Over Imagining Our Capabilities

For some time I had been followed a fellow who is doing a rather extensive gunsmithing theory course (online, dvds, books and exams).

It has been interesting watching as he pumped himself up how when he is done with the program, he will be a “gunsmith.”

Not very certain he has much, if any, experience in the hands-on skill levels specific to gunsmithing, though to his credit he is tool savvy though it may be in an academic sort of way.

He doesn’t seem to realize that gunsmithing is all about the hands on performing the tasks of the trade to trade level proficiency, and doesn’t dwell on book learning except as the basis for practical skill development.

I also know someone who sat their Technician, General and Extra exams in a single session, but literally doesn’t seem to know how to get on the air or actually know very much about electronics.

During the pandemic I had this idea that since my usual music groups went on hiatus, and playing saxophone by yourself is somewhat a bore, that I would try some other musical pursuits. So my old dulcimer came out and another one was added with books, I bought a Roland Aerophone and got that all set up, and I bought a couple Hurdy-Gurdies. I also pulled out of storage my krumhorns and a suitable microphone.

Well I got the basics down on the Hurdy-Gurdy, put the dulcimers away for now, also the crumhorns got put away, and other than making some Sci-Fi grade scary noises with the Aerophone, nothing has happened there either.

All these are cases of over-imagining our capabilities, including myself dreaming that my trained skill set could be easily extended.

Professionally one runs into this daydreaming oneself into a sort of superman issue as well.

And you also run into those folks who are truly wise, and know their limits.  These are the folks who tell you that they won’t take that long shot hunting because in their practicing they learned they were not a great shot that far out.  Or the ones who at track day only drive up to their personal limit rather than the top speed of the car.  Or the ones pull off to rest travelling after their personal limit of hours, rather than pushing on that last two hours growing ever more tired and presumably less safe.

This is all food for thought, as the humility to know one’s personal limits can seem to stand in the way of learning, and the “I think I can” attitude we learned as small child.

Perhaps the real goal is finding balance between striving and knowing?



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