1 minute read

There is an endless amount of stuff in the world to learn, and not enough time to learn it. The demands of modern work nudge us to build skills in a very specific domain - typically the domain someone else is giving us money to be proficient in. Success at work is important, but it’s not sufficient to be happy and successful in life. There are many other areas where, if you aren’t minimum viably competent, life will be hard. You may not even be aware of what other domains you should be competent in. Unknown unknowns. Strategies have trade offs, and our culture view towards specialization doesn’t get an exception — but the consensus view doesn’t have to be your view. You also cannot learn or understand everything. Time scarcity is real, so how do you allocate time, or even know what to allocate time to? I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Key questions I have for myself are:

  • What domains should I be competent in and why?
  • How do these competencies relate to my principles and goals?
  • What do I gain or lose from being competent / not competent in an area?
  • In what domains am I currently lacking, and what caused the gap?
  • What is the most efficient way to fill the gap?
  • How can I know when new domain knowledge gaps arise?
  • What are my true intentions and feelings?

A key idea I’ve been riffing on: feeling like you need to be an expert in something prevents you from getting baseline competent in that thing. For many topics (and I am not trying to trivialize expertise) spending a few days really digging into the basics will get you to minimum viable competence. Experts will tell you otherwise, and they are kind of right and kind of wrong. Enough to be dangerous is beneficial, even if you are incompetent in the eyes of an expert. The friction to filling the gap is admitting the gap, building a plan, and spending the time — and maybe shrugging off the gate keepers from time to time.

Here are areas where I want to continue filling gaps. What are yours?

  • Personal finance / alternative investment strategies
  • Parenting
  • Strength exercise
  • Emotional wellness and meditation
  • Emotional awareness
  • Leadership
  • New AI concepts / LLMs