« Photo[shop]-Specific Computers | Main | Random Excellence: Beth Moon »

Thursday, 01 November 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mike, as you mentioned the Zen and the Art of Archery, I would like to bring your attention to a short article of an excellent Russian photo writer - 'Tao Te Ching And Photography' http://www.hobbymaker.narod.ru/Fiction/03_TaoTeChing_n_Photography_English.htm

"How to Win Friends and Influence People" came out in 1936.

Reading, thanks for the tip :)

Well, I can't yet comment on Grit the book. However, one of the few things that has felt like an insight to me in my life is realizing that "talent" or "intelligence", some sort of inherent ability to do well at some kinds of things, while it may exist, is not something I have any control over; whereas learning to apply myself, to buckle down and work on things I want to accomplish, is a thing I can learn to do, build habits of doing, and it will serve me strongly at any "talent" level. (Knowing this helps...well, probably almost as much as you might think it would. Yeah.)

I think that two of the ways parents mis-serve their children arise from this.

On the one hand, confirming kids in thinking they do well because they are talented seems to lead to the kids thinking they won't have to work at things. Most people who are "smart" early in life (I knew a lot in college and I know a lot in science fiction fandom; my whole bubble starts with MENSA-level smart as the base for being taken semi-seriously, and the people who impress us are off the scales) eventually come to a place where they realize that in this room they're average, and the people who work harder do better. Some buckle down and work, some fail, either traumatically or pleasantly. Forming better working habits earlier is easier.

(The other, opposite failure is to be so devoted to encouraging the child to focus and work that you end up belittling every single accomplishment they make, often leaving them with totally crippling self-image issues. I know a lot of victims of that, too.)

I didn't start out to be a writer either; I wanted to be an Astronomer but discovered there were few jobs and little remuneration. Then I became a tech peddler and found it was fun, satisfying and lucrative.
Along the way, I did lots of writing. Not creative writing but communicating ideas.
I learned in school I was not a creative writer but I was good at communicating. I guess I also gave grit. Last year I did a 300 page highly technical book in 90 days. I'm working on book #10 (inspired by Mike) and have 3 magazine articles due in the next 2 weeks- that's fun to me!
My mind doesn't work when told to sit down and write X hours per day the way some authors recommend. I have a project goal and want to get it done and move on to the next project.
That makes mean wonder about how I deal with photography. Over the years I have had projects to document particular things, then I move on.
BTW, this fits the definition of a "product" person as opposed to a "process" person - I want to see the end result not just enjoy doing something..

My wife is a positive education practitioner and would also recommend "Positivity" by Barbara Fredrickson. After (reluctantly) reading it I have managed to apply the common sense practices to my everyday life to great effect.

This is a somewhat sideways look at your topic, this is about 'excellence' in a field. I first ran into Scott Miller while working as a director in the A&D field, trying to get better outcomes. As his interests moved from clinical excellence to excellence in general I sort of followed along. (In reading stuff I mean) You might find this interesting.

I grew up poor. Still am


Slavoj Žižek:
“Let us engage in a mental experiment by way of trying to construct proverbial wisdom out of the relationship between terrestrial life, its pleasures, and its Beyond. If one says “Forget about the afterlife, about the Elsewhere, seize the day, enjoy life fully here and now, it’s the only life you’ve got!” it sounds deep. If one says exactly the opposite (“Do not get trapped in the illusory and vain pleasures of earthly life; money, power, and passions are all destined to vanish into thin air–think about eternity!”), it also sounds deep. If one combines the two sides (“Bring eternity into your everyday life, live your life on this earth as if it is already permeated by Eternity!”), we get another profound thought. Needless to say, the same goes for its inversion: “Do not try in vain to bring together eternity and your terrestrial life, accept humbly that you are forever split between Heaven and Earth!” If, finally, one simply gets perplexed by all these reversals and claims: “Life is an enigma, do not try to penetrate its secrets, accept the beauty of its unfathomable mystery!” the result is no less profound than its reversal: “Do not allow yourself to be distracted by false mysteries that just dissimulate the fact that, ultimately, life is very simple – it is what it is, it is simply here without reason and rhyme!” Needless to add that, by uniting mystery and simplicity, one again obtains a wisdom: “The ultimate, unfathomable mystery of life resides in its very simplicity, in the simple fact that there is life.”

[That's great, and thank you.

In the fellowship I'm a part of, however, we might say that each of those things has the potential to help somebody if it's what they need to hear at the time. The idea we have is that if you listen to everybody you're likely to find solace, wisdom, sympathy or consolation somewhere sooner or later. Even at the root level--the way memory works, some think--we mine for gold: we are wired to save or attend to what has value to us and shunt all the rest aside. --Mike]

The chance of dying in a plane crash or winning the lottery are about equal. Both would solve all my problems. Not a single self help book will make any difference.

Mastery by George Leonard is a classic.

Dear Mike
Are you sure you don't possess grit? I think you did a very good job as a single parent. Not an easy task.

On 7 habits, Steven Covey in SLC Airport was an ass to the parking lot payment attendant as he tried to weasel his way out of paying what he owed - I would never buy anything of his. As he bitched and cursed at her the guy with him asked "which of the 7 habits are you exhibiting now, Steve"?
He was really obnoxious, rude and showed what a cheapskate he really is.

A slight aside. Google search is getting very sophisticated.

I typed in "Is Angela Duckworth related to Tammy Duckworth" (the United States Senator and veteran), and got back a gif of Angela Duckworth in person answering the question at the top of the results. Take a look at how it is done.


It's really neat—but I'm not entirely sure I like it...

". . . the essential elements of succeeding . . ."

Definition please of "success".

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007