Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I'm not a very career-driven person. I mean, I'm never going to be someone who is a lazy bum who doesn't want to do some kind of work, but there isn't one thing I want to do all the time and no burning desire to have a prestigious job that will occupy me 80 hours a week. I'm good at my job and value having a stable job, but it's not what I live for - I live for the time off to play a lot of bridge, hang out with the dog a lot, play tennis a little bit, go out to dinner some, and go out for drinks with friends some. Everything in moderation is generally a good rule to live by.

However, the people I have been most attracted to and interested in throughout my life are very career-driven, sometimes to the point where in inhibits their ablity to have a normal social life. Does this make sense?

The TV shows I like all center around characters who work 80 hours a week and wind up having to choose between career and social life - Kate Beckett from Castle, Robin Scherbatsky from HIMYM, Monk, Mary Shannon from In Plain Sight, all the characters from Grey's Anatomy, the detectives on Criminal Minds, all the lawyers from Suits. I admire these people, even if they are made up. Is it because I want that kind of life and that kind of passion for something or is it because I am glad there are other people doing those jobs that are so time-consuming?

In real life, looking back at the ladies I have dated, there's a string of smart career-driven (soon-to-be) doctors and lawyers (with a Math Ph.D. throw in the mix), starting with Kristen in 9th grade.

I read a Dilbert blog post today about becoming an expert. Supposedly it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert, assuming you are practicing the right things and have the right genes. Because bridge is pretty much the only thing that I could potentially have passion to become such an expert on and because this is mostly a blog about bridge, let's see how my bridge experience applies here.

Since I started playing in 2000, I estimate that I've played 1600 sessions of bridge, which is roughly 5600 hours. Time spent in post-mortems, teaching bridge, writing about bridge, and reading about bridge probably brings that up to around 7000 hours, so I have a couple of years to go to reach 10,000. However, the amount of time I spend on bridge has been steadily on the rise since 2008.

Am I practicing the right things? I think so. 95% of the time I play it is with a good partner while paying pretty close attention to things. Playing non-seriously or with a partner you can't trust can be counter-productive to improving because of the need to compensate for partner. Furthermore, more recently my tournaments have included a lot more regionals and bracket 1 knouckouts and fewer mid-bracket knockouts and sectionals and still winning just as much. That's gotta be better for improving one's game. Do I have the right genes? I think so.

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