Skills > Info

I am skeptical of the belief that informational knowledge exists at all. At the very least, I think it is highly overrated.

Does one even posses knowledge devoid of the ability to speak about it?

Just because you read a book and your eyes glossed over the page does not mean that you gained knowledge in this process.

If you cannot produce that knowledge in your own words through speech or writing or another form of communication, did you learn anything?

Just because you watched Kevin Durant shoot a pull up jumper does not mean that you can shoot a pull up jumper.

Is the process any different for intellectual activity?

Just because I listened to Sam Harriss outline his argument in this recent podcast does not mean that I understand his argument or could produce his argument on my own. In all likelihood I will not be able to produce a similar argument until I have practiced it through study and repetition.

The best way to practice such a skill is to actually DO it.

Sure you need baseline information to get started.

If your goal is to get a good pull up jumper, it can be helpful to watch a professional do it first. Then you can internalize some things and go do it yourself.

Perhaps you even get a coach who can give you constructive feedback in real time.

If your goal is to get good at formulating an argument, it can be helpful to read up on your topic beforehand to gather material. It might also be helpful to watch, read, or listen to someone else formulate an argument.

However, the best way to get good at it is to practice formulating an argument in real time with real people.

The best way to get better at basketball is to play against real live defense and not just cones. Ideally the defense will be better than you are and will push you to the edge of your capabilities.

By analogy, the best way to get better at formulating an argument is to have real conversations with other people who are better than you at logical argumentation. In this scenario, the conversation partner is your foil, your sparring partner, your defense.

The best practice looks just like a game. That is how you get skills to transfer appropriately.

This is why doing dribbling drill around a set of cones, while it might help you to get better at the drill, will probably not help you to get better at dribbling in an actual game. It will take adding defense for you to actually get better at the game.

Similarly, filling out irrelevant worksheets and raising your hand to speak in class probably wont teach you how to be a smart, confident, articulate person outside of the classroom.

Reading or watching other people doesn’t mean shit.

When the goal is improvement, it is not impressive to read 50 books a year if you don’t do anything with them. Just as it isn’t impressive to watch 50 basketball games a year if you never get better at basketball. We improve through deliberate practice. AKA doing the hard, smart work.

Information is a necessary first step, but at least 90% of progress is the result of action.

It is more impressive to write 1 book than to read 100.

It is more impressive to score 20pts in one game than to watch all of Lebron’s 20+ point games from last season.

True learning happens through SKILL DEVELOPMENT not by filling one’s head with INFORMATION.

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