"To become an expert, one must take risks"

Being blog, on competence: "to become an expert, one must take risks."

That quote resonated with me today because it reinforces a lesson that I've learned about achievement. The lesson is particularly relevant because I'm decidedly introverted - an INTP for those you familiar with Myers-Briggs.

Tell most people that you're introverted and you'll be pitied. Look those same people in the eye and declaim that you like books - a lot - and they'll turn hostile. The truth is that I'll always prefer rounding a new idea into form in the wood shop, or hearing the reedy breath of a wooded glade, or gazing into the ink of a truly dark night sky, or any activity that offers a bit of solitude and the chance to be alone with my thoughts.

We introverts are energized by an interior life, not by the people we meet. Think more Sheldon Cooper, less Billy Mays.

But that interior blaze comes at the price of public awkwardness. Even though I've become more practiced of late, I still jump inside when face to face with new acquaintances. The irony is that even while I'm capable of intuiting an unlikely outcome synaptically, socially, because I'm more likely to avoid groups of three or more, information that I might gather from others about me is lost for want. I walk into figurative walls that others avoid with relative ease.

Using the work of philosopher Hubert Dreyfuss to make a point about isolated knowing - useful irony - Being blog writes that abstractions and formal rules produce "minimal skill," but "only experience can account for higher levels of performance." When I read that, I know that the steps I've taken to make changes in my life - to meet more people, to solicit feedback, to take risks - are indispensable. And while it's not been easy - in fact it's often been hard - the lesson that I've learned is that I simply have to take those chances if I want to excel, if only at long last to truly know myself.