The only way to be ready is to build a vast repertory of knowledge

Our ego gets in the way of capitalizing on the margin of safety that is produced by knowing more than you need to. Often we learn enough to solve today’s problem but not enough to solve tomorrow’s. There is no margin of safety in what we know. Another way our ego gets in the way is that we tend to coast on our natural strengths, too afraid or intimidated to dive into being the worst at something. But as Hadfield explains, “Early success is a terrible teacher. You’re essentially being rewarded for a lack of preparation, so when you find yourself in a situation where you must prepare, you can’t do it. You don’t know how.” And life will throw at you challenges that require capabilities outside your natural strengths. The only way to be ready is to first build as vast a repertoire of knowledge as you can in anticipation of the possibilities you might face, and second to cultivate the ability to know what is relevant and useful.

-- The Great Mental Models, Vol. 3, Rhiannon Beaubien and Rosie Leizrowice, p. 90 (inner quote from An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield.

knowledge, learning, margin-of-safety

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