the short way is the long way
April 10, 2014 12:02 PM   Subscribe

What are real-life examples of experiences that are 'shortcuts' to accomplishing something, even though they might be very difficult because of the required intensity? For example, military training supposedly develops a kind of physical and mental discipline that would take a civilian longer to acquire. Rapid learning techniques that allow someone to learn several languages faster than most people learn one is another example. What are others?
posted by michaelh to Education (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Tabata workouts are basically hard core interval training for cardio sports like running, cycling, etc. They are short and brutal but good for increasing VO2. I don't know that I'd call it a short cut, but it's along the lines of what you're asking.
posted by jquinby at 12:06 PM on April 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

On the Job training?
posted by matty at 12:07 PM on April 10, 2014

Steroid (ab)use for muscle growth.
posted by ODiV at 12:20 PM on April 10, 2014

Rush immunotherapy. Basically instead of taking years to slowly build up your immunity to specific allergens via shots, they give you a series of shots minutes/hours apart over the course of 8-24 hours. It's intense and because of the possibility for extreme reactions, you have to do it supervised in a doctor's office.
posted by teleri025 at 12:23 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I left engineering, I took an accelerated Assoc. Degree program for Culinary School. What other people did over two school years, my class did in 48 weeks. Learning, studying, and cooking for two years in the span of 48 weeks was a lot more like an actual kitchen than a college (well, it was a lot of late nights and lab time and project work - like engineering was - but it wasn't what I would describe as typical for a non-technical career). FWIW they discontinued the program about 30 weeks in because so many people didn't completely get the implication of an accelerated program.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:24 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Many post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs compress what is usually 2-3 years of undergraduate pre-med coursework into less than 12 months. Likewise there are dual degree programs like BA/JD and BS/MD that compress undergraduate and professional school years.
posted by telegraph at 12:25 PM on April 10, 2014

Genetically modifying organisms in the lab takes lots of preparative research and technology but drastically accelerates creation of strains with particular traits compared to traditional breeding programs. For a further iteration of this, consider Speed Congenics.
posted by juliapangolin at 12:40 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

an hour with a golf pro beats a month on the course by yourself.
posted by bruce at 12:45 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mormon missionaries attend "boot camp" for 3-12 weeks of intense, immersive language training.
posted by jessicapierce at 12:46 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's the self-contained, small team "light and fast" approach to high altitude mountaineering as opposed to the "lay siege to the mountain with a giant team, eventually getting two people to the summit" method of old. Tougher on the individual, more dangerous in a lot of ways, but a much cheaper and quicker way to the top.
posted by bondcliff at 1:13 PM on April 10, 2014

This is, in a sense, the opposite of what you're asking for, but it might still qualify.

In racing sailing (and presumably racing most anything) the fastest ways to do many maneuvers require a lot more practice and training. For example this gybing technique is pretty difficult to learn to do properly, but once you know it, you will be going a lot faster (and, to an outside observer, look like you're doing less) than someone who can't do the same thing.

I may be illustrating an example of "the long way is the short way" here, though.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:32 PM on April 10, 2014

It's becoming more common in graduate schools to offer direct entry into doctoral programs without an intervening masters. If the final goal is a PhD, this can shave a year or even two off of time and requirements.
posted by bonehead at 1:49 PM on April 10, 2014

Going on the Biggest Loser instead of losing weight in a normal, reasonable, and healthy way.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:31 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

gastric bypass surgery to lose weight.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 2:58 PM on April 10, 2014

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain uses some techniques (turning the reference photo upside down, using a mirror, etc) to 'short-circuit' your normal way of viewing things, to very quickly develop the ability to produce an accurate drawing.
posted by Bron at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

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