It took me a half hour to get my computer going this morning, but that's better than some recent mornings. This morning, the first fail was a KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR. After the computer tried valiantly to recover from that, it led to a INSERT DISKETTE message. Of course, I haven't used diskettes for about 15 years.
The second attempt led to a CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error and, eventually, the same insert diskette screen. I waited a long time on the third reboot, and it eventually worked, but I still have to stay away from certain programs if I want to keep the machine chugging..
This has led to less computer usage for me, and I am dreadfully behind in blog reading. In fact, I am so far behind that I don't think I will bother to catch up. I will likely clear the backlog and start over, and even that may have to wait until after this long weekend.
However, I do wish to try to string a few thoughts together for this week's prompt from the Comeback group: Superstition.
In doing so, I would like to posit this as my working definition of superstition: There is something which I would like to be true, and I would like to think that my beliefs and actions influence that certain thing.
Having posited that, I am not going to take my thoughts into the direction that some of you might be expecting right now, and after that rambling prelude, you might be surprised of the ensuing brevity of my thoughts.
This is the superstition (according to my definition) that I wish to debunk: You can do anything that you want to do and be anything that you want to be. Calling it a superstition fits both parts of my homespun definition, for it is something that we might wish were true, and it posits that our actions can make it come true.
But it isn't true. It's wishful thinking: not something that we should be telling our children, for it is important to be honest with them.
Of course, the intention of the thought is honourable enough, for I see it being if you dedicate yourself to something and work very hard to achieve it, you can expect to achieve some success. That is something that is true, and I am onboard with it. In fact, Dr. Anders Ericsson’s research theorized that it takes 10,000 hours (20 hours for 50 weeks a year for ten years = 10,000) of deliberate practice to become an expert in almost anything.
Malcolm Gladwell, wrote a book, Outliers, exploring this 10,000-Hour Rule. In it, he used The Beatles as an example, citing that they played for more than 10,000 hours in Hamburg, Germany from 1960 - 1964. Bill Gates also met the 10,000-Hour Rule by accessing a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13 and spending 10,000 hours programming on it. (Wikipedia) You could also apply the rule to icons like Steve Jobs and Wayne Gretzky.
Of course, I don't believe that 10,000 hours of practice will lead to everybody becoming an expert in the class of the above mentions, but, nevertheless, this is surely what we must emphasize to children. The old adage, Practice Makes Perfect, may not be exactly true, but it is what we should be striving for.
When we tell a child that she can do anything or be anything that she wants, we are misrepresenting the truth. It makes it sound like someone can close her eyes for a minute, decide that, by golly, she wants to be an astronaut, and that it will then magically happen. It won't. That's superstition. Dedication is real. Even then, someone may not become exactly what she wishes she could become. If I had practiced for 10,000 hours to become a top-flight, professional hockey player or an opera singer, I still wouldn't have made it because talent does count. But I would have become a lot better than I would have by just wishing to be one of those things.
The truth is in the work not the wish.