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Being Bad at Things Isn't Cool

My stepfather was talking today about a friend of his who is a competitive arm-wrestler. That reminded me of something I'd tell people, back in high school: that I'd only won two arm-wrestling matches in my life, and both were against girls. The implication was that I was very weak.

I took a weird sense of pride in saying that, and I can't really imagine why. Maybe it was a sour-grapes variety of defense mechanism.

I've noticed that I still do this today with my sense of direction. The truth is that I don't have a very good sense of direction, but I find that I bring it up at times where it's not necessary. Why? I don't really know. It's like self-deprecating humor that isn't that funny.

Making these sorts of comments implies that it's cool to be bad at things. Kids in school pretend to be bad at math, because they think that's cool. I don't think it's cool to be bad at anything. It's okay to be bad at things, but it's perverse to take a sense of pride in that.

Competence tests

On The 4 Hour Struggle

The competence of those in your professional (and personal) network can oftentimes be validated by very simple tests. Consider the following.

I need to get a 2LB package sent from a small town in Peru to the capital, Lima.

I am not in Lima and need someone there that can receive the package and send it to me in a different country.

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