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Overreaching, greatness, and meta-knowledge

Date: 2020-09-15

Consider people who are great (like exceptional) at something in particular. One of the things that makes them great is ~meta-knowledge, like knowledge about context regarding their actions.

I watched a bit of a recent Sea of Thieves WR speedrun - particularly the events during 7:25:00 -> 9:00:00 (it’s like a 21hr run). They lost like 1:20:00 from a choice to steal another crews loot b/c that crew chased them for a decent while. A third ship joined in a bit, too. Near the end of this chase (8:49:00) they spot another sloop (ship of 2 crew) and one guy jokes about taking this new ship’s loot. The two speedrunners have been talking about what to do at this point, and particularly risk/rewards tradeoffs for how to sell the loot. The two guys are good enough to - ordinarily - take on another sloop no problem. after all, they just fought off 2 other crews of sizes 4 and 3. their choice not to go after the sloop (and the humor of the joke) is based in this like ~*meta-knowledge~ type stuff.

it doesn’t matter how great you are at something, even the best ppl in the world know there are some challenges they won’t win (or it’s too much a risk), and the choose to back off. they’re not OP just because they’re the best in the world.

Generalising this means something like: the ~meta-knowledge is at least as important as the knowledge about how to do the skill well (which is more like technical knowledge). Or, at least it’s that important at high levels.

Basically, this is like “don’t overreach”, or rather, if you do overreach, don’t expect to still be great. the ability to pick challenges is part of the reason great people are great. sorta like flying close, but not too close, to the sun.

It also relates to knowing your limits, either when something is too big a task or when (and what) to learn before doing it.

This offers a bit more clarity for an ongoing conflict of mine - something to do with learning styles and methods. I intuitively think that ‘exploratory’ style learning (with a high(er) error rate) has benefits. and I mean it’s not as bad as doing nothing at all (I guess it could be sometimes), but it’s not as efficient as directed and non-overreaching learning.

I think part of the reason I have this conflict is in essence thinking too much of my own skills. That’s true even tho, I went through a few ~breakpoints early on in the Tutoring Max series. (Breakpoints might not be the right word, but I think there are like significant points of increased ~reach when we adopt new and better ideas about ourselves)

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