Monday, June 28, 2010

The Competence Trap

There are very few posts in the blogosphere that I find worth bookmarking and revisiting. One such is a post by Cal Newport with the subtitle: "The Subtle Difference Between Finding You Life's Work and Loving Your Life." I read it several weeks ago, and am finally getting to mention it here.

There is so much good stuff in it that I plan to come back to Newport's post by a couple of more times.

For today, I'll just focus on one aspect – that he calls "The Competence Trap."

As Cal defines it, competence trap is when once "you amass enough career capital to exert meaningful control over your life and career, the only investment presented as reasonable will be to further maximize your competence at the expense of the other areas of your life."

In other words, as you get better and better at your job, the whole marketplace is geared towards making sure that you don't leave to focus on other things. To me, competence trap is at the very crux of the internal struggle that many of us go through – those of us who love what we do for work, are good at it, and yet feel that something is missing. (I am simplifying in order to summarize here. Cal does a much better job of laying it out, and also warns us to be wary of the competence trap.)

In his entire post, Cal makes several very important points. To me, it seems that a careful reading of the post will really benefit anyone who takes the time.

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