We spend the first twenty years of our lives getting taught things that we’re told will help us.
This has the side effect of making us believe that getting smarter fixes you.
There’s a conditional truth inside of this… Sometimes it fixes you.
But it’s often misleading.
Because most adults I meet fail because they don’t want to do dumb things, not because they lack knowledge or resources.
Education is a process of gathering resources. Action utilizes those resources. Most of us spend way too much time gathering resources and not enough time learning how to utilize them effectively.
There are several reasons we don’t switch into action quickly enough. One of them is fear, another is waiting for external permission. But another is a learned habit. Early on, we learn something, decide to try it out, do badly, and step away thinking, “That can’t be what a beginner looks like. I thought I had this figured out.” And we go back to learn more before trying again.
This becomes an ingrained habit, to learn more and more before taking action.
It’s hard to see at a young age that no, you looked like an idiot, and that was exactly how you should have looked because you’ve never done that before.
The cost of looking like an idiot is simultaneously high and low. It’s high in the sense that if you act like an idiot in front of the wrong people (almost everyone you knew as a child and most of the people you know now) you will get cut off socially.
It’s low in the sense that it doesn’t harm you when done in the right context. Which, if you’ve never acted like an idiot before on purpose, you have no idea how to set that context. So let’s be honest, acting like an idiot sucks and there’s a price to looking like a fool.
But it’s a price that must be paid for excellence and there isn’t really another way to go.
Because when we educate ourselves we play god in the landscape of our minds. We take our education and create whatever we want within our imaginations. It feels real and we feel justified in our hypothetical excellence.
When we apply it in the real world we look like the inexperienced fools that we really are. But it’s the only way to build up the skills to get to the things we want in the real world.
Acting like an idiot is difficult and painful and the way you must act if you haven’t mastered something.
It’s a price you pay.
Acting like an idiot can turn you into a titan.