[Previous] Starting Fights | Home | [Next] Don't Trust Trump, He's Not a Conservative

Excellence Takes Effort

Someone posted this to FI list today:
pretty sure being great at playing games comes naturally for elliot
You're totally wrong about me.

Studying hundreds of chess diagrams is not natural talent.

http://www.amazon.com/Combination-Challenge-Lou-Hays/dp/188067386X

See the cover picture? The entire book is filled with diagrams like those, each one a puzzle to solve. And that's it. No badges, no congratulations, no praise, no funny stories, no fluff, just diagram after diagram after diagram. You do one. Then you do another. And, eventually, you turn the page. And after you study hundreds of them, you get faster at it and you find more similar stuff in your own games. Chess skills like looking ahead and visualizing positions are a skill you develop.

Reading books and taking tons of lessons is not natural talent.

Going over your games with others to find mistakes and get tips is not automatic. It doesn't just happen. It's not natural.

These are the kinds of things I did large amounts of, intentionally, to improve at chess. For years and years.

(The people who fail at FI and give up and leave usually never put in 1% the work I put into chess. Literally. And FI is harder than chess.)

I've been bad at a wide variety of other games, too. All of them...

I did not start out good at RPGs. I worked at it. I read tons of guides, forum discussion, etc. I watched video of how others play. I thought about how to do better. I practiced. I took action to improve over the course of well over 10 years.

I was not a natural at Hearthstone. First I played Magic the Gathering. I started out terrible. I read tons about it, looked into how pros played, practiced, etc. I got OK, not that good. That laid some groundwork for Hearthstone which is a similar kind of game. Regardless, I started out bad at Hearthstone. When I was trying to be good at Hearthstone, I put lots of time and effort into it. And not just messing around and playing naturally. I studied stuff. I did math. I recruited good players to collaborate with. I wrote articles with my ideas. I tested strategies in a methodical way. I tried to figure out what skills and knowledge I needed to win and focussed on getting that. Rather than playing whatever I found most natural to my personal style (typically mages across many games, and typically somewhat defensive longterm play), I played whatever I thought was good and would help me do well (like a lot of aggressive Warlock). I make an effort not to have a personal style when it matters. Play to win. Learn to be flexible and learn how to play every style. This isn't automatic but it's doable.

I was not a natural at Duet or Infinity Blade. I practiced the dexterity. I am no natural at Super Smash Brothers Melee. That takes a learning process: http://curi.us/1715-ssbm-training-1-marths-sh-double-fair

Do you think I'm a natural at Exile? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0m3De1fQzc That speed run involved rather non-natural steps such as downloading and reading source code in C, and finding info from dead forums with archive.org.

It's always like that – being good takes intentional effort applied strategically. And after you get good at dozens of things, yes you can learn faster. There's some carryover. You can re-use some skills from some previous games on a new game. And you can re-use the methods of learning themselves on new games.

And it's not just new games that require learning. McIntyre, a top Heroes of the Storm players, struggled with Greymane, a new hero. He was already good at the game but had to put in a bunch of thought and practice to figure out how to play Greymane well. And it wasn't love at first sight. His initial impression of Greymane was negative.

There's a common misconception among bad players that games are easy for good players, that good players have (natural) "talent", etc. And there is a common belief by many good players that it didn't come automatically to them at all, they sucked at first and put in tons of work. The good players frequently actually remember sucking and struggling to get better. They're right.

It is possible to practice wrong. Some people put a lot of time into something and still suck. You can spend time on a game without learning much. But no one gets really good without working at it. Effort is necessary but not sufficient. It takes rationally-directed effort to get good. LOTS of it. Tons of bad players just massively underestimate how much effort being good is, and kinda give up early and don't really play to win and learn even if they do keep playing. And tons of people think if they play a lot they will get good automatically, whereas good players often did some more organized forms of practice and did more thinking about the game instead of just playing. And people who get good more often make spreadsheets, do math, do in-game experiments to test things, etc, etc. Top players usually put effort into learning the game, rather than just playing a bunch and hoping they'll naturally get better somehow.

Elliot Temple on March 7, 2016

Comments (34)

you misunderstood what "someone" wanted to say.
"someone" didn't mean natural talent.
she didn't mean ppl don't have to work hard and learn to be great.
she meant something else.
you are not listening.

"someone's" point is you are naturally compelled to be like that.

you did all that chess and gaming studying because you liked it. it felt right for you to do it. it felt good. it was better than partying and getting drunk. if it didn't feel good for you, if it felt like work feels for common ppl, you would be avoiding it. what you call "rationally-directed effort" is not the same as "effort" and "hard work" as understood for most ppl.

why don't you quote the poster by name, what's with the "someone"?

Anonymous at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2016 | #5013

Hard Work

I knew just working hard at something won't make you better at it. Because I have tried and failed a lot. "rationally-directed" part is very important.. Otherwise it is just a waste of time and effort.

Someone K Person at 10:54 PM on March 7, 2016 | #5026
What do you understand by rationally-directed, Someone K?

Anonymous at 12:46 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5029
I tried to post this on FI but it was censored for "low content".

Elliot tells people to discuss but then he makes posts that are like speeches. It seems he likes to have the last say instead of
discussing. He acting more and more like a teacher. This harms him, but he doesn't seem to care.

My questions remain unanswered.

What made Elliot so efficient at learning? He says he put effort in it. He says he chose to be this way. This explains nothing. This is nothing I could not have read in any other place. Did effort feel good or painful? Why did Elliot persist and not seek instant gratification instead which feels better?

Elliot's parents were not TCS. He said it himself in the old TCS list. Also, his parents got him into chess:
http://lmi.berkeleychessschool.org/pages/show/147

In the old TCS list Elliot mentioned being in school against his will. If his parents were coercive, wasn't Elliot a typical coercion-made prodigy?

If TCS is so good, why isn't Lulie better than Elliot? Lulie is the only known TCS raised kid who posts on FI. She's not Elliot level. If there are other TCS kids posting on FI, none of them is Elliot level.

My guess is that TCS (or a misunderstanding of it) leads parents to be concerned on how their kids naturally feel and raise kids who in result do not like effort.

Lulie's description of real learning mentioned the word "naturally".
From: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/13654:
>
> Studying perspective drawing has taken me, completely naturally, to learning about why we sleep.

Elliot did not criticize her on her use of the world "naturally" and seems to agree. At
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/13662
Elliot says:
>
> similar to:
> playing duet –> figuring out video capture options from iOS and using iPhone slow motion camera
> FI posting -> screencasting, light video editing

Etc. He posts examples on how he is taken, *completely naturally*, from one thing, to another. Why does he join in with Lulie instead of telling her what he told me? He was not taken completely naturally. He chose to go from one thing to another. This is what he says in the post I quoted in its entirely below:
>
> people who are good at stuff do not lead charmed lives. they are not blessed by God. they take actions to get different outcomes. that doesn't happen naturally or automatically. it's a choice.

Yet to Lulie he said *similar*. Similar to how he learns. He agreed it's *completely natural*. He doesn't mention effort.

In her post, Lulie romances getting easily distracted and doing what everyone else does "naturally". Elliot joins in the romancing. Lou, who was criticized by Elliot for being a bad learner, later thanks Lulie for helping her not making her feel guilty over the way she herself also learns.

Here's Lou post:

> <snip very interesting examples of how Real Learning happens. It is good to know that I did not need to feel guilty for having mostly learned this way.>

So what is the truth? What do you really think about the subject?

Another interesting thing is that I am not convinced that FI ppl, even Elliot, really live the idea of crit being a gift. If so, why didn't Elliot criticized Lulie on her use of the word "naturally"? I got the harsher criticism and it's not because he loves me more. :P

Leo at 5:13 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5041
I still have hard time understanding how some people seem to get some things very quickly and better than others..

Severus Fucking Snape at 5:57 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5043
Should we feel bad that we are not TCS kids like Lullie ?

Warren Buffett at 6:05 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5044
Leo,

> I tried to post this on FI but it was censored for "low content".

This is false. That post hasn't been rejected. It would not be rejected for "low content", which would be ridiculous; there's plenty of content.

Justin wanted to ask me about the personal info before approving or rejecting it. He said he was learning heavily towards approving because it DOES have content.

I told him to approve it.

If you have a moderation problem, contact Justin. You can CC me and Alan if you want to. Justin is the guy doing most of it.

---

Note:

- Lulie is not a public figure. Stop trying to make a TCS Poster Child out of her. That's an immoral way to treat her. Leave her alone.

- Do you think Sue Cvach counts as TCS parent? Do you think ANY current posters are actually TCSing their kids, instead of fucking it up? Do you think ANY past posters are actually TCSing their kids, besides Sarah?

- I do not share all my criticism with ANYONE because of THEIR flaws.

- Posting the Duet example, etc, was a productive useful post. I had something worth saying and said it. That does not mean I agree with every word I was replying to.

- If you look over my twitter (@curi42) you can see various recent criticism directed at Lulie (and every time she drops the conversation. so do i tell her every criticism? no. what's in it for me?)

curi at 8:54 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5045
> Should we feel bad that we are not TCS kids like Lullie ?

You should stop talking about a person you don't know anything about who isn't a public figure.

The question you should be asking is more like:

> Should we feel bad that our parents hurt us a huge amount?

answer: feeling bad about it won't solve any problems.

Anonymous at 8:55 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5046
the question in the first comment is in a queue. i'm aware of it. it's not the only thing I'm planning to get to at some point.

Anonymous at 9:10 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5047
So there are no proven examples that TCS works better than normal parenting ? It would have been better if there were atleast 10 TCS proven children who have excelled in life 1000 times better than us who were tortured as kids.

Warren Buffett at 9:11 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5048
TCS makes its case with rational argument, not poster children.

Anonymous at 9:12 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5049

Eugenics combined with TCS

What about eugenics combined with TCS ?

Anonymous at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5050
ewwwww, fuck eugenics

Anonymous at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5051
Testtube babies are the future .. you can't stop it.. Just like you can't stop Artificial Intelligence taking over the world

Anonymous at 9:15 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5052
>> Should we feel bad that we are not TCS kids like Lullie ?

> You should stop talking about a person you don't know anything about who isn't a public figure.

Gp. But FI also makes judgements about people and talks about them without knowing anything about them. Mb FI should stop doing that?

anonymous at 9:27 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5053
> FI also makes judgements about people and talks about them without knowing anything about them. Mb FI should stop doing that?

as usual: example? quote?

Anonymous at 9:43 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5054
> Testtube babies are the future .. you can't stop it.. Just like you can't stop Artificial Intelligence taking over the world

Eugenics does not mean testtube babies. Look it up.

Anonymous at 9:43 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5055
Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population. Yes !! They will make babies outside the womb by editing the DNA

Anonymous at 9:46 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5056
Eugenics is a racist anti-human cult favored by e.g. the Nazis.

Nothing to do with testtube science.

Anonymous at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5057

Modified Genes

AHHH !! Why don't you understand ? Modified genes to improve intelligence, strength, age etc plus good parenting will yield better results..

Anonymous at 10:04 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5058

Fuckers with baldness

Fuckers with hereditary diseases and baldness etc should not be allowed to have kids..

Anonymous at 10:05 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5059
> Fuckers with hereditary diseases and baldness etc should not be allowed to have kids..

Are you serious?

Anonymous at 10:33 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5060
> AHHH !! Why don't you understand ?

Why are you surprised that you and somebody haven't created mutual understanding?

Anonymous at 11:10 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5065
Elliot,

I got a rejection email with the scrambled post title in it saying low content and didn't see my post on the group so I thought it was my reply.

The information I have about Lulie is public. It was Sarah who made Lulie a public figure and a TCS poster child.

> Do you think ANY past posters are actually TCSing their kids, besides Sarah?

No, I don't. I find it strange that you seem to be saying that you think Sarah did TCS well?

I apologise to Lulie anyway, I was just jealous. Lulie is doing really well. I'm just a mediocre who sadly only has fun being mean.

Leo at 11:18 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5066
I think Yahoo's software sucks. My suggestion is to stop sending trash posts and getting them moderated. Stop making the moderator control your post quality. Control it yourself. Don't be an irresponsible person going "well i'll just post whatever crap and if Justin approves it then it's not my fault it must be ok"

> I find it strange that you seem to be saying that you think Sarah did TCS well?

I'm not, you are. I was pointing out that this doesn't make much sense.

> The information I have about Lulie is public. It was Sarah who made Lulie a public figure and a TCS poster child.

Please don't punish Lulie for Sarah's mistakes. Just leave Lulie alone and post stuff about philosophy ideas instead of people. (BTW the new FI essays don't talk about Lulie personally.)

curi at 11:25 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5067
Nothing indicates that Lulie is unhappy to be the TCS poster child. She at least she enjoys being a poster child for Home Education in the UK.

Lulie seemed happy to be a TCS poster child in the past. She was in the TCS chat, she posted on the TCS list, she even made a drawing of herself as a TCS poster child. Everybody knew who she was. There is a video made by Libertarians with her and her sister where her parents speak of TCS.

I don't refuse to read the essays because they talk about Lulie but because they are dedicated to Lulie.

Leo at 11:40 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5068
Did you even ask her?

Anonymous at 11:42 AM on March 8, 2016 | #5069
> Did you even ask her?

Are you asking me, if I asked Lulie if she wants to be the TCS poster child?

Hey, Lulie, do you want to be the TCS poster child?

Isn't Elliot aggravating the situation by dedicating her essays?

Leo at 12:29 PM on March 8, 2016 | #5070
By the way. Lots of TCS people didn't treat me and my son morally.

Lulie also made fun of my comic. She should have known not to do that.

Your friends said I just don't like art. You have no idea how much that was hurtful and destructive.

You take from a person the last spark of anything good in them, what is left of the person?

Pain.

Leo at 1:55 PM on March 8, 2016 | #5071
Do you mean lots of "TCS" people who posted to the list little or never, and quit years ago?

regarding liking art, if you aren't open to critical brainstorming then you shouldn't be bringing that up at FI.

Anonymous at 2:03 PM on March 8, 2016 | #5072
> Do you mean lots of "TCS" people who posted to the list little or never, and quit years ago?

Also the founders.

Leo at 2:27 PM on March 8, 2016 | #5073
> "By the way. Lots of TCS people didn't treat me and my son morally.

Lulie also made fun of my comic. She should have known not to do that.

Your friends said I just don't like art. You have no idea how much that was hurtful and destructive.

You take from a person the last spark of anything good in them, what is left of the person?

Pain."


They made fun of Hitlers paintings too. They said he wasn't good enough. Don't become Hitler.

Anonymous at 7:02 PM on March 8, 2016 | #5074

Anonymous at 2:07 PM on March 11, 2016 | #5076
> Lulie also made fun of my comic. She should have known not to do that.

I don't know the context of this so don't know exactly what was done. There are many ways of "making fun". Do you think they're *all* bad? If not, be more specific about what forms are bad.

> Your friends said I just don't like art. You have no idea how much that was hurtful and destructive.

That's a mistake. You're hurting yourself with your idea about what those words mean, they're not hurting you.

Seek to understand why they disagree.
You might find they have good reason, that there is something wrong with your motives for pursuing art. Take that idea critically.

And if they are unhelpful in their responses and don't explain themselves well, or if they're mean, well who cares? If someone isn't going to explain themselves, it doesn't matter how they judge you. The judgement in itself is irrelevant.

Anonymous at 3:35 AM on May 7, 2016 | #5181

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)