Habits - PFP Assignments
1. Healthy Habits - General
List below at least five habits that you believe contribute to making you a happier, healthier, more productive, or better person because you follow them. A habit is something you do “frequently” (some number of times every week), and something that you miss and that impacts you negatively (at least a little) if you don’t do it regularly. These can be anything from getting a certain number of hours of regular sleep, regular time with certain friends, a good diet (avoiding certain foods), a certain level of exercise, having a quiet study place, following a certain moral principle, whatever you have recognized a something that presently constitutes a healthy personal habit (1 list, 5+ items).
2. Regularly or Occasionally Unhealthy Habits – General
List below at least five habits that in your judgment have been major or minor addictions for you at some point in the last ten years of your life. An addiction is a habit that negatively impacts your life on occasion. Addictions are not things that are healthy if you do them in moderation (like drinking small amounts of red wine, which probably extends your life) but things you sometimes or frequently “do to excess,” like getting seriously drunk and losing your weekends recovering, or spending large amounts of your money or your time on something with little personal value, usually because you can’t stop yourself. Of the major or minor ones you are willing to list, can you identify at least one that hasn’t been a problem in the last two years? How did you get beyond this addiction? Did you swap it for another one? Were you instead able to swap it for a healthier one (like chewing nic gum instead of smoking cigs)? Explain. (1 list, 5+ items, and 1+ paragraphs)
3. Expert Performance – Background Reading
Skim each of the following:
Peak Performance: Why Records Fall, Daniel Goleman, New York Times, 11 Oct 1994 (3 pages)
A Star is Made, Dubner and Levitt, New York Times, 7 May 2006 (3 pages)
Are You an Expert?, Michael Mauboussin, Legg Mason CM, 8 Oct 2005 (11 pages)
No writing required for this item, just read and consider it.
4. Expertise Candidates – Current Thoughts
List one to three general subject areas (like game programming) AND one to three specific skillsets (like C sharp or Maya mastery) in which you have seriously considered developing true expertise. List no more than three subject areas and skillsets. (two lists, 1-3 items per list)
5. Healthy Habits – Expertise
According to K. Anders Ericsson, Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, 2006, deliberate and often solitary practice, more than any other single factor, is the gateway to true expertise. Not inherited or childhood-acquired talent, not IQ, not one’s peer group. Almost all experts begin their journey as ordinary people who learn how to “live” for long periods inside their chosen domain of expertise, spending enough hours in the appropriate skill-building activities that they gain the ability to outperform the vast majority of others with experience in that same field. Experts with socially useful skills can set their own salaries and working conditions, and take their pick of jobs and working environments. If you have become really good at what you do, are not egotistical and hard to work with, know how to market yourself, and have picked a field of expertise that has average-to-high value to society, you can write your own ticket in life.
To become a true expert in animation, game design, network engineering, network security, programming, technology management, video production, or any other technical field available at UAT mainly means putting in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years to become excellent in your specialization. Developing true expertise typically takes a minimum of ten years, or ten to twenty thousand hours of practice, in your discipline. Finding a way to devote this serious amount of time is the main obstacle to excellence, and it is a hurdle that fewer people can climb in our modern affluent, casual, media-saturated, distraction-rich culture. Most people are constantly being pulled by their peers (who may be jealous of and feel threatened by formidable expertise), their environment (which wants to turn you into a passive consumer, and where the average person’s job description may change every three years in some companies and industries) and sometimes even their families to become a “general purpose human,” someone with average—and typically low—skills in a number of areas but nothing truly exceptional in any single area.
Making the personal decision to develop truly superior and socially-useful expertise involves a number of reinforcing disciplines of mind and habit. Below are a few of the challenges you’ll face on your personal road to gaining expertise.
Thinking of each of these challenges, write three or more paragraphs on how you can find and develop true expertise, something that will involve practice for at least ten years, in some area, and specifically, what healthy habitsyou can develop that will allow you to “level up” all the way to mastery in your chosen field. (3+ paragraphs)
Ready to start using this wiki page to record and think about your personal Habits? Go ahead and keep writing at the top of this page once you've finished these assignments. May you have a happy, peaceful and productive future!
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