9 votes

Every time someone is better at something than you are, it just means they failed at it more times than you did

11 comments

  1. [5]
    Turtle
    Link
    Disagree. You could work on something your whole life and some 8 year old prodigy will still be better than you. Depends on the discipline of course, YMMV.

    Disagree. You could work on something your whole life and some 8 year old prodigy will still be better than you. Depends on the discipline of course, YMMV.

    14 votes
    1. [4]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      I don't think that's a good counterexample. It's like an inverse of "the exception proves the rule". Though the absolute language in the quote ("every time") does open itself to this argument, I...

      I don't think that's a good counterexample. It's like an inverse of "the exception proves the rule".

      Though the absolute language in the quote ("every time") does open itself to this argument, I think the overall sentiment described in the rest of the blog post holds.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        salis
        Link Parent
        I agree, Omnicrola. It should be "Whenever Someone Is Better at Something than You Are, It Likely Just Means They Failed at It More Times than You Did", but I'm not going to change it now, so the...

        I agree, Omnicrola. It should be "Whenever Someone Is Better at Something than You Are, It Likely Just Means They Failed at It More Times than You Did", but I'm not going to change it now, so the context remains intact.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          Turtle
          Link Parent
          I'm still not sure I totally agree with that. In general, if someone is better at something than me I do think that it's likely they've put more effort in (if that's what you mean by "failed...

          I'm still not sure I totally agree with that. In general, if someone is better at something than me I do think that it's likely they've put more effort in (if that's what you mean by "failed more"), but what usually drives people to put lots of effort into something in the first place is having a natural aptitude for it, and thus if someone is better than me, I think it's quite probable they have both failed more and are just naturally better, even if they're not a "prodigy" per se.

          2 votes
          1. nothis
            Link Parent
            I found it surprisingly easy to replace any phrase like “has talent for” with “has patience for”. Your passion overshadowing your frustration with something.

            I found it surprisingly easy to replace any phrase like “has talent for” with “has patience for”. Your passion overshadowing your frustration with something.

            4 votes
  2. [2]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    I disagree with the title, but I very much agree with point #1. It's not repetition of failure that leads to improvement, but the understanding of your failure and your ability to contextualize it...

    I disagree with the title, but I very much agree with point #1. It's not repetition of failure that leads to improvement, but the understanding of your failure and your ability to contextualize it as something that helps you to understand how to improve. Plenty of people go through life repeating the same mistakes over and over again without improving, and it's because they don't ever figure out why they fail.

    8 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Or even worse, never even admit they failed.

      and it's because they don't ever figure out why they fail.

      Or even worse, never even admit they failed.

      5 votes
  3. skybrian
    Link
    I think it's true that many of the people you see who are good at stuff have practiced it a lot. This is how some people become famous, after all. There is competition. And it's true that making...

    I think it's true that many of the people you see who are good at stuff have practiced it a lot. This is how some people become famous, after all. There is competition. And it's true that making more attempts means more opportunities to learn and more chances of success.

    However, there seems to be a naive belief in natural justice here, that equal effort will be rewarded equally through some kind of cosmic balance. I think justice is an artificial construct created by humans and it doesn't happen unless many people go through a lot of trouble to make it work, and often not even then. The natural world is full of random events and the odds are often unevenly cruel.

    5 votes
  4. [2]
    NoblePath
    Link
    This patently untrue. In fact, I’d wager nearly every tildan is naturally a lot better at mathematics than most people. There was some early, limited “failures” at learning in first grade for me,...

    This patently untrue. In fact, I’d wager nearly every tildan is naturally a lot better at mathematics than most people. There was some early, limited “failures” at learning in first grade for me, but once i learned how to learn it, there were few failures through calculus. True of many disciplines for me, and I’m sure most of you.

    I read somewhere along the way too that modern theory states success is more important than failure for learning.

    Chaos also has a large role. I’ve received more than my fair share of breaks and advantages for which i made no effort.

    This is not, of course to discount perseverance. Others have applied themselves more diligently than i with about the same natural talent and opportunity, and have thereby achieved greater success.

    4 votes
    1. Loire
      Link Parent
      Man, I became a geologist explicitly because I was bad at math. You may lose that wager.

      fact, I’d wager nearly every tildan is naturally a lot better at mathematics than most people.

      Man, I became a geologist explicitly because I was bad at math. You may lose that wager.

      3 votes
  5. archevel
    Link
    The contents of the post seems more valid than its title. The title seem to indicate that we only learn from failing at something. Also what does failure even mean? If I'm learning to do carpentry...

    The contents of the post seems more valid than its title. The title seem to indicate that we only learn from failing at something. Also what does failure even mean? If I'm learning to do carpentry by building a bench. When finished I've hopefully learned a bunch, but I also have probably built a functional bench (albeit not perfect). Did I fail?

    2 votes