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Thread: Ben Kaplan

  1. #1
    Let's go to fairyland Minde's Avatar
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    Default Ben Kaplan

    I'm feeling lazy atm, so I'm putting this one here for you all.


    I first heard about this guy years ago when I was starting college. My parents read his "How to go to College Almost for Free" book.

    I can't find any objective, third-party descriptions, so in lieu of that here are some obligatory photos, a link or two, and a blog excerpt.














    Official website


    Watch two video clips (half-way down the page)


    This quoted post seems characteristic:

    From the moment I stepped on the dance floor, I knew I was in way over my head.

    I was a newbie at the Blue Dragonfly, a Thursday night salsa dancing hot spot in Portland, Oregon. Only moments earlier, I had made the mistake of approaching one of the best dancers in the place, a beautiful woman with exotic tattoos. Although we hadn’t yet begun dancing, the butterflies in my stomach were already doing the mambo.

    When the music kicked in, I boldly attempted the most complicated move I had learned in beginning salsa class—a hard-to-execute combination of spins, quick pivots, twists and turns. The result was memorable: an awkward tangle of arms, legs and bruised toes.

    To the casual observer, my ill-fated attempt to dance with someone so good so soon was clearly an embarrassing mistake. I just wasn’t ready. But according to a growing body of educational research, making such mistakes early and often, through an enlightened process of trial and error, is actually the quickest way to learn any new subject, discipline or skill.

    Think about it: When did you ever learn something of value by doing it perfectly the first time?

    For the past 10 years, I have made a concerted effort to accelerate my personal learning process by embracing mistakes instead of fearfully avoiding them. Regardless of what you want to learn—whether for school or work, salsa dancing or otherwise—perhaps the following three strategies can help you, too, make more effective mistakes in your everyday life.

    1. Make Faster Mistakes
    To learn any new skill, there are two primary paths: Either seek to limit your mistakes by carrying out a deliberate program of systematic study and careful execution, or else boldly experiment through an organic process of trial and error.

    In the book "Art & Fear," the authors test the efficacy of each path by describing a ceramics class in which half the students were graded on the artistic quality of a single work while the other half was judged on the sheer quantity of their output (as measured by the total weight of all pieces created).

    Here were the surprising results: Those graded on quantity also created the highest quality work. Instead of attempting to craft flawless initial designs like the "quality" group, the "quantity" group had busily produced piles and piles of product—learning immeasurably from each new mistake made throughout the process.

    Simply put, to learn ceramics or anything else more quickly, the key may be to make mistakes more rapidly. Fail faster to succeed sooner.

    2. Make Smarter Mistakes
    A "smart mistake" is one with a high potential value in experience gained compared to a relatively low cost—a scenario where the trial-and-error process is weighted heavily in your favor.

    Because we spend so much time in the typical learning process on "input" (trying to record, remember and assimilate the new information we are constantly receiving), any opportunities to "output" what we have learned (by actually implementing the lessons in real-world settings) has the potential for high value. The less familiar we are with a particular field—salsa dancing certainly qualifies as one for me—the larger the potential experience gains may be.

    On the flip side, most mistakes made when learning a new skill or discipline will have low costs as long as we can shrug off embarrassment and keep a positive attitude. Sure, I may have looked goofy on the dance floor, but so what? If the road to success is paved with failure, then why worry about the little potholes along the way?

    3. Make Intentional Mistakes

    When most people experiment through trial and error, their goal is to confirm their initial assumptions. If they are sure a particular approach will fail, they won't see the need to test it at all.

    But what if your initial assumptions are flawed? What if challenging these core assumptions is a key driver of discovery and innovation?

    Legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy, for instance, was known for including in his testing so-called "mistake" ads that he was certain wouldn't work. While most were disasters as expected, a few became surprising hits, leading him to study them more closely for the hidden lessons they revealed.

    On the dance floor, I’ve even summoned the courage at times to try executing some steps precisely the "wrong" way. By better understanding through direct experience what causes those dance floor mishaps, I have subsequently become more adept at executing the "right" technique.

    Although I'm still far from a salsa sensation, I didn't hesitate to ask that same woman from the club to dance when I saw her a few weeks later. After I managed to string together a few moves while avoiding her endangered toes, she surprisingly flashed me the universal facial expression for "not too shabby."

    Though we may be taught as kids that "two wrongs don’t make a right," when it comes to learning salsa dancing or anything else, committing many wrongs may increase the odds that one day we get it right.
    More posts of his to read


    Fe-valuing, maybe...?
    INFj / EII / FiNe
    ()


    "Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Have courage and be kind." - Cinderella's mom

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    UDP's Avatar
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    Yeah, Fe valuing from looks.

    He enjoys holding his arms out wide, like he's trying to impress you, or being super awkward about wanting / giving hugs.

    Looks like a sunshine pumper.

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    not gonna be around as much anymore
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    His pictures remind me of Jerry Seinfeld.
    My life's work (haha):
    http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/blog.php?b=709
    Input, PLEASEAnd thank you

  4. #4
    Breaking stereotypes Suz's Avatar
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    Yeah agree, ILE is what i get from him. I sort of have a similar attitude regarding mistakes--though I will try really hard to not make one if i can help it and I like to be armed with more info than i need before i start (perhaps that's the Te vs Ti valuing difference). But if i do make a mistake, I try to ignore the embarrassment and most of all learn from it and not repeat it again.

    EDIT: on 2nd thought he might be SLE as well, can't decide.
    Last edited by Suz; 12-23-2010 at 03:13 AM. Reason: typo
    Enneagram: 9w1 6w5 2w3 so/sx

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    lump's Avatar
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    idk, i'm trying to make a wild guess and the only thing that comes to mind is Ep. ILE seems reasonable.

    his attitude toward mistakes was nice and reassuring to read and endeared me toward him but then i wonder if its just too indulgent and feel-good or something. so i'm not sure what to make of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryu View Post
    Looks like a sunshine pumper.
    lmao. i have no idea what this actually means but somehow it seems perfectly appropriate.

  6. #6
    Let's go to fairyland Minde's Avatar
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    He has a certain fearlessness which I think has definitely helped him accomplish all the things he's tried. As in, he doesn't hesitate to just go up to knowledgeable people and talk to them and ask them dumb questions.

    He also seems somewhat omnivorous in tastes and ventures. Obviously he's done that whole go-to-college thing, but he's also a restaurant owner, salsa dancer, and Drupal (website programming) developer. And probably other things, no doubt. In fact, he strongly strikes me as someone who can't remain in one thing for too long or he'll go crazy, although while he's in something he works hard at it until he's highly proficient.
    INFj / EII / FiNe
    ()


    "Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Have courage and be kind." - Cinderella's mom

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    UDP's Avatar
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    the last paragraph is classic NT temperament, or that's what it sounds like anyway.

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    Breaking stereotypes Suz's Avatar
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    ILE it is then...
    Enneagram: 9w1 6w5 2w3 so/sx

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    Glorious Member mu4's Avatar
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    I think IEE or EIE rather then ILE.

    ILE hate making mistakes, especially small ones, this is why they usually write rewrite, rewrite, redo, redo, the same thing over and over again without publishing or talking to anyone about it. Take someone like Aushra who couldn't finish writing all the socionic descriptions or had a hard time putting Socionics on paper at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Not really true
    Simply put, to learn ceramics or anything else more quickly, the key may be to make mistakes more rapidly. Fail faster to succeed sooner.
    Simply not true. It might be true for ceramics, but to say "anything" else is taking it too far.

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