I like this (I just quoted the last bit, but the whole thing is cool). I get too caught up in thinking of Beginner, Intermediate and Expert - without realizing there's such a massive spectrum.JimZipCode wrote:
So, the point I'm groping for is not that we are too stupid to execute the things it takes to get from level a to level c. We are completely ignorant that level c even exists. I mean, we know about Michael Jordan and Lebron James or Tom Brady or Andy Bolton or Cristiano Ronaldo or Fedor Emelianenko or Lance Armstrong. Or Omar Shariff or Gary Kasparov. But those guys are so far at the other end of the spectrum that they kind of don't count. They are level Z. Genetics and chemistry and top-level coaching etc etc etc for the sports guys; genius for Omar and Kasparov, I guess – who even knows. So those guys are level Z.
But a dedicated amateur can maybe get to level m, or at least level j. Sometimes the reason we stop at level b is not just that we are too lazy or too short-sighted to do what needs to be done. It's that we have no idea that levels j and m and q and v even exist. We have no idea what the secret depths are, what skills contribute to it. We get to level B and we think, "Ok I've learned that thing. Do I want to keep doing it, or find a different challenge to master?" We think we've got it!
Sometimes it takes a coach to know there even *IS* an "advanced level", or what's possible.
Does that make any sense at all?
One of my biggest struggles has been the persistent self-doubt that I can overcome a hurdle...being willing to sit at a plateau and keep tossing ideas and energy at it until progress eventually happens.
This can take the form of drilling in martial arts, watching video tape to look for mistakes, asking advice from better people and so on. But continuing to push and push and push without succumbing to the belief that it's impossible, or not even worth the effort has been an issue in a bunch of things.
Peak by Anders Ericsson and The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin were both good reads on the subject. The Art of Learning for discussing different strategies and Peak for showing that most performance is limited to good teaching and hard work, not some kind of genetic limit.