Sunday, March 15, 2009

mastery of a subject

They (the infamous "they") say that in order to really master something you have to spend x000 hours studying it (I've seen figures for x ranging from 2 to 8): and that when you study that long your understanding of the subject changes.
However, I have a small problem with this (how, for example, do you define what "your subject is? knowledge? science? maths? toda flows?) even though I think that there is a lot of truth to it.
But as to the x000 hours, it is clear that the number of hours is large but arbitrary (and variable across individuals and across disciplines).
And now, I'm thinking I've crossed one of those arbitrary lines: I'm waking up thinking of potential origami folds: two days running --- and while neither of them has been fully formed folding sequences, they both have promise, and are waiting for me to figure out what my subconscious sees and my conscious mind cannot, yet.

Since I went through something rather similar when I was doing my Ph D a few years (okay, decades) back, I know now to pay attention to my subconscious: it may be wrong, but it could well be right too.

Yours, enjoying the creative process,

1 comment:

awareness said...

have you read Outliers? I saw the author interviewed the other day .... Malcolm Gladwell? (a good Canuck boy) He spoke of the number of hours a major component of success.

and you know what? I do believe its true. I can feel it with respect to my writing...both the internal thinking process and the actual writing has definately altered. There is a much stronger synthesis happening because of the number of hours it has consumed. !!