Consider two different states. In one you know you don’t know much and feel like a noob. In the other one you don’t know that you don’t know so you don’t feel like a noob (let’s call this baseline state). Which one would you prefer to be in?

Emotionally, it’s easier to be in baseline state because no one likes to be a noob. But you are better off in the first state, where you know you are a noob, even if it doesn’t feel nice. Because knowing what you don’t know already puts you ahead from not knowing you don’t know.

Now this state where you know more than the baseline state, we can take it a few steps further to experts. I think experts are people who are the most aware of what they don’t know (because they know more than others). Maybe they don’t feel like noobs as other people starting in their field would feel, but they know more than anyone how much they don’t actually know about something. They are the “ultimate noobs,” to put it in some way.

Things that made me think about this:

  • Being a Noob
  • “Always be willing to embrace ignorance and become the dumb fuck in the classroom again, because that is the only way to expand your body of knowledge and body of work. It’s the only way to expand your mind.” Source.
  • “You have to ruthlessly, ruthlessly disappoint everybody.” Drop everything and start again whenever you have to. Source. 1
  1. This is tangential to the idea that once you are eminent in something, you have more expectations put on you. The more aggressive then you have to be to start again and be a noob again. For people that are young and not eminent (like myself), this is probably one of the greatest freedoms we have. I think Sam Altman put it in a very interesting wording: “Being young, unknown, and poor are actually great gifts.” Source