The Rise of Incompetence

A discussion over a cup of coffee with a friend he mentioned -“People rise till their level of incompetence”. And that’s when they start to look at areas of improvement. The idea therefore is to invest in increasing skill sets even when performing at your peak prowess.

We live in an extreme world. Everything around us is designed to be extreme in fact best is passé. Yet, if we do become extreme then logically it makes us extremists! And clearly we don’t want that. The world will want you to be normal. But then if you are, too normal, then you are mediocre. So where does one be?

Acquiring newer skill sets while executing current engagements is sometimes like finding water on Mars. You know its possible, but too darn hard. How then do you stay relevant?  HBR is talking about Mono-tasking and not Multitasking as an efficiency parameter. Too many mono-tasks spoil the result.

So then we are at the beginning of the cycle where we continue to do what we do till specialization leads us to rise and then fall. Bell curve? The rise of incompetence leads us to believe that anything is possible if only we try hard enough. Maybe that’s not true.

You can only do that much, and you need to do it well. Perhaps best. Instead of perpetually trying to do best. So then how do you stretch? How do you grow? Capitalism will suggest that if you are not growing, then you are dying!

So best bet, would be to set a timeline against a growth trajectory, and anticipate what is your PMPO so that you can pace your journey accordingly. Remember, you have to last the distance, cross the finish line and not run a sprint and fall off the track midway. Like Bach says “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”.

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