have to think about how to implement it. Maybe x amount of hours to polishing my book and getting it published this year. I have no trouble motivating to write, but it does get to be difficult when balancing a blog and a book.
Happy New Year!
Here are four travel issues that I’d love to see posts on.
1. What are the issues around having (or not having) a US address? Taxes? Jury duty? Keeping a US driver’s license (which sometimes requires an address)?
2. What about safe keeping of stuff? For example, you go hiking in Peru for a week, so you put your laptop in… a Peruvian bank safety box?
3. How reliable is poste restante? You may want family or friends to mail you stuff, like heavier gear, that you only want to use for part of the trip.
4. How to find buddies for sharing an apartment? Forums? Dedicated web site?
1. I (and several other US travelers I know) simply continue to use their parents' address. There are services you can send your mail to and they will scan and email you everything that comes in, but I've never found this necessary. For all officially documents I list my parents' address, even though I spend less than 30 days there per year.
2. Many travelers, if going on an extensive excursion, will leave certain items at hostels. For example, while in Nepal, I hiked the Annapurna Circuit with a couple round the world travelers who left unnecessary items with hostels in Pokhara. Doing so takes a certain level of trust with the hostel owners, but can pay off in reduced packweight.
4. If you're living in a foreign city for some time, and want a roommate, either to pick up the language or to reduce rent cost, Couchsurfing is a decent place to start. Granted, you need to have previous experience with Couchsurfing so people know you're a decent person, but that's quite easy to get going. I lived in Turkey for nine months, and found a roommate twice through Couchsurfing.
I can just answer these here, as the answers are short:
1. You can easily have addresses through services like virtualpostmail.com or through family/friends. Just not an issue in real life. I've never been called for jury duty, but I'm sure they'd excuse me if I was out of the country.
2. I just hiked with my laptop. This is why I pack ultralight.
3. I wouldn't ever do that because it would be too much of a hassle. Just don't use heavy stuff.
4. I've never shared an apartment except when going with a friend or renting out a room from someone.
A lot of people, hopefully not you, are living lives of glamorized, self inflicted, slavery. I've debated writing about this for a while, because of the connotation, but it's something I think about constantly. Sometimes I see someone working and I realize that they don't have the freedom to spend their days according to their own discretion. I try to empathize and imagine what it might be like, and as a result I feel a twinge of panic. It's unfathomable.
Time is all we have. If you're in a job that you don't enjoy, and you're not consistently saving up money, you are wasting your time. I don't care if you have a Porsche or a Schwinn, a penthouse or a room in a subleased apartment on the fringes of town. You can say that life is short, or you can say that it's long, but either way, it's finite. Today's the last day just like today that you have.
There's no conspiracy in play, trying to turn people into slaves. It's simpler than that: people take the path of least responsibility, and thus put the control of their lives into other people's hands. Why do so many people give up the best hours of the best days of their lives? Because it takes no thought. Everyone else gets a full time job, so why not?
AJ Kessler is an extremely talented guy with lots of great insights on art, business, philosophy, and life. He's an excellent photographer, and he was kind enough to write a post on creativity for us. I'm pleased to bring it you. Here's AJ -
"I'm just not a creative person."
I hear that all the time. It's complete bullshit.
If you've never created something, or done something you'd describe as creative, you may lack awareness or curiosity (two conditions which are easily fixed with minimal effort), but that doesn't mean you're not creative.
Anyone can be creative. Even kids are creative, and kids don't know anything. That's the secret though: they're creative because they don't know anything. They don't know how things work and they don't know what the outcome is supposed to be. So they ask questions, they try things, they experiment, they break things. If the end result looks good to them, they're done.