You’re Pretty Much Incompetent (Relatively Speaking)

Daily Meditation #230–10/10/2022

Just as you’ll never climb a mountain without starting at the base, unless you’re the fool, you’ll never be a master.

This may come as a surprise, but you’re probably pretty incompetent. But, you also probably think the exact opposite. And, simultaneously, you perhaps view others as incompetent.

These can’t all be true at the same time.

The fact of the matter is, compared to the tens of thousands of various skills — coding, logging trees, engine repair, dieting, and trauma care — you are basically grossly incompetent.

However, you very likely have a handful of skill (useful ones, ideally — playing a tuba on a unicycle doesn’t count) in which relative to the rest of the population you’re highly competent. 1% level. Two or three skills, maybe five if you’re prolific.

We are wired to save face.
Someone will mention they’ve been a welder for 30 years, and there’s always that one guy who will say something like “Ah! I was top of my high school shop class in which welding was one segment of.”

Don’t worry about saving face.
Don’t “fib” to seem smarter or more competent than you are.
Instead, be curious!

Prod and poke those who are differently-competent with curiosity. They in most cases would love to pour out their passions for enthralled ears and malleable minds.

While you may never be a 30-year-welder, you may learn a few tidbits which are useful. In the book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing” we have an entire chapter about this method of learning and thinking, called Renaissancism.

So, while you’re highly competent in a few things, you should seek knowledge in other (useful) skills and fields with deep, natural curiosity.

Embrace the fact you don’t know things.
Be willing and eager to acknowledge you’re new.

People love a spongy and interested person.

Over time, your accretion of these thousands of encounters and bits and pieces can help you more creatively think and synthesize solutions.

You cannot be a master of many realms.
But, you can be a wide, but shallow, ocean of information which you creatively combine.

Be curious.
Be a noob.
Listen well.

Follow for daily philosophical meditations.

These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”



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Lucas A. Davidson

Born and raised a Yooper, I write daily philosophical meditations on Eudaimonia. These are distillations from my book on the topic!