#1 By: Cory Doctorow, July 10th, 2013 22:08
Dance In a Year documents Karen's year-long dance training (see the accompanying and inspiring timelapse video). Basically, she danced all the time, wherever she was, until she got really, really good at it. She also applied the same technique to learning design, and landed a good job as a designer as well. She has lots… READ THE REST
#2 By: Sam Saffron, July 10th, 2013 22:57
Was wishing for more of a time lapse there, I think there were 5 checkpoints in the video. It went from can't do anything to truly awesome way too fast.
Very inspirational though.
#3 By: Jake Sullivan, July 10th, 2013 23:17
Her approach reminded me of this article about the unique approach of experts, especially her noting the importance of self evaluation.
#4 By: Egypt Urnash, July 10th, 2013 23:44
This is really making me want to start dancing again. I spent most of a year recently taking a burlesque dance class, and it did amazing things to both my body and my self-confidence. I miss who I was when I shook my body a lot on a regular basis. But the teacher decided she was done with it for a while, and I haven't found another form that really pulls me like that did. Or the personal obsession to spend time on it on a regular basis - my graphic novel expands to fill all available time.
At least the self-confidence boost stuck around.
#5 By: Brian Sizemore, July 11th, 2013 00:38
Ironically my years of dedication have allowed me to become an expert in internet shit posting.
And just to make it on topic, for a years time frame she got damn good. Obsessive is certainly the word I'd use. If she could figure out how to make an average person a quarter that obsessive about anything it'd be impressive.
#6 By: rocketpj, July 11th, 2013 01:13
Indeed, I've been posting on the internet for a decade or so, I am now Olympic level.
#7 By: Ken, July 11th, 2013 02:12
amazing shot with the BART!
#8 By: glittertrash, July 11th, 2013 03:27
Totally support the obsession-model of getting good at things. The downside is, it's really hard to make yourself be obsessed with something (I have tried and failed to force it). The upside is, if you can find something that triggers your obsession and is also a productive, useful or lucrative sort of a thing to do, then you know that even once the early-obsessive phase passes, you'll have (seemingly effortlessly, because it's harder NOT to do the thing you are obsessed with than it is to do it) accrued a huge amount of skill at something that you enjoy. I mean, I haven't stayed up all night coding the way I did in highschool for at least 12 years, but that period of obsession set up my career. My couple of years of gardening obsession has served me well in life, and every winter I appreciate that time I got so into knitting that I would skip sleep to knit socks.
#9 By: snig, July 11th, 2013 06:30
Another example of this is Jeph Jacques' webcomic "Questionable Content" which went from very crude art in 2003 to quite good cartoon art over the years.
#10 By: Jonathan Roberts, July 11th, 2013 06:40
I'm going to try working on this obsession model next year with my Chinese language learning. I've found it helpful in other areas (including other languages) but I've recently just had too many other priorities to do it well with Chinese. I was recently discussing conscious self-correction with another student recently, it really seems to be key to success in language learning, especially in pronunciation. Unfortunately it's also more difficult to do, as it's uncomfortable to hear your own bad grammar and pronunciation and it's much easier to be understood on a basic level than to get serious about speaking like a native.
One of the reasons this will work so well is that many people aiming to pass a 3-4 year university course or something similar probably won't be putting in anything like the amount of serious, reflective learning that an 'obsessive' learner puts in over a single year. On a smaller scale, even spending a week seriously learning something like juggling will put you ahead of most people who have been doing it on and off for years. You're forcing yourself to build on past development and constantly improve rather than plateau at a much lower level.
#11 By: Peter Kemmer, July 11th, 2013 10:10
I'm currently working on an obsessive project, and there's really no better way to learn about something. It might not be the best for your health or social life, though...
#12 By: retepslluerb, July 11th, 2013 11:04
Of course, a dancer as good as she could fake the process. :-) Just start with the good dance scene and then dance progressively worse.
#13 By: awjt, July 11th, 2013 14:17
I'm over 40 and stay up all night coding still. I am totally obsessed. There are some days I'm not. But typically, I am a dog on a hunt. I WANT THE THING. (the thing to work when I'm done with it). Don't you? Don't you have a THING that you NEED to have working or your soul will just not be satisfied?
#14 By: glittertrash, July 11th, 2013 19:25
Sure! I still love the thrill of the chase, and a beautiful code solution to a complex problem can bring a tear of joy to my eye. I spend plenty of time muttering like a madwoman as I puzzle through a problem, and literally leaping for joy when I get it to work. But no, I am nowhere near as obsessed with it now as I was when I first encountered it, and I'm glad for that. It's nice to solve these puzzles for a living, and then leave it at the end of the day and go do something else fun, like knit socks or grow plants or brew beer.
#15 By: awjt, July 12th, 2013 13:16
Well, you sound like a female version of me. Except for the knitting. Just can't quite sit still long enough for it. I have selective ADHD, because for coding I can literally sit for 8 hours straight and only get up if my bladder is screaming, then get right back to it. Yes, I am muttering at the computer the whole time.
#16 By: petzl, July 14th, 2013 21:49
I agree. It would've been great to have seen more video, esp between Day 30 and Day 86.
#17 By: Cory Doctorow, July 15th, 2013 22:08
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