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A is for Amateur

Steph Troeth
June 17, 2014
130

A is for Amateur

In Latin languages, the root word of “Amateur” is “lover”. Yet in English, “amateur” has a rather negative connotation, where it tends to mean “not professional” or doing something “not for money”. How do we balance between “work that pays the bills”, and keeping ourselves fresh and creative? In Latin languages, the root word of “Amateur” is “lover”. Yet in English, “amateur” has a rather negative connotation, where it tends to mean “not professional” or doing something “not for money”. How do we balance between “work that pays the bills”, and keeping ourselves fresh and creative? In this talk, I share some new thinking around passion for work, and discusses the pragmatic side of loving what we do.

Steph Troeth

June 17, 2014
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Transcript

  1. A

    is for
    Amateur
    Stephanie Troeth

    !
    Breaking Borders

    June 17, 2014

    Reading, UK

    !
    @sniffles

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  2. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40589/40589-h/40589-h.htm

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  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day

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  4. http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/how-did-this-couple-travel-and-live-in-35-cities-in-two-years/story-e6frfqfr-1226798140969
    news.com.au:

    “How did this couple travel & live in 35
    cities in 2 years?”

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  5. “So often in life you can get trapped by the
    mundane day to day routine of it all. Every day
    can just become a 'photocopy' of the previous day.
    Pretty soon you can stop being grateful and
    before you know it life can pass you by.”

    !
    — Natasha Patel

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  6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/classblog/5136926303/
    Work vs. Leisure?

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  7. We have effectively separated the ideas
    of “working” and “living”, giving birth
    to the concept of “earning a living”.

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  8. “‘Amateurism’” is defined […] as
    “nonprofessional”, while “amateurish”
    is the lack of professional finish…”

    !
    —Robert A. Stebbins, ‘Amateurs’ (1979)

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  9. “There is an intellectual relationship among
    professionals, amateurs, and publics, which springs
    primarily from the amateurs. Having more time for
    such things, they can maintain broader knowledge
    of their activity than can most professionals…”

    !
    —Robert A. Stebbins, ‘Amateurs’ (1979)

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  10. “…Professionals are often too busy polishing
    techniques and making a living with it to find time
    for reading about the history of their endeavor or
    about forms, styles, periods or persons beyond their
    bailiwick.”

    !
    —Robert A. Stebbins, ‘Amateurs’ (1979)

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  11. It becomes easy to forget how to
    labour with love.

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  12. Do what you love…
    or

    Love what you do?

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  13. “Follow your passion.”

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  14. Video of Cal Newport
    Cal Newport, World Domination Summit 2012

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  15. “For most people, it's easy to be
    passionate about things that are
    working out, and that distorts
    our impression of the
    importance of passion.”

    — Scott Adams
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304626104579121813075903866

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  16. “In hindsight, it looks as if the projects that I
    was most passionate about were also the ones
    that worked. But objectively, my passion level
    moved with my success. Success caused
    passion more than passion caused success.”

    — Scott Adams
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304626104579121813075903866

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  17. “My hypothesis is the model that works
    instead is: pick something interesting —if
    there are 9 things that interesting to you,
    throw a dart — get good at something rare
    and valuable, while your friends are switching
    jobs 9 times ‘cos they don’t love it in the first
    week…”

    — Cal Newport

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  18. “… take advantage of that and get good at
    something, to focus down, to do the satisfying
    work of craftsmanship, to build up an actual
    ability. And once you have it, that’s where you
    apply the courage to use it as leverage to gain
    the traits that matter to you.”

    — Cal Newport

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  19. If love and passion needs
    ‘work’, what can we do to
    keep the flame alive?

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  20. Getting good at something.

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  21. Kathy Sierra on Mastery:

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  22. Models

    to show what “good” means.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/maru3/3692777541/

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  23. Practising and rehearsing
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mysnapps/3954210522/
    Edge practice

    (getting good at the right things)

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  24. Forward flow:

    keep on keeping on.
    http://giphy.com/gifs/wQI5H4jtqZEPK

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  25. Going deep vs going broad.

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  26. Stealing from the Growth Share Matrix
    Relative Market Share
    High Low
    High
    Low
    Growth

    rate

    $
    £
    ability to
    generate
    cash
    ?

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  27. “The trouble with this colourful schema is that
    classifying businesses in this way can be self-
    fulfilling. Knowing that you are working for a dog
    is not particularly motivating, whereas working for
    an acknowledged star usually is. Moreover, some
    companies misjudge when industries are mature.
    This may lead them to decide that businesses are
    to be treated as cash cows when they are in fact
    stars.”

    !
    —“The Economist Guide to Management

    Ideas and Gurus”, Tim Hindle
    http://www.economist.com/node/14299055

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  28. What if we turn the
    Growth Share Matrix
    into a map of our lives,
    projects & work?

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  29. ?
    Satisfaction
    Stability

    $
    £
    High Low
    High
    Low

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  30. ?
    Interestingness
    Investment

    $
    £
    High Low
    High
    Low

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  31. Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
    Great people 4 3 5
    Interesting work 1 5 2
    Well-located 1 2 4
    Good money 4 3 1

    Total points
    emotional
    emotional
    rational
    rational
    Choosing with a Decision Matrix

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  32. Experiment
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/acrider/4124977525/
    (no such thing as a bad/
    failed experiment)

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  33. Play
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/acrider/4124977525/

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  34. http://www.flickr.com/photos/acrider/4124977525/
    Experimentation

    is structured
    play.

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  35. The El Bulli

    vs

    The Sagmeister

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  36. Time-boxing
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tcp909/4004808621/
    (stop and move on)

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  37. Be a perpetual amateur

    to be a better professional.

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  38. Narkis
    Narkis Alon, Co-Founder of Elevation Academy, Lift 2014

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  39. Universal Theory of Undying Love

    (by induction method)

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  40. Be in love tomorrow

    Forever will take care of itself.
    Be in love today

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  41. Thank you!

    !
    !
    @sniffles

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