You know how people are always “keep an open mind”, “listen to other people’s ideas” and good stuff like that?
Kind of. Here’s the deal. The information that comes into your life is already heavily cut and edited. If nothing else, the finite nature of your life makes it so. You will never see every piece of info that exists. So cut that out right there. You can either control what information comes into you, or have it controlled for you by time limits. I recommend you take control. So far so good. What about specifics?
So, I like living in places where you’re free to think and do and read and write and say pretty much whatever you want — places like Japan. That’s my public life — a democracy. However, my private life is a dictatorship. I only let in the ideas that help me, the rest I passively ignore or actively refuse to let in. Yes, I live a life of censorship. And I censor out ideas that do not help.
My favorite idea to censor out is the “it’s too [hard/difficult]” idea. A lot of people go, “well, Khatzumoto, I’m just being a realist; I’m just stating fact; I’m just making an objective remark on the situation”.
More bollocks. No, they’re not. They’re making a very, very subjective comment on what they think the situation is. And even if they were attempting to make some kind of objective assessment (which they’re not, but even IF they were), it just doesn’t help. It doesn’t help to tell someone “x is hard”. In the mind of a beginner, all it means is “X is IMPOSSIBLE”; it is so discouraging and it prevents people from even starting in the first place, those who do start quit at the first sign of trouble, which automatically reduces the population of successful finishers, which in turn feeds the idea that something is hard, and soon you have a vicious cycle in place.
The real problem never was and never is the supposed difficulty of the task; the problem is people saying its difficult. When people say something is difficult, they don’t really mean it’s difficult, they mean “it’s too hard and only people with ‘talent’ can do it; only people with ‘the knack’ can do it; only ‘children’ can do it”. Just like when you ask someone if they can do something for you and they say “maybe”, they don’t mean “maybe”, they mean “no, but I don’t want to offend you by being direct”.
No one is saying you’re going to be amazing at it on your first day, or even your first month or even your first year. But you know what? The surest way to fail is to quit doing it. If you can’t skate, or program, or speak a language, it’s not because a supernatural white ball of gas in outer space doesn’t want you to. It’s not because of your parents — leave them out of it. And it’s not because of the task itself — don’t be a wusspot. It’s because you haven’t done it enough.
A lot of times we say someone is “good” at something. I think this is inaccurate. It would be more correct to say she is “accustomed” to it. We don’t get good at something so much as we get used to it. So, I’m not “good” at Japanese, I’m just accustomed to it. I’ve seen those kanji before, I’ve heard those words arranged in that sequence before, I’ve seen that sentence pattern a zillion times. When you’re “bad” at something, it’s not so much that you’re bad at it as it is that you aren’t used to it. And the way to get used to it — to get good at it — is simply to do more of it.
No one that I know of was born with any skills other than screaming, eating, and going to the toilet — oh, and blinking, we wouldn’t want to forget blinking. They didn’t know how to speak, they didn’t know the rules of cricket, they didn’t even know what numbers were. They learned them. Humans learn things. That’s what they do. Humans come into this world with no skills — application software — installed, their hardware barely works. All they have is this learning operating system. Guess what? It’s more than enough. As long as you have that OS, you can do it.
So don’t come around here telling me something is hard. Tell me how to get good at it. Give me a step-by-step process for working through it. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. Don’t blame the game, don’t even blame the player, just fix the technique.