You Know

I’m a knowledgeable guy. But there are times when I’m hampered by the possibility that there’s someone out there who’s more knowledgeable than I am.

This is going to happen; there’s almost always someone more knowledgeable than you are. And there are going to be times when acknowledgment of that fact is going to help (I’m pretty sure it got me a job once), and other times when it’s going to hold you back.

There’s a concept in business known as the Peter Principle, which reads that an employee tends to get promoted to his level of incompetency. More specifically, a competent person will continue to get promoted until they reach a level where they are no longer competent. There they remain, unable to be promoted any further. This is something of which I’m hyper-aware; I don’t want to move beyond my own competency. However, I’m usually a quick study and, more often than not, can reach competency without too much difficulty. The hard part, for me, is being comfortable in that level of discomfort.

One of the things we experience throughout our lives, but rarely take the time to understand or to acknowledge, is the fact that you have to be bad at something before you can be good at it. Instant success is rare in this world, and if it comes then it wasn’t a challenge in the first place. So for me I think the question for the future needs to be not “What do I know about this?” but rather “How can I learn what I need to know about this?”

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Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We live in a society of advice columns, experts and make-over shows. Without even knowing it, you can begin to believe someone knows better than you how to live your life. Someone might know a particular something better – like how to bake a three-layer molten coconut chocolate cake or how to build a website – but nobody else on the planet knows how to live your life better than you. (Although one or two people may think they do.) For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”