The allure of more

We have always been taught to do more of the same. Doing more builds perfection, gets stronger results. But we don’t have to. You don’t have to do 100% of the things 100% of the time to get the results you want. Minimum Effective Dosage (MED) is a thing of beauty ( More on it by Tim Ferriss). The minimum amount of effort that it would require to get to the desired results. But discerning where the MED point is- that requires skill, and a great deal of thought.

In school,one usually reads up entire chapters of books – over and over and over again. And that feels like learning. Many people (especially those who study engineering) deviate from this method in college – unconsciously applying MED in their method of study. A student who sat through tens of hours of lectures, can be matched in knowledge and exam-taking ability by a person who spent a few hours of concentrated effort just the previous night. No surprise – MED.

 

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Where MED gets really interesting is if you try applying it to everything. The words you speak- why speak 10 sentences if what you want to communicate can be conveyed in one crisp sentence? Why work for 8 hours when you can finish your work in 2 hours of focused effort? Why run 10 miles if the incremental benefits after running 4 miles are not really worth the effort? Interesting, isn’t it?

I wonder how Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule would stack up against this. When MED seems to work so well for most stuff, does it seem conceivable that it would take as much as 10,000 hours to get to a point of perfection in an activity or skill? Can’t you MED-hack stuff to get there faster?

Two really interesting points of view- would have loved to see Gladwell and Ferriss have a go at each other on this topic. Maybe someone would make a virtual deathmatch video on it.

Less is more? Damn straight it is.

3 thoughts on “The allure of more

  1. Has anyone noticed that elderly people and the very wise say very profound things by using the fewest words-nothing superfluous. Sometimes theres a long silence while they think about what they want to say. The silence doesn’t make them nervous and they don’t feel the need to break it with unnecessary chatter. When they finally speak it’s pared down and clean. It’s pure and so powerful. I think that is beautiful.

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