So I was busy complaining to my buds about how we spend so much time and effort thinking and talking about how NOT to use heuristics incorrectly, that we never get around to figuring out how to use them correctly. People are so afraid of being called out on a slippery slope informal fallacy that they forget slippery slopes are real and they happen all the time. Well, in the midst of complaining, Lorien and I came up with a perfect example of such a rule. It’s a generalized form of “venue bouncing” from PUA:
Bouncing a girl to multiple locations is a way of building comfort with her. Each location instills more memories, and the HB’s trust in the artist will grow from location to location (assuming a smooth transition and interesting conversation and activities take place at each location).
Bouncing a girl to different locations can create a time distortion, or the feeling of having known the artist for a long time, even though the HB and the PUA have only known each other for a few hours. As such, a smooth Bounce is crucial for establishing isolation and comfort, especially in the case of ONSs, ZNSs, or insta-dates that take place over a short period of time.
Bouncing also creates a precedence of the girl following the artist’s lead, which will make it easier for him to lead the girl back to his place later when going for the close.
I bounced the HB to a couple of different clubs, before we headed back to my place.
Tangent: it’s not surprising that PUAs have their own language, but an honest-to-goodness dictionary? Chateau Autiste indeed. Freaking thards, man, always ass peeing on all our nice things.
Venue bouncing takes advantage of the generalization effect:
“I am comfortable with person X at location A.”
“I am comfortable with person X at location B.”
“I am comfortable with person X at location C.”
“I am comfortable with person X at location D.”
Our brains are lazy, and translate this into a form that is easier for us to handle and remember:
“I am comfortable with person X.”
See how that works? 99% of the original predictive utility, and now you don’t have to remember the truth values for all those individual cases. It’s a good thing. Instinct is not your enemy- thoughtlessness is. But instinct is more important than thought, and thoughtless instinct is way better than instinct-less thought if you have to pick one.
Lorien says that when you’re learning music, one hour of performance is as good as five hours of practice. Actually he can’t remember the real number or where he got it from, so we’re just gonna run with this one.
Why is that? Well, I figure 80% of it is that you care a lot more about the quality of your music before, during, and after a performance. You focus harder during practice beforehand because you don’t want to get flustered in front of everybody and screw up, and you focus harder during the performance because everybody’s watching, and you focus harder during practice afterward because you’re thinking about all the little imperfections that your grandma probably didn’t even notice (but they still piss you off a little).
There’s also some generalization effect at work, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the venue. That’s why speech coaches will tell you to practice your speech in the location you’ll be giving it, if possible, or try to imagine yourself in the venue full of people. It’s hard to generalize on the spot, and it’s easy to do familiar things in familiar places.
There’s also an added strain because when you’re performing a large portion of your mind is devoted to projecting yourself into the audience and imagining what it must look and sound like to watch you perform. So you’re putting stronger demands on your brain by also emulating the brain of someone watching from outside.
Anyway, that’s all details. The long and short of it is that performing for an audience makes you better faster.
Why not combine the two effects to get stronger returns from both of them? Now we see the real genius behind this PUA practice, because this is exactly what they’re doing by bouncing around and performing in multiple locations.
Going back to the music example for a moment, let’s say that it would normally take 100 hours for you to master a particular song, at your current level of skill. If you do a one-hour rehearsal performance after practicing 80 hours, that cuts 5 hours off the total so you only have 15 left to mastery instead of 19. Let’s also say that practicing in different locations makes you better faster via the generalization effect- let’s say twice as fast.
Then performing for an hour in a new location means you get both effects and much more mastery per hour. I’m not going to say it’s 5 * 2 = 10 or something because it’s more complicated than that (remember that at least part of the 5 came from generalization effect to begin with), but the return will be strictly larger than either of them individually. I call this “compound” because the effects strengthen each other, even if we don’t actually have a formula to say how much.
Now let’s say you are going to perform this song in a certain concert hall. Then here is how you get the most efficient practice time:
Set up a rehearsal performance for as soon as your perfectionism will allow. You aren’t going to sound very good after 10 hours, but earlier is better and hopefully your grandma won’t mention it. Set up as many of these little rehearsals as your social circle will accommodate, with increasing levels of potential embarrassment as you get better. This is exactly the same as Vox’s advice to “Fail faster”. Bounce to different venues as often as possible so that the skill becomes a general instinct rather than a comfortable response to familiar stimuli. Last, you should regularly practice in the concert hall if you can. This is a concession to the generalization thing because you do actually want the stimuli of the concert hall to be familiar on the big day.
Back to reality
Now, try not to sperg out too much about this because there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t mentioned. For instance, just practicing is good, but you also have to reflect on your practice too to get the full benefits. That doesn’t fit into this little model. And sometimes it’s okay to practice in a comfortable location and not worry so much because otherwise you’ll start hating the whole thing and that’s not helpful. Also not in the model. So just take the concept and add it to your bag of tricks, and pull it out when you’re plateauing because you’re feeling too comfortable to improve.
In this, it is like the PUA concept. Bouncing venues is always a great idea, except when it’s not. You’ll never be free from the need to apply judgment to the particular situation. At the same time, if your rifle jams in a warzone you don’t want to be the marine who didn’t practice taking it apart and putting it back together blindfolded.
Well that post had lots of tangents and imperfections. Oh well, PUBLISH.