December 07, 2021

More Than You Know

When you first start learning about something, excitement can lead to overconfidence. You learn the basics, hear the vocabulary, and start speaking the language. It can feel like a part of your mind, heart, or abilities has been unlocked. So you start using your newfound skills and knowledge like a kid with a Trapper Keeper on the first day of school. There are a couple of terms for this: The “Beginner’s Bubble” or “The Dunning-Kruger effect".

The idea is that confidence builds early, but then shrinks with time as you see how complicated the topic really is. It’s hard to see just how deep and wide the content of this new topic will be. There are nuances for different situations. There are naysayers who oppose this way of thinking or see history from an entirely different angle. And there are use cases where what you’ve learned could even be harmful.

As you learn these things over time, your confidence will dip. You’ll feel like you know nothing again, you may even want to give up.

But if you can push past those mental hurdles, you'll notice you're actually even more well-versed in the topic because you’re spending enough time to really understand it.

That’s when wisdom begins to surface. With more time, your newfound knowledge is no longer newfound. It’s just knowledge that can be integrated thoughtfully throughout your life and work. At this point, you feel comfortable with both the fundamentals and the complexities of the issue — and you continue in that tension.

So the next time you start learning or building something new, realize there’s more than you know. And with time, you’ll transition from basic knowledge to the wisdom that comes with deep practice and experience.

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