An Article on "BURNING OUT"

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Re: An Article on "BURNING OUT"

Postby LSAT Blog » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:16 pm

The post's theme and anecdotes remind me of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers:

Excerpt wrote:Exhibit A in the talent argument is a study done in the early 1990's by the psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and two colleagues at Berlin's elite Academy of Music. With the help of the Academy's professors, they divided the school's violinists into three groups. In the first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. In the second were those judged to be merely "good." In the third were students who were unlikely to ever play professionally and who intended to be music teachers in the public school system. All of the violinists were then asked the same question: over the course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?

Everyone from all three groups started playing at roughly the same age, around five years old. In those first few years, everyone practiced roughly the same amount, about two or three hours a week. But when the students were around the age of eight, real differences started to emerge. The students who would end up the best in their class began to practice more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight hours a week by age twelve, sixteen hours a week by age fourteen, and up and up, until by the age of twenty they were practicing--that is, purposefully and single-mindedly playing their instruments with the intent to get better--well over thirty hours a week. In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers had each totaled ten thousand hours of practice. By contrast, the merely good students had totaled eight thousand hours, and the future music teachers had totaled just over four thousand hours.

[Similar studies on pianists revealed the same sort of data.]

The striking thing about Ericsson's study is that he and his colleagues couldn't find any "naturals," musicians who floated effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did. Nor could they find any "grinds," people who worked harder than everyone else, yet just didn't have what it takes to break the top ranks. Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.

The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.


bilbaosan
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Re: An Article on "BURNING OUT"

Postby bilbaosan » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:31 am

As an old fart, this post made me smile. Thank you.

One think I'd like you to think about though.
We know a lot about people who practiced hard and got to the top.
We know much less about those who practiced as hard but never made even above the average.

kiyoku
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Re: An Article on "BURNING OUT"

Postby kiyoku » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:04 pm

LSAT Blog wrote:Overall, I believe there's a lot of truth in what the OP wrote, and I really enjoyed this post.

However, I do agree with DD's caveats, particularly these:

Daily_Double wrote:I think burning out may be overrated, though the amount of hours you are putting in is astonishing, and potentially counterproductive. I think the idea of burning out depends upon the individual in question...Furthermore, some people study well only when they have breaks to have fun, get hammered, visit family, etc. Thus, for these some people, myself included, breaks are beneficial, if not necessary. And the lack of such breaks can be counterproductive for the aforementioned amount of people.

I think you just have to be careful. If you're a social person who is used to going out often, or if you're used to working out often, or filling your free time in some other fun way, then in my opinion, the claim that one should occupy all of one's time, and thus exclude the above preoccupation, seems counterproductive. It completely depends upon the individual in question. I think a person does their best work, in this case studies well, when these preoccupations are included, but maybe you don't fit this mold.


Thank you. I appreciated your reply post a lot.

I definitely didn't think that what I posted would ever apply to everyone. (In fact, I imagine that everyone has a striking balance for themselves in terms of productive/non-productive hours. I definitely also agree with DD. It's smarter to be efficient about your work and properly diagnose your own emotional/mental energy than to work on like a brick-head).

I wrote the post knowing that it would be open to much criticism, given that I took a slightly extreme stance.

Again, I don't mean to offend anyone who is not taking this path. There are probably many people who succeeded without adopting my thought-process and probably many who failed while adopting my thought process. The post is almost written for myself and others who decided to embark upon a similar path.

I'm approaching 2 months into my lsat studies, and yes it has been much much more stressful than I had ever imagined. However, I feel that I've benefited a lot from such a mindset so far.

I will also admit when I decide to change my strategies or if I ever give up. Again, I imagine it might help someone out there who is thinking of trying to do something similar to what I'm doing.

AbhiJ
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Re: An Article on "BURNING OUT"

Postby AbhiJ » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:22 pm

It really depends on how old are you and how much intrinsic interest you have in the LSAT content.
Chess Grandmasters play chess 10-12 hours a day without getting burnt out. Most scientists/researchers do similar hours without breaking a sweat. The key point is interest and passion. If you are around 20 year old, then you have a greater chance to rapidly change your study habits. Studying 10 hours a day is certainly doable. Having said that you must must take a day or two off in the week.
Ignore everyone who is trying to put you down. If they really scored 175+, studying 3 hours a day, what are they still doing on TLS LSAT Prep forum.

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Re: An Article on "BURNING OUT"

Postby LSAT Blog » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:20 pm

bilbaosan wrote:As an old fart, this post made me smile. Thank you.

One think I'd like you to think about though.
We know a lot about people who practiced hard and got to the top.
We know much less about those who practiced as hard but never made even above the average.


This is something I'm interested in, as well - particularly, the stories of those who did not achieve their goals.

I started a thread to compile them:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=207853




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