Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

If I was 20 years younger


If I was 20 years younger...I would look for a good orienteering environment; then I would move there. By “orienteering environment” I mean maps, trainers, competitions, clubs, etc.

My first choice would be to move to Scandinavia. I lived in Sweden and it is hard to imagine a better O’ environment. But, I think I might prefer to live in Norway. I have spent a little time in Norway, maybe two months in total, and I like the place. Maybe it is my Norwegian roots that would draw me to Norway (my grandfather, a Hansen, was born in the U.S. but his parents were born in Norway).

My next choice would probably be Hamilton, Ontario. It sounds like the O’ environment in Hamilton is really good. Check out some recent discussion over at Attackpoint. Maybe it is my Canadian roots that would draw me to Hamilton (my other grandfather, an Eglinski, was born in Canada).

I think that the right orienteering environment is important; probably more important than any talent. Actually, I’ll qualify that – if you consider motivation a “talent”, then the environment is not most important. I read something Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the latest New Yorker that gets at the distinction:

Social scientists distinguish between what are known as treatment effects and selection effects. The Marine Corps, for instance, is largely a treatment-effect institution. It doesn’t have an enormous admissions office grading applicants along four separate dimensions of toughness and intelligence. It’s confident that the experience of undergoing Marine Corps basic training will turn you into a formidable soldier. A modelling agency, by contrast, is a selection-effect institution. You don’t become beautiful by signing up with an agency. You get signed up by an agency because you’re beautiful.

The orienteering environment is the “treatment effect” while some level of talent is the “selection effect.”

A topic for another day is -- if you can't move to the best orienteering environment, what can you do?

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posted by Michael | 9:29 PM


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