(2011-08-19) Rao Learning Flow Grit Self Direction

Venkatesh Rao ponders how he experiences peaks and troughs, vs the traditional Learning Curve model, and when during those cycles he finds a Flow State.

Then he notes how the Generalist/Specialist Model doesn't fit well in times/areas of uncertainty and change. He then offers a model of internal-based navigation of Deliberate Practice through Reworking (Iterative), (self-)Referencing (Intertwingularity), Releasing (D And D, FeedBack). These three variables together can measure your progress along any path to Mastery. What’s more, they can be measured intrinsically, without reference to any external map of disciplinary boundaries. All you have to do is to look for an area in your life where a lot of rework is naturally happening, maintain an adequate density of internal referencing to your own past work in that area, and release often enough that you can forget about timing the market for your ouput.

You still have to recover the value the old disciplinary model provided: behavioral boundedness. Whether you are navigating intrinsically or extrinsically, suddenly running into a mountain — a major weakness — is just as bad. The key here is very simple and very Sun Tzu: with respect to the external world, take the path of least resistance... If you run into an obstacle, it is far more likely that it represents a weakness rather than a meaningful real-world challenge to be overcome, as a learning experience. Don’t try to go over or through. It makes far more sense to Route Around. Hack and work around. Don’t persevere out of a foolhardy superhuman sense of valor. (See The Truth About You.) ....You just have to drop external frames of reference and trust your internal navigation on a landscape of your own strengths. It may look like superhuman grit (Self Control) to an outsider, but if it feels like that inside to you, you’re doing something wrong... The only truly new behavior you need is increased introspection. And yes, this will advantage some people over others. To avoid running faster and faster until you die of exhaustion, you need to develop an increasingly refined understanding of this landscape as you progress. You twist and turn as you walk (not run) primarily to find the path of least resistance on the landscape of your strengths. The only truly new belief you need is that the landscape of disciplinary endeavors and achievement is Meaningless.

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