3-6 General Competence versus Selective Ignoranceدوره: Mindshift- Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential / فصل: Learning and Careers / درس 6
3-6 General Competence versus Selective Ignorance
If you have long term goals in a difficult to master area, one of the best things you can do is to immerse yourself in what you're learning. So I vowed not to touch a computer during those years, giving me time to focus on the biology that I needed to master. You've got to cultivate selective ignorance because if you know how to do everything, then you become everybody's go to person and that can interfere with getting your own work done, and that turned out to be pretty good advice.
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If you have long term goals in a difficult to master area, one of the best things you can do is to immerse yourself in what you’re learning. For example, if you’re planning to become successful in the restaurant business, one of the best things you can do is to get experience in every aspect of restauranting that you possibly can, from busing tables, to serving, to managing accounts. Without this kind of experience, it can be a lot easier to make mistakes that allow your future business to fail. This may seem obvious, but sometimes the cockiness that helps fuel and, results from our success in one area can go to our heads. Even eminent scientists, for example, have been known to fail disastrously when they tried to jump into a new area without getting themselves properly prepared. My co-instructor, Terry Sejnowski, for example, took these ideas into account when he switched from the study of physics to the study of neuroscience.
I was advised to get neurons under my fingernails. I worked hard over years to master the biology I needed to truly understand the new discipline I was moving into. At the same time, I practiced selective ignorance. I knew that my expertise with computers, a rare asset in the late 1970s, could mean that I’d be dragged into computer related work that would keep me away from the biology I needed to master. So I vowed not to touch a computer during those years, giving me time to focus on the biology that I needed to master.
Selective ignorance, then, is another important career tip. You want to master all the details that you can that will support you in what you’re trying to learn or do. But at the same time, you don’t want to simply start being used by other people as a tool for their own work. Marketing specialist, Bryan Brookshire, has some additional insight along these lines.
I told a former boss that I wanted to learn how to do everything at the company and her reply was, don’t do that. You’ve got to cultivate selective ignorance because if you know how to do everything, then you become everybody’s go to person and that can interfere with getting your own work done, and that turned out to be pretty good advice. Cultivating selective ignorance has often prevented me from getting drafted into projects that I had no interest in participating in, or time for.
So there you have it, general competence, along with selective ignorance are two important keys for career success.
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