Creativity Debunks the 10,000 Rule of Deliberate Practice

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10,000 hours of practice works for excelling your golf game or your accounting skills. It’s less meaningful though when it comes to creativity.

Creativity is an evolution. If you’re doing the same stuff as you did on the last project or even yesterday it might get stale. Creators strive for originality. That’s why Beyonce’s “Lemonade” release it a smash. It’s like nothing she’s done before. She’s inspiring others by showing both vulnerability and strength against the husband/mogul (Tidal tyrant) that is Jay-Z, whether you like her music or not.

Note: I’m not a fan of Beyonce. I’m not a fan of anything popular, really. But I do admire her consistent originality, to go places where others don’t. Of course, you might say she can do that because she’s Beyonce. True, but she could also just wear another weird dress like Lady Gaga and expect it to create conversation. It doesn’t. People get bored of the same concept. Even Instagram is boring, but that’s another read.

Creativity is a life practice, not just a 10,000-hour rule of thumb. The stringent execution of doing something the same way, again and again, is mind-numbing for those that dare to think different.

Read Creativity Is Much More Than 10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice

Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Science

How to be Productive: Turn up the Volume!

As I wrote this week, audio is becoming a popular way to learn new things.

But sound also helps as a working tool, not in the forefront but in the background. Like these:

  • Soccer games on TV make great background noise. It’s commercial free and the announcers raise their voice when a play is worthy of looking.
  • Music makes good background noise. If you’re writing or coding, they say that listening to the same song on repeat helps build flow.
  • The noise in coffee shops has always been a favorite place for people to work. It turns out that the coffee shop makes just the right type of ambient noise conducive to studying and creativity.

Noise is only intrusive when you can’t tune it out. It’s the silence that’s boring and distracting.


Fresh Thinking

“Instead of highlighting posts with high ratings, the third algorithm should highlight posts that have triggered something new.” – Esko Kilpi

New, as in new ideas, not new news or viral cat videos.

We need algorithms that predict something important and show it to the right people so it can be further discussed, like a Twitter version of quora or Reddit.

Divergent thinking isn’t supposed to be right. It intends to spark a conversation about possibilities, to challenge the status quo and poke at groupthink. At the same time, it can also reconfirm traditional thought or old ways of operating, to prove that those things are worth preserving.

Instead of acquiescing, play the game of “so what” or “what if” with the reader/listener. Question and probe new shit, if only to make them think different.

“A viable social system always needs to reward perspectives that deviate from the mainstream in order to fight group-think.”



Learning to Listen

Podcasts instilled a listening habit for audiobooks and encouraged me to listen to articles on Instapaper. Now I can’t stop listening to voice or text altogether, piping talk-knowledge into my head.

Listening is an entirely different way of learning. We skip words when we read. But we hear every word when we listen, and mentally highlight the most memorable nuggets. Most recently, Audible enabled sound clips. You can cut out a snippet of your audiobook and share it.

Sound isn’t supposed to be bigger than video on the web. But it is supposed to be an option, just as radio is always there when you don’t have a TV.

Sound is visual’s cousin. Together, they create context. But sound is at at the essence of communication. Even in an imageless world, sound can paint pictures for the imagination.


Not so fast

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If you’re struggling to remember it may be because you’re trying to type everything down.

Studies, again and again, prove that writing things down by hand than merely transcribing them is a more effective way to learn.

Slower is better. Unable to recall word for word forces you to listen intently and pluck the most relevant information. You can also quickly draw arrows and make mind maps to connect ideas with a pen — that’s a lot of clicks on the computer.

So when it comes to writing, less is more.

Bonus: If you want to take your learning even deeper, summarize your written notes, or draw them out, all by hand of course. If long-form isn’t for you, try typing with one hand.


The Rebirth of Cool

Striped socks. Torn jeans. Skateboard shoes. Long beards. Disheveled hair. $4 coffees.

Grimy was always cool but then it got expensive. Brooklyn became unaffordable. The cool kids moved to LA and Portland to rebirth cool.

But grimy can still be cool and make money at the same time without losing its authenticity.

The X Games doesn’t take anything away from skateboarding. Despite going mainstream, skateboarding has been able to maintain a culture of edginess, raw enthusiasm, and an appreciation for old and new tricks. Fashion also unleashes creativity, often recycling things from the past to recreate something new.

So if you know something that’s cool and cheap now, it’s probably going to find a larger audience in the future. The artist inside you denies this but the business person inside you sees the opportunity.

The good news is that however you rate or commercialize coolness, the cafeteria coffee will always be available.