"becoming the person" vs "learning to do the thing"

At my job, performing in real time doesn’t matter. I’m trying to build/do something, but it’s slow and the product matters, not the performance. It’s like being an author: John Grisham could be a shlubby awful incoherent dude in person, but as long as he cranks out the books, he gets paid. At the other end of the spectrum, for performers or athletes, each minute matters. We don’t know what Mick Jagger or Michael Phelps do in their spare time usually, but they don’t have to be creating something. They could sit around twiddling their thumbs for hours; as long as they are amazingly perfect for a few minutes, that’s good enough.

Of course, performers and athletes don’t twiddle their thumbs in their “off time”, they practice. But they’re practicing not so that they can “remember how to do something cool”, they’re practicing so that they are a certain person when they get on stage.

Been thinking about the gom jabbar test. (Lynch version) Isn’t that the same thing? You’ve been training your whole life for this instant, to see if you can withstand the pain enough. There’s not really any strategy you can think about to pass it, you just have to be the person who passes it.

Another way you could put this distinction is, “do you think about it cognitively, or just do it?” Like, I bet Stephen King thinks about how he’s writing a lot, but I doubt LeBron is thinking much during a play. (Maybe there’s some cogitating while setting up the play, but you’ve kinda got to just do it.) So, it’s “does this thing live in System 1 or System 2”, ok. But I think while talking about System 1/2 we get hung up on “how does my brain do the task”, and sometimes thinking about it as “I’m becoming the person who ____” helps.

For example, confidence. Like when you’re dating, say, and you’re real nervous, and that’s just not going to go well. But you can’t really fake your way to “being confident”; you have to become the person who is confident. Likewise, a friend recently suggested, when you’re presenting a big report, it may be important to have been very thorough and tracked down all the edge cases, not so that they can be in your presentation, but so that you are now confident about what you’re saying.

(This line of thinking can go wrong a few ways: 1. “I just failed at X; must mean I’m just not a good enough person.” 2. motivational speeches about transforming yourself or whatever. 3. being just a debate over minutia.)

other things

this overview of how GAN artist Helena Sarin works

I had an idea

places to buy mp3s (besides Bandcamp, which rules but doesn’t have everything, or Amazon, which is Bad)

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