The Power of Being Embarrassed




According to John Berkavitch in his Ubud TEDx talk, there are six steps you need to take to become good at something.

1. Want to be good at that thing
2. Learn your craft. Understand it, and practice
3. Start practicing more than you're actually practicing.
4. Realizing that if you stop practicing you're not going to get better, and in fact will backslide.
5. When you're actually quite good at something, stay humble, and realize there's always going to be someone who's better than you, if not now, than eventually.
6. Listen to other people. Listen to their advice, criticism and opinions. You can't be precious about your ideas or what you're doing. Realize the everyone's opinion has value, absolutely everyone. Understand that an idea is something that can grow. The best way to make it grow is to expose it to another idea.


What does it mean to practice?
Is there a difference between practicing and doing?
Certain professions are describe as a practice: Architecture practice, medical practice, law practice.
What do these fields have in common? Why is a cashier's job not called a 'cashier's practice'? Why is there no 'policeman's practice' or 'fishing practice', or administration practice?

"You can be anything you want, all it takes is practice."
Do you think this is true?
Do you agree about the practice part but not about the "I can be anything I want" part?
How hard is it to figure out the "what I want" part?

What is apathy?
Is apathy related to the boom in social networking sites?

According to John Berkavitch, on social networking sites, you build a virtual, edited personality, popularity is the goal, and more friends = good. In working with kids in London, he found that the most apathetic kids had hundreds of online friends, and he felt there was a connection:
"If you've reached a level of popularity where you've put yourself up here on a pedestal, then the risk of failure is enormous.
I can post a video from YouTube on my wall, and if five people like it and one person posts and says, 'Hey, cool video', then I've done it. I'm popular. it took me about a minute. … But when I was 15, in order to be popular, you actually had to do something. You had to talk to people, face to face, you'd get to know them, and they'd get to know you. And slowly you'd become friends. And if you wanted to be held in some kind of esteem, you had to devote a lot of time to something. You needed to be dedicated. Maybe it was sports, or music, or free-running, or playing the guitar, whatever it was. The key to it was, that you wanted it, and that you tried. But for these kids, because their popularity was achieved in under a minute, why would they want to be good at anything?
...
There's huge risk of failure. Their fear of being embarrassed is enormous, … of exposing themselves as not being cool. The fear of being embarrassed is starting to outweigh the desire to be good at things."

He found this to be true of himself, as well. Asked whether he would like to try surfing, he refused. His thoughts were:
"I'm 31 years old. I’m much too old to be bad at something. So my fear of embarrassing myself, of failure, outweighed my desire to have fun and try something new."
"The fear of being embarrassed is holding us all back."

So what are your first thoughts after reading these quotes?
What was your emotional reaction?

His theory seems to be that people want to do things well so people will think well of them, and that's the motivation to pursue doing something. Do you think this is true?
What motivations do people have to do something well? To start a new thing and keep developing themselves at it? What motivates people to want to do sometihng? How big a component of this is the possibility that people will think you're cool?

What is 'loss of face'?
What sort of event or circumstance would cause people to lose face?
What are the feelings involved in losing face?

How do the people you know act when they're embarassed?
What do they do to handle embarassment/loss of face?

Is losing face a kind of failure?
Does failure always mean a loss of face?

When a company fails to do something, what sorts of things do the media say about them?
Do you think loss of face is a significant impediment to development/creativity/economic innovation in Asia? In Taiwan?
Is there a level of acceptible failure?




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