Problems, Creative Solutions, and Knowing What One is Doing...

People like to solve [the] hard problems, and there’s a massive amount of social and organizational signaling wrapped up in that.

"The most dangerous thought you can have as a creative person is to think you know what you're doing."

Now to add some clarity to this statement, as it is likely easy to misinterpret what I'm saying here. When I write about not knowing what you're doing, I'm arguing against "expertise"; a feeling of mastery that traps one in a particular way of thinking.

I am not advocating ignorance. Instead, I'm suggesting a kind of informed skepticism, a kind of humility.

Ignorance is remaining willfully unaware of the existing base of knowledge, proudly jumping in and stumbling around. When I look upon the horizon, it strikes me that this approach is fashionable in certain circles today, and it's absolute poison.

Knowledge is crucial. Past ideas are imperative. Knowledge and ideas that have consolidated result in some of the most beautiful creations of humanity.

It's good to learn how to do something. It's better to learn many ways of doing something. Learn tools, and use tools, but don't accept tools as anything other than suggestions or hints in solving problems; but not accepting them as absolutes. Always distrust them; always be alert for alternative ways of thinking. This is what I mean by avoiding the conviction that I (and/or you) "know what you're doing."


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