Sunday, March 31, 2013

Learn From Mistakes, Clever Through Mistakes

You will become clever through your mistakes.
—German proverb
The Talent Code Book's cover

This is about first chapter of The Talent Code book, a very inspiring book which is being used by a course in Coursera. The Sweet Spot as the first chapter of The Talent Code book explain that every people has the same chance to get success in their area of expertise. The main key to get success is by practicing deeper not harder. What is practicing deeper? the Sweet spot gives the answer. To open the story, Daniel visit some places in the word: Moscow, Sao Paolo, Dallas, New York, Caribbean and others. Then, he gives two examples of cases; Edwin’s link unusual device and Brazil's secret weapon.


Coyle proposed two different examples of practice to show that practice effectively is not always connected to willpower, concentration or focus. He explains how they are different depend on each case. Brunio, a eleven-years-old boy, practices slower when he fails practice elastico, a technique to flick the ball. He fails again, stop, thinks and does more slowly and so focused. Finally, he got the key and touch perfectly.

Another example is Jennie, twenty-four year girl who practices singing in Dallas. She make mistakes when practicing waterfall of note. She sings, stop, thinks and do it again more slowly. Six time practicing, she got perfect measure.

What does we can infer from those examples? Those are the sweet spot. Try, fail. Try again, fail again, fail better next time. We learn from mistakes and we clever through mistakes.

Next, Coyle talk about nurture and nature. Greatness was created by combining nurture and nature. In case of Brazilian football, Coyle argued that Brazil is great because it possesses a unique confluence of factors: a friendly climate, a deep passion for soccer, and a genetically diverse population (page 28). I am partially agree with his evidence. I think greatness is more about nurture than nature. It’s grown not born as shown in the cover page. Nature is just supporting factor of nurture.

The key point of this first chapter is the deep practice, not hard practice. From the journey, Coyle infers that perfectness can be reached by deep practice. He gives us a test to memorize ten pair of words in two different formats (page 16). The first format is contain two words which all letters are shown. The second format, a letter is hidden in one of two paired words. By hiding one letter in a word, it will forces our brain to work deeply and it impacts a better memorization result. From the research result, the more we generate impulses, encountering and overcoming difficulties, the more scaffolding we build. The more scaffolding we build, the faster we learn. When we’re practicing deeply, the world’s usual rules are suspended. We use time more efficiently. Our small efforts produce big, lasting results. The statement was said by Bjork, the chair of psychology at UCLA.

The scientific reason behind deep practice was also explained by Bjork. He stated that the how-to our brain works is different with usual tape recorder. The living structure is a scaffold nearly infinite size. The more difficulties problem, the more we generate impulse, and the more scaffolding built resulted a faster learning process (page19). This is a great explanation of deep practice, effortless practice can produce big result.

Edwin link's unusual device tells about deep practice in pilot training. The ancient tradition stated, a good pilot is born, not made (page 21). Unlikely, a son of piano and organ maker from New York, Edin Link Jr, proved that he can break the current pilot training system with half time and a fraction of the cost by deep practice that he got in pilot training. The system was taken by execute of loops and rolls, if the student didn't get sick, he will able to be a pilot, otherwise, can't be. Edwin changing the system by making a device which shows a sign when pilot made an error. He taught a pilot by deep practice, effortless and timeless method compared to the previous pilot system training.

The greatness soccer in Brazil is not born by nature. The missing link was futsal, an in-room soccer which is played by Brazilian. The deep practice in soccer is players touch the ball far more often than soccer players . Then, when they play in real football field, it easier improve their skill as they touch the ball six time more per minute when they practice futsal than in actual soccer field.

Finally, deep practice consist of two reasons of strange concept. First, it cuts against our intuition about talent. It’s more about nurture than nature. Second is that it takes events that we normally strive to avoid mistake and turns mistake into skills. However, I partially agree with this statement. I think, talent is created from nature with supported nurture. Every people is unique, they have different talents each other. Deep practice is needed to achieve greatness in area expertise.

Anyway, you can get the copy of the first chapter of the talent code book for free in here. Let's move!
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