Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tortoise x Hare

        Some people develop over long periods; others develop rapidly. Joseph, for instance, went from wasting away as a slave in an Egyptian dungeon to become the 'prime minister' of Egypt overnight. Jacob, in contrast, was the paragon of gradual progress and development.

The names of Joseph's two sons reflect these two styles. Menashe connotes jumping, while Efraim, connotes fruit. When one jumps, one breaks the orderly and incremental approach of walking and covers much ground. Fruit, however, ripens gradually.
It was for this reason that Jacob and Joseph were in conflict concerning which of Joseph's sons is the greater. Jacob favoured Ephraim, while Joseph had stronger ties with Menashe.
Each style has its pros and cons. Menashe may progress very quickly, yet often skips stages along the way and thus lacks solid foundations. In contrast, while Ephraim progresses slowly, whichever level he attains he is really there.

However, a third path exists. Some people manage to combine both approaches. Lewis Carmichael, only 15 years of age, is a good example. In the year since I've resumed skating, I've observed Lewis advance prodigiously in his skating ability. Every time I meet him at Prahran skate park he amazes me with his quantum leaps in progress. But don't mistake him for a Menashe who skips levels in his haste, for Lewis's skating has the consistancy and solidity of Ephraim.
When I asked him what his secret is, he gave me two answers:
a) 'I've picked up many hobbies in the past but dropped them after some time. Skating, however, is different. I love it so much that I can't imagine ever tiring of it.'
b) 'All I do in my spare time is skate...'
His formula: (intrinsic motivation x all-consuming devotion) = (tortoise x hare)  

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