Thursday, May 19, 2016

To Tell The Truth

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.



18 comments:

Ruth said...

Your concluding statement is poster worthy. Discipline and perseverance are lessons that must be learned. I made it to grade 8 in piano because my mother provided the discipline and made me persevere. Then she and I both gave up. But I learned that hard work is essential for even modest success.

KGMom said...

Based on your introductory litany of computer woes, I thought you were going to ascribe the tribulations to some superstitious belief.
Thanks for your addition to the superstition discussion.

Marie Smith said...

This was interesting and I agree. Reality can be a buzz kill but hard work never goes astray.

Mara said...

I saw something today that fits this post perfectly: You don't have to be perfect in everything!

As for 'you can do and/or be anything you want', I agree with you. I know I can do the triathlon if I train hard enough. After all, I can swim, I can cycle and I can walk. But there are many things I can't do or haven't the talent for. And saying I could do them anyway, is just silly thinking. I do think however that you should strive to do the best you can in whatever field (except criminal of course) you choose.

Jayne said...

Hard work and dedication are highly underrated attributes these days, indeed!

Ginger said...

Loved this. With you all the way on it.

As for your computer woes, I have one word for you: Apple. 😜

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You are absolutely right...we must always strive for practice makes perfect...because in many cases, it does...

Shammickite said...

Hard work is so important to achieve your goals. Yes, you can TRY to be anything you want.... you may not succeed totally, e.g.: becoming an astronaut or an opera singer, but the trying part is the most important, and who knows, you might succeed in something that you never imagined you could be. Does that make sense? Too early i the morning to be lucid.....

Mage said...

Maybe. Sometimes truth is a dream.

So sorry about the computer burps.

My antique computer which is networked in with four other computers, downloaded windows 10 all by itself this week. I had to go to work, so G wiped it clean for me and used my backup to recreate it as Win 7 again. Windows 10 may be a good program, but it doesn't work well on old computers. It doesn't network with Windows 7 either. Someday we will have to buy 4 new computers and brand new programs for all of them. But not yet.

Mary said...

I agree. If the child wants to have a certain career, they need to know that they have to study hard, work hard and be very dedicated.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

All good thoughts and I too at first thought that these would somehow be tied in with the computer malfunctioning, John.

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

So sorry about your computer woes..that very first fail would make me want a new computer!
Practice makes perfect...something I have heard all my life.

I hope your computer hangs on a while longer!

Haddock said...

Yes, practice and more practice do make us better in that field ........

Kay said...

Ouch! I'm so sorry about your computer problems. We have them too and it's driving my husband crazy. We're waiting for our son-in-law to show up and sort through it. Sigh...

This was such an interesting post because it's true that it's a common thing to tell kids that they can be whatever they set their minds to.

It reminds me of the time an African American speaker came to talk to our minority children and told them they couldn't all be NBA basketball players because very few make it no matter how hard you try. He told them it would be easier to shoot to be a doctor or lawyer or whatever and to do that they needed to study hard and strive to do their best work.

Vicki Lane said...

I've always disliked that New Age-ish idea of if you just hold that vision, you'll achieve it. I have a respect for reality.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

You know, I think I bought Outliers, but didn't read it. sigh. I get so many books to review! I thinnk you are wise about not bothering to catch up. I tend to binge read, as I can read several posts in a row. Besides, I forget what people are up to, day to day!

Donna said...

Try loading: CCleaner.com by Periform, I don't use HIPPO.
It cleans the system's brain and I love it. You can download for PC or MAC.
hughugs

Donna said...

PS- Just download the free one.