Chapter 3 (Soviet Union, 1945-1954) done! Now for Chapter 4 (UK, Canada, France, 1945-1953). Chapter 5 (Atoms for Peace, 1953-1955) is already done, so after Chapter 4, I’ll at last move through the end of the 50s and into the 60s. How exciting.
Birding is lamentably low on my priority list right now but I’m amazed I didn’t hear about “Flying for your life,” a fascinating 4-part podcast from Offtrack, a Radio National show. Time to catch up . . .
Obsessives like me can’t help but ponder whether we can become “master” of an activity we’re attracted to. Anders Ericsson’s notion of deliberate practice – dramatically focussed, specific, sustained training can make you a master – preoccupied my thoughts after his wonderful book came out last year. But surely, I whined internally, some things are not to be? I can never, for example, I reckoned, be an amazing birder because my eyesight is poor.
Well, in his blog article, “The myth and magic of deliberate practice,” James Clear endorses this caveat in spades. A third to a quarter of elite success is believed, by the experts, to be due to one’s genes.
Now, who amongst us ordinary folks aspires to elite success? Not I. But some of us do hunger for some kind of “mastery,” perhaps as a journey, and for us, the jury is out between the extremes of “anyone can” and “some of us are naturals.” Anders Ericsson is surely partly right but so is James Clear – what does this mean for us?
Nervous yesterday when lacing up my running shoes. In the first three weeks of 2016, I jogged 12 times. In the first three weeks of 2017, I’d only run four times, and two of them had been failures. Perhaps my body just doesn’t like less regular effort. And this sore chest muscle made me anxious.
Well, I stretched slowly, then headed out along the river on a nigh perfect day. My first three splits were quite fast but I made myself slow down. At the halfway mark, the monkey mind tried to tell me to stop, but I stuck with the slow pace and, to my relief, arrived back home without stopping. A slow pace of 6:31/km but I was so pleased to have not succumbed this time.