EMMA'S NOTES #24

On knowing less each day

🙋🏼‍♀️ Dearest you,

You will know less each day.

In a fast-changing world there are two things which prevalence is highly decreasing each day:

  1. An individual knowing everything about a certain topic.

  2. Us experiencing things that we have experienced before.

This urgently calls for a different approach to how we value both knowledge and experience.

Most people have this idea of a natural increase in knowledge in the back of their minds. You might have never thought it explicitly, but you probably have the conviction that throughout your lifetime, you will know more and more each day. And you probably will.

If you map out your individual knowledge to the total collective knowledge of humankind though, the percentage you've gained will probably decrease, rather than increase throughout your lifetime.

Let's say you have to hire a new employee today. If you try your best, chances are you will find a candidate who has gained a substantial amount of expert knowledge on the relevant subject matter. Five years from now, the amount of relevant knowledge will probably be smaller. Fast forward ten years it will be even smaller. Twenty years later... you get it, right?

Previously gained knowledge will increasingly be an outdated parameter for assessing expertise because well... the knowledge gained is going to be outdated faster.

How else can we then assess expertise? Let's try the good old experience.

Let me be very clear here: there is no causal relationship between experience and time.

Say it with me: there is no causal relationship between experience and time.

Man, if I would have gotten a dollar for every time someone tried to patronize me with something along the lines of 'you can't be experienced because you are too young' those bastards would have supplied me with a basic income well into my thirties.

(feel free to do that still, you have my card 😉)

So to avoid any misunderstanding, first we need to redefine what experience is:

There is a difference between having experienceD and having experience.

The definition of the first being: living through an event. Surviving in its most basic form.

The definition of the second being: living though an event AND learning from it AND later being able to apply the thing you learned in a new situation.

There are people who have seen the world but forgot to take a little wisdom as a souvenir. There are also people who haven't been outside of the city they were born in, wallowing in wisdom.

The first have experienced, while the latter have experience.

When you want to gain experience, just gathering the data points is not enough. It's about what you do with those data points.

Let's explain with sex.

There are people that have slept with a lot of people with an average of a few nights per lover. Then there are people who have shared their bed many times with just a few lovers. The question of who has more experience in this matter, does not have an obvious answer. Why not?

Because you can argue that both parties have more data points than the other. How much and what kind of data points you need in order to have experience is highly personal. It depends on how you learn.

When it comes to work experience it's same same. The relevant question thus is not: who has more experience, but who can effectively use their experience?

Good for you if you think you are sitting on a chest of gold, but as long as you have no idea how to open it and share your gold with the rest of us: who cares?

A good rule of thumb is: the one who can understand the other is usually the brightest in the room.

An even better rule of thumb is: the one who does not try to understand the other is absolutely not the brightest.

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Have a great week,

PS: Someone mentioned to me last week that I've been mentioning sex a lot in my newsletters. This theme appears to be continuing. What can I say: I just like the multitude of metaphors it offers. Feel free to think of it as a literary motif.

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