Embracing Incompetence

Every once in a while it pays to stretch your comfort zone. Expose yourself to a situation or activity that you have no background in. It reminds us what incompetence feels like.

A reality check that brings us down from the pedestals we’ve so meticulously crafted. It makes us feel insecure and out of control. It seems counter-intuitive and foolhardy, but it serves an important purpose.

It forces our brains to rewire. It nurtures our neuro-plasticity. The building block of a growth mindset. To be open to new possibilities we must first see them. A brain faced with a new challenge that falls outside its scope of operation needs to adapt and construct so that information can get where it’s going faster. The first few times it tries to use the pathways already in place. Some are useful, some are not. The consequence, incompetence.

It also protects us from arrogance and feelings of superiority, which, coincidentally are counterproductive mental states to growth and innovation. This reality check enables us to respond differently to students in a craft we have already mastered. It’s been a while since we were students. We have lost touch with the realities of learning what we experience as second nature. Our understanding of mentorship opens up.

Be brave! Learn something new: a sport, a skill, a musical instrument.

You will suck.

You will be better for it.

 Quino Al

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