sight reading.

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  • March 2, 2012

Brilliance from Seth Godin:

When I played clar­inet in high school, I never prac­ticed. I blamed it on my dog, who howled, but basi­cally I was a lousy music stu­dent.

At my weekly lesson, though, the teacher would scold me, guess­ing that I’d only prac­ticed three or four hours the week before. I was so good at sight read­ing that while I was truly mediocre at the clar­inet, I was way bet­ter than any­one who had never prac­ticed had any right to be.

We often test sight read­ing skills, par­tic­u­larly in job inter­views. In that highly-charged encoun­ter, we test the applicant’s abil­ity to think on her feet. That’s a great idea if the job involves a lot of feet think­ing, but oth­er­wise, you’re inspect­ing for the wrong thing, aren’t you? Same with a first date. Marketing your­self to a new per­son often involves being charis­matic, clever and quick—but most jobs and most rela­tion­ships are about being con­sis­tent, per­sis­tent and brave, no?