Sunday 13 May 2012 - Residual and critical level
Sometimes I don't remember if I already talked about certain things, but a quick reminder wouldn't hurt.
In term of social networking I found that your skills and proficiencies in areas such as sports, musics, languages or anything uncanny were actually very efficient to find new friends.
Let me give you some examples. Last year, a friend of us introduced us to a very good salsa dancer and instructor. The first thing he did when he came here, was to hit all the salsa places every single day for two-three weeks. In that amount of time, all the regulars would have spot him and asked him where he was from and what he was doing here. Usually for a normal dancer, it would have taken a few more months, sometimes up to three months to create some familarity. But in his case, his level was so high that his integration in the salsa community was close to instantaneous. He has what I called the critical level where you get to be part of the community because you've reached that level of profiency where people believe you are on the same level. Of course, some people may argue that the salsa scene is superficial, but still, it is a place to start.
Another example. I have that (famous) bilingual friend whose French is as perfect as a Native speaker. Personally I couldn't believe she wasn't French when she told me she was Spanish and only spent six months in Paris. But her level is so high that she would have got only French friends for her first three years in Sydney. And it was the first time ever she would have had that many French friends. In Paris, people thought she was a local and she actually didn't make any French friends in France.
So what do we call the critical level ? Some people talk about the expert level where you need to add up 10,000 hours. For me, it is the level where your peers accept you as one of them based on a particular skill (i.e salsa dancing, French speaking...).
And what if you don't practise anymore ? Would your brain keeps a residual level which would be equal to the critical level ? This is the whole problem where I haven't found the solution yet !! I don't really know how long you need to practise a specific skill so your residual level will always be close to the critical level...