Warren Buffett calls it your circle of competence.
You can’t do everything. In fact, you can’t do most things. And you can only do a few things very well. What you do very well is a competency. Most of us have at least several competencies. With a lot of focused work and learning, we can gain more as we age.
But, be self-aware and honest. Your circle of competence is smaller than you think. Howard Gardner (adult education specialist) says that in most areas of life we have the insight level of a 5th grader. Our opinions are not much more advanced than that. I recently discovered that one of my cherished opinions was based on pretty uninformed data. That didn’t keep me from, up until that moment, being absolutely sure of my 5th grade level opinion.
Once you get outside the circle of competence, the quality of your opinion declines rapidly.
This should do several things.
First: It should create more humility, which we all need.
Second: It should create more listening and less talking in those areas outside our competence.
Third: It should create more collaboration, as we realize we need the competencies of others.
Fourth: It should decrease the amount of argumentation, since so many of our arguments are about things outside our circle of competence.
Fifth: We should realize that competency comes with a price. What’s the price? Time, hard work, the willingness to make mistakes and acknowledge foolishness, and the ability to do it all again tomorrow.
Smart Spots. Knowing them. Staying around them. That sounds pretty smart.
Find your smart spots and stay around them for maximum fruitfulness. Then you (and others) will flourish. As time goes on, add some more spots.
And, in light of our reJesus series, may Jesus become your Best Smart Spot.
P.S. This reflection was motivated by several insights from Rolf Dobelli in his book, The Art of the Good Life.