No, you're not smart

Reflections and drafts

Confidence is not lying to yourself.

It's a good idea to have confidence in your skills. But thinking you are better than someone else is a bad idea.

Your skills and knowledge don't "count". You can't say "I'm twice as smart" because knowledge is not beans. Yes, maybe you know something, maybe your skills are really good. But is it better? You can't compare the countless.

Why do I remind you of this?

Excellence is a straight path to stagnation. The more you believe you are a jack-of-all-trades, the slower you will be to admit you don't know how to do something, and the slower you will learn.

The best students are those who absorb knowledge about the world because they recognise that they don't know, they don't know, they don't know. The worst students are the ones who don't need lessons because, well, they're smart anyway. Supposedly.

Every day I remind myself that I am a fool. Not because I don't love myself or trust myself, but because I don't want to stop learning.

We are all somewhere along the way. Those who learn travel faster.

"The biggest mistake students make is that they stop. They find the truth and are proud of their achievement. But discovery comes only through suffering, only through pain - only when you feel worthless can you learn."

Hakuin Ekaku, 1686, Zen Buddhist

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