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The Curse of Dimensionality, Part 2

Yea

Sublime Curiosity

A long time ago, I wrote a post about the “curse of dimensionality”, which is a big problem for statisticians and machine-learning scientists. The basic problem is this (see this page for a more detailed explanation by somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about): Say you’re analyzing a population of people, and you want to see if there are any correlations between their height, weight, and age. Those are three independent variables, so your data is three-dimensional. Let’s say you measure height to the nearest centimeter, weight to the nearest kilogram, and age to the nearest year. If you use reasonable ranges for the parameters (height between 10 cm and 200 cm, weight between 0 and 200 kg, and age between 0 and 120 years), there are a lot of possible values. 4,800,000, to be exact. But, even with the parameters varying wildly, it’s not too hard to sample…

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Against All Odds—What’s Our REAL Chance of Becoming a Successful Author? Posted by Author Kristen Lamb Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook. Many of you were here for last week’s discussion regarding What Makes a Real Writer? When we decide to become professional writers, we have a lot of work ahead of us and sadly, most will not make the cut. I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of S.E.A.L. training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit. Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit? Image via http://www.freerepublic.com Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is capable of sustained change. This means of ALL the people who want to run marathons, 5% will. Of ALL the people who join a martial arts class, only 5% will ever reach black belt. Of ALL the people who have a dream of being a career author, only about 5% will ever reach that goal and maintain it. At first, I was horrified when I heard this statistic. I want everyone to be successful! Surely if they had more tools, more chances, more affordable classes… Human nature is a weird thing and, had I not seen this 5% rule play out countless times, I’d still be an unbeliever. Yet, like everyone is not meant to be a Navy S.E.A.L., not everyone is meant to be a career author. This is good news and bad news. Bad news is odds are against us. Good news is multi-fold. First, we control a lot of the factors that lead to success. Secondly, this job is NOT for everyone. Believe it or not, what we do is excruciatingly HARD. Just like it is NOT normal for a human body to run long miles in freezing surf carrying a Zodiac filled with water, it is NOT normal to sit and write 100,000+ words. Most people—literate or not—cannot do what we do. They like to believe they can…but they can’t. One of the reasons regular people are so shocked to meet a “real” writer is that so few writers ever really reach the professional level. But, why? Why do so many give up the dream? What does the 5% writer do differently than hoi polloi 95%? I’m an optimist. I believe all of us possess what it takes to be in that coveted 5%. Question is, can we overcome our natures? Pros Like Validation But Don’t Require It Image via QuickMeme Validation is different from feedback. We ALL love validation. We crave it. We adore it. But pros don’t require it. When I first brought my glorious prose to a critique group, I said I wanted feedback. What I really wanted was for the group to tell me that my words were written in angel tears and that all the agents who rejected me must have been brain damaged. I did not want to hear that I might not have a clue what I was doing. I did not want my pages handed back dripping in red ink. In fact, that hurt. A LOT. I had to learn to suck it up and press on. If one person had an opinion? Well, might just be a personal preference. When ten people gave the same opinion? Houston, I had a problem. Writers can work years without any hint of outside approval. Most people can’t sustain this and they give up. I found out last week that this blog has been named Writer’s Digest‘s Top 101 Websites for Writers for 2015. *happy dance* But some of you might not know that I blogged for almost two years and no one cared. My biggest fans were the male-enhancement bots. I so licked your blog. You make many grate poinsettias. Is it just me or are all your commenters brain dead? Hmm, maybe he’s foreign? Or not *head desk* How much do you LOVE the dream? Because I will tell you that if I went by outside approval, I would have quit YEARS ago. If I judged my future success by my beginning blog stats or early book sales? *weeps*

Against All Odds—What’s Our REAL Chance of Becoming a Successful Author? Posted by Author Kristen Lamb Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook. Many of you were here for last week’s discussion regarding What Makes a Real Writer? When we decide to become professional writers, we have a lot of work ahead of us and sadly, most will not make the cut. I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of S.E.A.L. training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit. Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit? Image via http://www.freerepublic.com Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is capable of sustained change. This means of ALL the people who want to run marathons, 5% will. Of ALL the people who join a martial arts class, only 5% will ever reach black belt. Of ALL the people who have a dream of being a career author, only about 5% will ever reach that goal and maintain it. At first, I was horrified when I heard this statistic. I want everyone to be successful! Surely if they had more tools, more chances, more affordable classes… Human nature is a weird thing and, had I not seen this 5% rule play out countless times, I’d still be an unbeliever. Yet, like everyone is not meant to be a Navy S.E.A.L., not everyone is meant to be a career author. This is good news and bad news. Bad news is odds are against us. Good news is multi-fold. First, we control a lot of the factors that lead to success. Secondly, this job is NOT for everyone. Believe it or not, what we do is excruciatingly HARD. Just like it is NOT normal for a human body to run long miles in freezing surf carrying a Zodiac filled with water, it is NOT normal to sit and write 100,000+ words. Most people—literate or not—cannot do what we do. They like to believe they can…but they can’t. One of the reasons regular people are so shocked to meet a “real” writer is that so few writers ever really reach the professional level. But, why? Why do so many give up the dream? What does the 5% writer do differently than hoi polloi 95%? I’m an optimist. I believe all of us possess what it takes to be in that coveted 5%. Question is, can we overcome our natures? Pros Like Validation But Don’t Require It Image via QuickMeme Validation is different from feedback. We ALL love validation. We crave it. We adore it. But pros don’t require it. When I first brought my glorious prose to a critique group, I said I wanted feedback. What I really wanted was for the group to tell me that my words were written in angel tears and that all the agents who rejected me must have been brain damaged. I did not want to hear that I might not have a clue what I was doing. I did not want my pages handed back dripping in red ink. In fact, that hurt. A LOT. I had to learn to suck it up and press on. If one person had an opinion? Well, might just be a personal preference. When ten people gave the same opinion? Houston, I had a problem. Writers can work years without any hint of outside approval. Most people can’t sustain this and they give up. I found out last week that this blog has been named Writer’s Digest‘s Top 101 Websites for Writers for 2015. *happy dance* But some of you might not know that I blogged for almost two years and no one cared. My biggest fans were the male-enhancement bots. I so licked your blog. You make many grate poinsettias. Is it just me or are all your commenters brain dead? Hmm, maybe he’s foreign? Or not *head desk* How much do you LOVE the dream? Because I will tell you that if I went by outside approval, I would have quit YEARS ago. If I judged my future success by my beginning blog stats or early book sales? *weeps*

Against All Odds—What’s Our REAL Chance of Becoming a Successful Author?

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook. Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook.

Many of you were here for last week’s discussion regarding What Makes a Real Writer? When we decide to become professional writers, we have a lot of work ahead of us and sadly, most will not make the cut.

I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of S.E.A.L. training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit.

Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit?

Image via www.freerepublic.com Image via http://www.freerepublic.com

Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is…

View original post 1,727 more words