Are you incompetent enough?


Are you incompetent enough?

When’s the last time you felt a wave of incompetence rolling over the sand castle of your ego? Not necessarily a big one, but at least enough to cause some mild anxiety?

Last month, last year?

If it wasn’t today, you probably aren’t learning much. You may be incrementally learning a little bit here, a little bit there, but you’re not experiencing the growth of accelerated learning.

Of course, a deep and abiding feeling of incompetence may be a sign of a psychological condition in need of treatment, or you may be in a role that’s really not a good fit for you.

But periodic, moderate feelings of incompetence are just another speed bump on the road to where you’re growing to.

Advancing from point A to point B on a given stretch of road, you’ll hit exactly as many total speed bumps no matter how long it takes you to arrive. So if you hit three times as many speed bumps today as the next guy does, you must be going three times as fast.

Rulers measure distance. Clocks measure time. Speed bumps measure speed.



  1. According to Justin Dixon

    Triple your rate of failure and you might succeed.

    However, it’s not clear that we actually learn from our mistakes. See this. If tripling your failure rate works as a tactic, it might be via the side-effect of finding more successes to learn from.


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