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Developing a Skill or Tool vs. Confinually Refining its Use

Tuesday April 13, 2021

There’s this weird trap I see sometimes. Sometimes in myself, sometimes others tell me about it:

Let’s say a problem occurs in your life. Something troubling comes up. You think,

“Well, I have really developed this (process/skill/gift) well. So THAT can’t be why I’m suffering from (problem that looks suspiciously like a lack of that thing).”

Take intuition, for example. If you’ve worked hard to develop your intuition (which is definitely something laudable and doable), you can get to the point where you’re thinking, “hey, I got this. Pretty much any problem that seems to require the intuition, I can understand it and overcome it.”

And—that might even be true! At that time.

But then later, a big problem comes up, and you can’t see a way out! (This is an example of an intuition problem)

Or a little problem comes up, and you KNOW it’s little, but then it blows up, or gets really big. (This is also an example of an intuition problem)

You may think, “where was that gosh-darn intuition?!”

But instead, you might, or I might, disastrously conclude that it’s NOT an intuition problem. It couldn’t be! I’m good at those already.

And later on, it happens again. The thing is, it IS an intuition problem!

It sucks, but I’m left with these conclusions about this phenomenon


  • Skills fade over time.
    • OK, I think most people know this, right?
  • Knowledge fades over time.
    • Some people are 100% on board with this. Others are not—for example, people who think that if you really know a thing inside and out, you’ll never forget it, because of the satisfying logical arrangement of the parts, or something.
  • Relevance of your learned, appropriate level of skill or knowledge to a given problem changes over time.
    • Not many people think about this one.
  • Your ability to consciously identify appropriate skills or knowledge sets to apply to a given problem is more fluid than you might think, and changes over time as your skill- or knowledge-body and its dynamics change.
    • Hardly ANYONE knows about this.

It sucks to think about, in a lot of ways. It also creates these traps of the ego, where the conscious self is, by no fault of one’s own, really uninformed about how well it can solve problems. AND it’s not your fault, AND maybe there’s not even a solution for it that anyone can come up with. In other words, not only is the solution not on your radar, maybe it’s on nobody’s!

But a good system of skill- and knowledge-management-and-selection can really help.

Get one today!

Just kidding, I don’t know of any. But I’m working on it, maybe.

It should, for one thing, treat that blob of knowledge in your head as a really volatile and changing thing.

Filed in: Productivity /119/ | Control /110/ | Thinking /70/

Own your procrastination with Whole Productivity, a new system → Get my free INTJ COVID-19 Guide → Explore your gifts with my INTJ Workbook → Other Publications → ...and the fake word of the hour: "Ed." I think this is related to a lack of discipline.