Gracious

Here is one of my core beliefs: specialization is good. You shouldn’t try to be able to do everything; you should focus on developing your core strengths as much as possible and outsource or delegate most of everything else.

However, there’s a dark side to that philosophy. Once you adopt the mantra that you should be good at your “thing” and not worry too much about trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, you can then become too dismissive of things you aren’t good at.

Just because you aren’t good at something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever do it.

First, your life doesn’t have to be an endless pursuit of efficiency. I’m not a skilled auto mechanic; if something were wrong with my car, the best thing for me to do would be to pay money to a specialist to have it fixed. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ever tinker around with my car. It can be fun to learn things, and it can still be valuable – even moving from “totally ignorant” to “basic knowledge” can help you interact with experts better, saving time and money all around.

But it’s also just good for the soul to recognize that the world is full of things to be good at, and you won’t be good at all of them. It gives you a deeper appreciation of your fellow humans and their myriad skills and talents.

Plus, botching stuff on a regular basis both keeps you humble and gives you a lot of information about the world. The best ideas come from disasters.

So I still believe that when it comes to carving out your place in the world, it’s good to find the thing you’re good at and dive in. When you’re serious about personal development and in that mental space, you should be spending that time improving your core strengths, not trying to overcome every little thing you’re not good at. But when you’re just living your life – in leisure, relaxing, exploring the universe – be eager to lose. Lose graciously, and watch the world pour information and inspiration onto you that you can take back with you to your tower of victory, to build it even higher.

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