Thursday, December 4, 2008

Talk about a Reality Check

Merlin Mann is someone who I enjoy a lot. He has a very enigmatic wit and has a nice sarcastic edge to him...which I like. Anyway, he's been on a bit of a rebirth lately, taking a look at the proliferation of tips, tools, techniques and wondering if they are getting the way of people actually doing great things. And, were the changes being made sort of junk food changes rather than real, live, painful change.

A couple of passages seemed really relevant.

We can’t get good at something solely by reading about it. And we’ll never make giant leaps in any endeavor by treating it like a snack food that we munch on whenever we’re getting bored. You get good at something by doing it repeatedly. And by listening to specific criticism from people who are already good at what you do. And by a dedication to getting better, even when it’s inconvenient and may not involve a handy bulleted list.

If this strikes you as fancy talk, may I suggest that you approach the woman in your life who most enjoys sexual intercourse, and, in the nicest way possible, ask her whether she’d prefer to have congress with:

  1. a confident partner who has had a long career of safe and mutually-satisfying romps with a range of people who liked different things; or,
  2. a 50-year-old virgin who likes reading blogs about sex tips.

You know the answer, and so does she. There’s probably more than one reason that poor #2 is still just a well-read dilettante, but a strong candidate for the top spot would be how he’s allowed his ardor for acquiring “tips” to take the place of getting started in the actual, complicated, and sometimes very confusing craft of making ladyparts happy.

He says we need to look for evidence of things we have "done or made" to see if things are helping, or just contributing to the "ass print" on our couch.

Good stuff. The doing it angle is right in line with what I recently read from Malcolm Gladwell. You have to do something, he says, about 10,000 hours to get good at it. No short cuts, no quick fixes. Either you are the Beatles playing in Hamburg seven hours a day, or you are not.

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