Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 8th, 2016

The thrill is gone

Of course

The definition of a thrill is temporary excitement, usually experienced for the first time.

It’s thrilling to ride a roller coaster. The fifth time you have to ride it, though, it’s more than a chore, it’s torture.

The definition of the thrill is that it’s going to be gone soon.

You might have been thrilled to go to your first job the first day. Or thrilled to see the first comment on your blog or thrilled the first time one of your books was translated into another language.

But after that? How can repeating it be thrilling?

The work of a professional isn’t to recreate thrills. It’s to show up and do the work.

To continue the journey you set out on a while ago. To make the change you seek to make in the universe.

Thrilling is fine. Mattering is more important.

What investors want

They want you to put the money to use building an asset, something that works better and better over time, something that makes your project more profitable and more efficient.

And they want you to use that asset to create value that will pay them back many times over.

Most small businesses ignore both of these desires.

There’s so much stress from being on the edge, it feels like money will relieve that stress. And in the short run, it will. But if it doesn’t build an asset, soon you’ll be back to the edge, with the added problem of having an unrepaid investor as well.

Assets (buildings, machines, powerful brands, new technologies) are less essential than ever before.

For many organizations, a laptop is worth more than a building or a punch press. That’s great if you’re getting started, because the connection economy has made the cost of entry lower than ever before.

It also means, though, that the easy-entry business you’re in might not respond well to the investor’s money. If there isn’t an asset you can buy and build and defend and monetize, you’re much better off not chasing one.

“I”, “We” and “You”

One of the most profound ways to change your posture and the way you and your organization interact with customers and partners is to change your pronouns.

Instead of saying “I” when you’re ready to take credit, try “we.”

Instead of saying “we” when you’re avoiding responsibility, try “I.”

And, every time you’re tempted to depersonalize the impact of your actions, try “you,” while looking the impacted person in the eye.

Words matter

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How to Raise a Creative Child.

Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new

Step One: Back Off

THEY learn to read at age 2, play Bach at 4, breeze through calculus at 6, and speak foreign languages fluently by 8. Their classmates shudder with envy; their parents rejoice at winning the lottery.

But to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, their careers tend to end not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Consider the nation’s most prestigious award for scientifically gifted high school students, the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, called the Super Bowl of science by one American president.

From its inception in 1942 until 1994, the search recognized more than 2000 precocious teenagers as finalists. But just 1 percent ended up making the National Academy of Sciences, and just eight have won Nobel Prizes.

For every Lisa Randall who revolutionizes theoretical physics, there are many dozens who fall far short of their potential.

Child prodigies rarely become adult geniuses who change the world

We assume that they must lack the social and emotional skills to function in society. When you look at the evidence, though, this explanation doesn’t suffice: Less than a quarter of gifted children suffer from social and emotional problems. A vast majority are well adjusted — as winning at a cocktail party as in the spelling bee.

What holds them back is that they don’t learn to be original.

They strive to earn the approval of their parents and the admiration of their teachers. But as they perform in Carnegie Hall and become chess champions, something unexpected happens: Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.

The gifted learn to play magnificent Mozart melodies, but rarely compose their own original scores. They focus their energy on consuming existing scientific knowledge, not producing new insights. They conform to codified rules, rather than inventing their own.

Research suggests that the most creative children are the least likely to become the teacher’s pet, and in response, many learn to keep their original ideas to themselves. In the language of the critic William Deresiewicz, they become the excellent sheep.

Most prodigies never make that leap. They apply their extraordinary abilities by shining in their jobs without making waves.

They become doctors who heal their patients without fighting to fix the broken medical system or lawyers who defend clients on unfair charges but do not try to transform the laws themselves.

So what does it take to raise a creative child?

One study compared the families of children who were rated among the most creative 5 percent in their school system with those who were not unusually creative. The parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule.

Even then, though, parents didn’t shove their values down their children’s throats. When psychologists compared America’s most creative architects with a group of highly skilled but unoriginal peers, there was something unique about the parents of the creative architects: “Emphasis was placed on the development of one’s own ethical code.”

Yes, parents encouraged their children to pursue excellence and success — but they also encouraged them to find “joy in work.” Their children had freedom to sort out their own values and discover their own interests. And that set them up to flourish as creative adults.

When the psychologist Benjamin Bloom led a study of the early roots of world-class musicians, artists, athletes and scientists, he learned that their parents didn’t dream of raising superstar kids. They weren’t drill sergeants or slave drivers. They responded to the intrinsic motivation of their children. When their children showed interest and enthusiasm in a skill, the parents supported them.

Top concert pianists didn’t have elite teachers from the time they could walk; their first lessons came from instructors who happened to live nearby and made learning fun.

Mozart showed interest in music before taking lessons, not the other way around. Mary Lou Williams learned to play the piano on her own; Itzhak Perlman began teaching himself the violin after being rejected from music school.

Even the best athletes didn’t start out any better than their peers.

When Dr. Bloom’s team interviewed tennis players who were ranked in the top 10 in the world, they were not, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, doing push-ups since they were a fetus. Few of them faced intense pressure to perfect the game as Andre Agassi did. A majority of the tennis stars remembered one thing about their first coaches: They made tennis enjoyable.

SINCE Malcolm Gladwell popularized the “10,000-hour rule” suggesting that success depends on the time we spend in deliberate practice, debate has raged about how the hours necessary to become an expert vary by field and person.

In arguing about that, we’ve overlooked two questions that matter just as much.

First, can’t practice itself blind us to ways to improve our area of study?

Research reveals that the more we practice, the more we become entrenched — trapped in familiar ways of thinking. Expert bridge players struggled more than novices to adapt when the rules were changed; expert accountants were worse than novices at applying a new tax law.

Second, what motivates people to practice a skill for thousands of hours? The most reliable answer is passion — discovered through natural curiosity or nurtured through early enjoyable experiences with an activity or many activities.

Evidence shows that creative contributions depend on the breadth, not just depth, of our knowledge and experience.

In fashion, the most original collections come from directors who spend the most time working abroad.

In science, winning a Nobel Prize is less about being a single-minded genius and more about being interested in many things. Relative to typical scientists, Nobel Prize winners are 22 times more likely to perform as actors, dancers or magicians; 12 times more likely to write poetry, plays or novels; seven times more likely to dabble in arts and crafts; and twice as likely to play an instrument or compose music.

No one is forcing these luminary scientists to get involved in artistic hobbies. It’s a reflection of their curiosity. And sometimes, that curiosity leads them to flashes of insight.

“The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition,” Albert Einstein reflected. His mother enrolled him in violin lessons starting at age 5, but he wasn’t intrigued. His love of music only blossomed as a teenager, after he stopped taking lessons and stumbled upon Mozart’s sonatas. “Love is a better teacher than a sense of duty,” he said.

Hear that, Tiger Moms and Lombardi Dads? You can’t program a child to become creative. Try to engineer a certain kind of success, and the best you’ll get is an ambitious robot. If you want your children to bring original ideas into the world, you need to let them pursue their passions, not yours.

It turns out that people who talk to themselves are geniuses

I talk to myself a lot. And I don’t mean only in the privacy of my own home. I talk to myself while I’m walking down the street, when I’m in my office or when I’m shopping.

Thinking out loud helps me materialize what I’m thinking about. It helps me make sense of things.

(Does this apply to reading out loud too?)

It also makes me look insane.

Crazy people talk to themselves, right? They’re conversing with the voices inside their heads. If you’re yammering on to nobody, everyone thinks you’re a mental patient.

This is wrong. Talking to yourself, it turns out, is actually a sign of genius. (Can we cut out the crap and inserting genius attribute to every handicap?)

Gigi Engle posted:

In one study, psychologists Daniel Swigley and Gary Lupyan hypothesized that talking to yourself was actually beneficial.

And if you think about it, it’s obviously true. The smartest people on earth talk to themselves. Look at the inner monologues of the greatest thinkers. Look at poetry! Look at history! Albert Einstein apparently “used to repeat his sentences to himself softly.“ (That should Not be categorized as talking to himself. Many people try their talk on any audience they find)

Talking to yourself makes your brain work more efficiently

In one experiment, Swigley and Lupya gave 20 people the name of an object (like a loaf of bread or an apple), which they were told to find in the supermarket. During the first set of trials, the participants were bound to silence. In the second set, they repeated the object’s name out loud as they looked for it in the store.

Test subjects found the object with greater ease when they spoke to themselves while searching. Saying things out loud sparks memory. It solidifies the end game and makes it tangible. But talking out loud to yourself helps you only when you know what you need. In this case, speaking the object’s name out loud is helpful only when you’re familiar with its appearance. (More probably, it is the customers who directed them where the apple stand is in order to get a quick break from these lunatics)

According to Lupyan: Speaking to yourself isn’t always helpful — if you don’t really know what an object looks like, saying its name can have no effect or actually slow you down. If, on the other hand, you know that bananas are yellow and have a particular shape, by saying banana, you’re activating these visual properties in the brain to help you find them.

Talking to yourself helps you organize your thoughts

What helps me the most when I talk to myself is that I’m able to organize the countless wild thoughts running rampant through my brain. Hearing my issues vocalized calms my nerves. I’m being my own therapist: Outer-voice me is helping inner-brain me through my problems.

According to psychologist Linda Sapadin, talking out loud to yourself helps you validate important and difficult decisions. ”It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you’re contemplating.“ (kind of visualizing an audience nodding their heads in approval to your decision?)

Everyone knows the best way to solve a problem is to talk it out. Since it’s your problem, why not do it with yourself?

Talking to yourself helps you achieve your goals

Making a list of goals and setting out to achieve them can be hard to do. It can be overwhelming. Talking yourself through those goals is a much steadier way to achieve them. If you walk yourself through the process, each step will seem less difficult and more concise. Things will suddenly seem doable, and you’ll be less apprehensive about diving into the problem.

As Sapadin puts it, “Saying [your goals] out loud focuses your attention, reinforces the message, controls your runaway emotions and screens out distractions.” It puts things in perspective and grounds you.

Talking to yourself means that you are self-reliant.

Like Albert Einstein, who ”was highly gifted and acquired early in his life the ability to exploit his talents,” people who talk to themselves are highly proficient and count on only themselves to figure out what they need.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

February 2016
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