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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Learning vs. Practicing

PracticeI enjoy learning new things. It’s just part of my character. I’m not a big fan of practicing. So to drill the same thing over and over again, does not hold my interest.

The unfortunate fact of life is that you can never be great without practice, and lots of it. With talent alone you can be good, but to truly excel at anything you’ve got to practice.

Repetition grinds action into long term memory. These long term memories serve as domain knowledge in order to give you perspective on other learning experiences. Without practice the knowledge will not be stored in long term memory.

Martial arts provides a good example. If I practice a jab for an extended period of time, I will have a great deal of domain knowledge about jabs, more so then someone that practices a variety of techniques. I will also be able to evaluate other techniques against that knowledge. There is a balance to this and identifying your goal is important. If your goal is to be the the guru of jabbing, you’ve got to practice techniques within that domain.

It’s the same with martial art styles in general, if you want to be an expert in a given system you have to practice that system, the more you practice within that domain, the more expert you become. When you practice in different systems you gain perspective at a different level, your expertise becomes more general. The brain handles narrow domain knowledge better then broad, the factors become too many to effectively evaluate a particular technique. Your knowledge becomes more general.

Thus, you can never be at the top of a domain unless you relentlessly practice. If the domain is to broad, you’ll never be able to process all the experience to reach a level that you would have if you stuck with something more specific.


Written by Dan

April 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

Posted in Life, Martial Arts

Tagged with

An introduction to my obsession with GTD

On my old blog I posted several times about my obsession with the Getting Things Done (GTD) process.

For those of you unfamiliar with the principal, it’s a process for managing your time and what they often call “the fire hose of life”. It’s a system that everyone implements a little differently, what I call “working the GTD system”. This is where the blog comes in, occasionally I’ll post something about how I “work” my system here.

Now, I realize that you shouldn’t post about what you’re going to post, you should just post it. I didn’t want those that are use to getting martial art posts to be confused about the topic change.

In discussions with Sterling we feel this blog is really about “stuff we want to blog about” more then any specific topic. That was the spirit of the podcast, and I think it makes sense that it’s the spirit of the blog as well.

In brief my current system includes:

  • gmail for collection (using SMS to send myself notes when I’m not on a computer)
  • for next actions, project lists, and ticklers.
  • google calendar for appointments
  • evernote for reference and list keeping

I’ve tuned my system to a well oiled machine. It’s all free/cheap and all web based, so nothing is tied to a specific computer.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about using a paper based system, and I’m tempted to try it, but for now I’m sticking with the technology.

Written by Dan

April 6, 2009 at 8:15 am

Posted in Life, Productivity

Tagged with ,