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Upset 3d puppet, keeping for a head

Sometimes I wish I knew things. I look at people with skills like coding a mobile app and I wish I could do it. I meet someone and they speak 6 languages and I think “wow, they must be smarter than me”.

“I’m not good at that” is something that should be hard to say in today’s environment. Most of the excuses are gone. It’s too easy to go from not good to something better. Often, we don’t even have to pay (or get dressed) to be better at that.

Many of us came from two “schools of thought” on weakness.
– practice and get better at your weakness.
– surround yourself with others that complement your weaknesses.

This has been debated countless times. It depends on our individual context at any given time. Should we try to master the guitar? Or just listen to the music we enjoy? It may be a different answer if we are 14 and healthy than if we are 92 and have crippling arthritis.

In the modern world, everyone is expected to evolve with the times.

Yet, often, we are expected to comply with one school until it is time to rapidly shift to the other school. This is harder as we age but that is because of prior context. This may be easier for a younger generation but we may miss the ‘why’.

The ‘old people’ say things like:
I’m not good at that.
That’s not my thing.
I don’t need to know that.
This is the way we have always done it.

The ‘new people’ say things like:
I’m not good at that.
I don’t know how.
I’ll try but…
I’ve never done this before.
It’s just not possible.

Both groups don’t want to admit their anxiety. They want an excuse in case it doesn’t work out. Both groups wonder why they weren’t hired.

There are 2 ways to address this. Maybe there are more but I’m not good at finding all of them.

– Listen to those that have been there, done that. There is a lot to learn from history.  Whether a war of blood or business, the lessons from the past might keep us from repeating the same mistakes. It can also help understand why. We can say “here’s how this works” or we can say “this works like this because…”

– Listen to the newcomers. New ideas, new ways, new paths are how we improve. Allow them to challenge conventional wisdom. Let them challenge your “best practices” Have the courage to let them cut the cord. Allow them to experiment and make new mistakes.

Sure, we all  think we are learning every day. But if we are trying to learn on a passive level, we are behind.

– Networking is a great way to do this. Talk to industry leaders, read their books, blogs, and (scary thought) talk to them. Meet someone interesting and ask for 5 minutes or ask them out to lunch.

– Use the interwebs. There is Lynda.com, Khan academy, Alison.com, andYouTube. Every time I forget how to do a vlookup or a pivot table…boom, YouTube to the rescue.


Have the courage to listen and embrace it. Have the courage to learn it. Avoiding something because we are anxious doesn’t mean we won’t be good at it.

I enjoy listening and learning from those that know more than I know. I don’t even have to be good at finding them. They are everywhere!

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Image 2: The Spirit Science
Image 3: FEMA.gov