Preconceived Ideas - The Devil is in the Detail

People often use the irrational logic; I am good at this therefore I am not good at that. I am either left brain oriented or right brain but rarely a mixture of both. While I believe that people can be particularly talented in certain areas, it doesn't mean that we cannot build up a sufficient knowledge in any area of life, no matter what our background is in. The thing that is holding us back is not technical ability or the ability to grind things out. Our talent will fail us if we are not skilled and what is skill only hours of practice. Skill is more important than talent and therefore we can become adequately skilled in any area without ever having any particular talent for it.

If the key to success is finding what we are talented at then it is alarming just how  many of us sit back and wait for that talent to uncover itself, or worse still, let other people predetermine what we are talented at. It is always good to get an objective opinion but most objective opinions are rarely unbiased. Everybody comes with preconceived ideas of the world around us, it helps us combat the unknown and categorise the world. Preconceived ideas are a useful tool as they help us to avoid expending energy on mundane things like what should a cat or dog look like.

The only person we truly know is ourselves, we don't share 100% DNA with anyone else, identical twins aside. This fact is blatantly obvious when we think of all the times that other people have drawn different and often contradictory perceptions of us, all in our pursuit of external validation. A problem solver solves each problem one solution at a time while maintaining momentum, not with hundreds of variations.

Josh Kauffman has spoken about the 20 hour curve to learning anything. I believe the analysis to be true with 'smart' and efficient study. In any area quick ground can be made before we reach the intermediary plateau. There is nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades if we also find the trade we excel at. It is impossible to find what we are really good at if we are not open to trying everything and taking ideas and principles from all areas of life.

We can't afford to let too many of the cognitive biases into our lives. There is no reason why a man in IT cannot take an interest in art, fashion or dance in the same way a woman in the field of arts and humanities cannot take an interest in all things technological. The key to a successful career is finding your unique selling point (USP) and I believe that it is through diversification that we can begin to mould it.

Whenever I unwittingly fight the urge to talk to someone outside my field of interest, that I think doesn't fit in with the preconceived ideas my culture and nation has bestowed upon me, I simply think back to my first poker match. On my first game I scanned the room and failed to find the sucker and concluded, to my detriment, that poker was simply a game where they didn't exist.