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Indeed I see why that struck a chord and made you think. One important difference to remember is that the 10 000 hour rule demands that the field you are to be an expert in after 10 000 hours does not change. It's based on repeat. A violin can't all of a sudden have an extra string, the math problem can't change midway into cracking it etc. In our world EVERYTHING changes all the time. That's not fair. But our profession is of a more qualitative nature, reflecting on behaviour and culture - stuff that constantly change. I'm pretty sure that the 10 000+ hours (and the muscle memory from numerous tasks and problems) let's you adapt and change together with culture and people's attitudes about stuff. Kind of.

That's interesting, and reassuring in a way. I feel the same, that I've learnt a lot but couldn't pass as "qualified" in many areas. And the people who are "qualified" are often knowledgeable but totally useless.

How to work with people is the most useful thing I've learnt. And I've never been taught that formally. If you can work with a team you can do more with less, provided you are working with the right people.

I also get the impression that it's okay to be an expert now where it wasn't before. There used to be more pressure to be fairly good at everything, but now it's more acceptable to specialise and admit there are things you can't do, because there'll be someone somewhere who can do them properly.

So I guess I mean life skills plus the skills that are peculiar to you are what you need. And some theory to back it up so people take you seriously.

I'm more or less at the 3,000 hours mark. I certainly hope I'm accumulating expertise in something that will be worth something. Like, in the future.
But... See? Is that what matters? Or is it that now, we find ourselves dedicating time to something that we feel passionate about and that is needed. It is needed, now. It does exist, now. I hope we're clever enough to adapt; you know... If and when some other kind of expertise is necessary, not ours, but somehow our expertise provides the right bridge towards the new need.
Think of a bridge, Russell. Seriously. I’ll call it the “expertise bridge”.

people in our field are hpoefully becoming experts in other people. human nautre does not change that fase (google savana principle/evolutionary psychology)

Bernbach himself said the same, about appealing to to the guy who has no time to change (on deeper level)

this is why three card monty worked in victorian age and still works now...

so the question is, Mr Davies...how good are you/have you become at poker( the utltimate human elemt game)??

Hey Russell, this reminds me of a post you did a while ago - about Richard Feynman's (Six Easy Peices is a must-read by him by the way) comment that if all knowledge was wiped out and only one sentence could be passed on as a starting point, it would be 'everything is made of atoms', and how it would be interesting to see if there was a plannery style one out there. I can't remember if you'd made an attempt or not...? Would be interesting to hear (read) if you didn't...

There's a lot of research getting about in "expertise".

Expertise, as a thing that a person has, can be broadly classified into two types: adaptive expertise and routine expertise.

Routine expertise is, as you'd expect, to do with the performance of routines. Routine experts can deal with familiar problems in a highly impressive manner but they don't show expert performance on unfamiliar problems.

Adaptive expertise is different. Adaptive experts can deal with novel situations, even new procedures, with reference to their expertise.

Russel, when you say you have "10,000 hours of useful planning thinking stuff" that sounds, to me, like an adaptive expertise.

Hi Russell,

Northern Planner has sort of touched on a similarish type of thing here: http://joymachine.typepad.com/northern_planner/2007/10/politics-and-pl.html - and I've commented on that too. Cross-posting tastic!

I often have a similar conundrum of how to explain to people what I do. I just sort of know what I'm going to do when I'm in that situation. It's like when I'm driving. I can't explain the route before I set off, but when I'm in-situ I know the logical way to go.

I think what Northen Planner says is really interesting, because I think a lot of this stuff depends on background, stuff we have learned and stuff we have experienced in the past. As Brian once nearly said: "We are all individuals" and the way we work and the way we approach things is unique to each other. However, we obviously all have a crossover in the areas that we look at, and maybe the methods that we employ to get there. Interesting stuff.

The course I tutor on at Central St. Martins I think is a great way to start looking at things and seeing them and analyzing and drawing conclusions not only from how you've been taught in the past, but from an objective point of view as an intelligent human being. Course is here: http://courses.csm.arts.ac.uk/DisplayCourse.asp?CI=64&MA=4

Back to the planning...

I really like the fact that not everything I know can be passed on, otherwise I might quickly become useless.
Not that I know loads but there must be some useful stuff up there...

I take it you're rock solid at making tea then...

Perhaps we should earn 'it' anyway, not expect to have 'it' passed on?



Hmm. And perhaps I shouldn't comment on blogs after a couple of pints. Sorry everybody, that was awful. You may all now punch me on the arm.

I loved the Chicken sexing example too, it lends itself to manipulation such as "I have an innate ability to sex turkeys, but want to transition to chickens because the money is better!". "I am implementing the decisions of those who have an innate ability to sex dodos (which they still think is useful)" are just two hypothetical examples that spring to my mind.

Perhaps in an everchanging work environment some can gain expertise in adapting?

Russell - have you read Howard Gardners "Five minds for the future"? I don't think it's in your book list.

Gardner also touches on the 10 years/10,000 hours thing to, as he puts it, "master a discipline".

In terms of "what do i do next?" his book suggests that there are another 4 minds that need nurturing (that don't work on the 10,000s hours thing, phew!) or (but better, "and") one can start mastering another discipline.

From what I know of you, you seem to be mastering "social media" (or whatever you call all "this") and have racked up many thousand hours thinking and tinkering in this discipline. I think your community would give you "master" status. And I would guess you have hit the 10,000 mark, Sensei.

I also find all this stiumating on my own behalf. I'm not sure what age I mastered "planning" but now as I work in PR I think I am just applying my hard honed planning discipline in a new area.
I don't think, in truth, I am trying to "master PR".

However, what i have been doing for the last ten years (somewhat by accident) is trying to "master training" (ie the creation and delivery of training courses). I don't think I have got my black belt yet (maybe I haven;t hit the 10,000 hours yet as it is a spare time activity) but achieving "mastery" is an interesting goal.

I've never thought about it that way (despite reading Gardners book) so thanks for making me think, Obi Wan.

Circe Berman has just asked me how to tell a good painting from a bad one.

I said that the best answer I had ever heard to that question, although imperfect, came from a painter named Syd Solomon [...]

"How can you tell a good painting from a bad one? [...] All you have to do my dear," he said, "is look at a million paintings, and then you can never be mistaken."

It's true! It's true!

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard, 1987.

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