Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Learn To ______ In A Year

It started at The Talent Code blog by Daniel Coyle a few weeks back, What's Your LQ (Learning Quotient)?. That led me to Diamondbacks’ Goldschmidt Has Little Ego and Few Limits. I like baseball stories. I especially like this passage:

“A lot of kids have so much pride that they want to show the coaches and the front office that they know what they’re doing, and they don’t need the help,” Zinter said. “They don’t absorb the information because they want us to think they know it already. Goldy didn’t have an ego. He didn’t have that illusion of knowledge. He’s O.K. with wanting to learn.”

I identify with that. I believe part of my success is because I ask questions.

Back to the original article. Then I end up here, Can Everyone Be Smart at Everything? I seem to lack the ability to focus for extended periods of time. Well, not quite true. I have the ability to focus, but I like to focus on a million different things. Does that count? I don't know.

I'm often envious of my friends who have been DBAs for 20 years, or worked with OBIEE for 10 years (don't argue with me...I know Oracle hasn't owned it for 10 years, I'm looking at you Christian), or APEX for 10 years (that's safe to say). I've flirted with all of those, but I've never committed...See how I get distracted easily? Wow.

And just as importantly, that mistakes are part of good learning. As a Wired article recently reported about why some are more effective at learning from mistakes, “the important part is what happens next.” People with a “growth mindset” — those who “believe that we can get better at almost anything, provided we invest the necessary time and energy” — were significantly better at learning from their mistakes.

and then...

“The meaning of difficulty changes. Difficulty means trying harder, trying a different strategy. They understand that change is possible, and progress occurs over time.”

OMFG. Focus!

Back to the original article and I'm reading through the comments. Someone links up to this young lady who taught herself how to dance in a year. Watch it.

Which finally brings me back to The Talent Code, To Improve Faster, Think Like a Startup. Staying with me? How about this?

Finally, there's a point. I want to do this. Maybe not dance (as much fun as that may be), but something else. Krav Maga? Algebra? Calculus (I'm pursuing my physics or engineering degree in 2035, I need to study my math). I want to test out her technique. Small, discrete steps practiced daily towards some end goal (pass a calc test, take a real estate licensing test, whatever). The problem for me, if you haven't noticed, is focus. This method may help.

If you were to try something like this, what would you set out to learn?


Unknown said...

I would like to learn what a logarithm actually is and stop faking it.

Stew said...

I think you should spend your free time for the next year learning to dance, then you could entertain us even more at KScope14! :-)

Unknown said...

I've often thought about doing that exact same thing. About 2-3 years back, I started doing that with photography... like you, I stalled out not too long after starting. Finding the motivation to keep going with the learning when there is so much else trying to pull you away is difficult. I wish I knew the answer.

At the end of the day, it has to be passion. If you have a passion for something, you'll learn it and enjoy doing it. If it's a struggle, like learning Calc, then I would assume it would be much more difficult.

Why not try something simple and easy that you can pick up when you want to take a break from work... like the harmonica, or guitar. Something that can be a break from your other works but only requires a few minutes here and there to make gains.

oraclenerd said...


I've been watching way too much sci-fi stuff lately...I want to be able to use "logarithm" in a sentence without it sounding forced, which would mean I would have to know WTF I am talking about. See: math

oraclenerd said...


Heh...I've thought about it, trust me. It would be fun, for me, to be able to bust out in a 30 second (more like 5 second) burst of _good_ dancing. I'm not sure why I have that desire, I'm weird like that.

As it stands today, it would be very, very amusing.

oraclenerd said...


Agreed, passion.

One of the things I really like about this is doing just a little bit everyday, I'm not sure that would be possible (a little bit) with something like Calc, or Physics...

What is on my short list:
1. Learn to be on camera

OK, I thought I had a longer list. Being on camera is a painful experience, more precisely, being able to watch myself on camera is a painful experience. My voice sounds weird and grating. I often look uncomfortable and most times I just don't know what to do with myself (Do I just nod? Do I say, "yes. Uh huh." etc.?)

Should be relatively easy to practice at that. I have a web cam and I have a daughter who likes to see me on video. Win win.

(Oh, and guitar would be fun too...last I played I was 12.)

Christian Berg said...

Come on, I would never have called you out on that "10 years" statement ;-)