Embarrassing Stupidity Is Good

By Leo Gura - October 9, 2017

If you aren’t experiencing at least a handful of moments per year where you look back on something you said or did and think to yourself, “OMG! That was so embarrassing, so cringe-worthy”, you aren’t really growing.

When you’re really growing, this will happen even with things you said or did just 1 month ago. You will look back on it and recoil in discomfort at your own stupidity, arrogance, cruelty, or lack of perspective.

Rapid growth means rapid obsolescence, with shorter and shorter intervals between old and new models. Look at a picture of an iPhone from 10 years ago. Or a laptop from 20 years ago. “Ewwwww….” is right! Because the rate of growth in these technologies has been astronomic.

As each month passes, I can hardly look at my own videos any more. They are so embarrassingly ignorant and crude compared to what I know today. And today will just become the next yesterday.

If you’re starting to see this manifest in your own life, don’t get discouraged by it. Although it feels icky and embarrassing, the good news is, it’s a clear sign of growth. Our aim in this work isn’t achieving a state of perfection, but constantly growing a bit each week. It’s really not your fault. The reality is, we’re all just way too ignorant to be perfect. Many cringey mistakes will be made. The more cringe you get out of your system, the less there will be to bog you down.

Judge yourself by the delta between your past and current work, not by your past work itself. Although I feel bad about the videos I released 2-3 years ago, I feel good about having grown so much.

What should really alarm you is if you look back on your work from 1 year ago and think, “Wow! Such great stuff!”

Of course, don’t take this as license to be stupid on purpose.

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