About the Author: Joel Ohman is a serial entrepreneur and a Yakezie member/sponsor. You may know him from some of his posts over on Credit Card Chaser (check out the new one on the 20 most expensive credit card receipts ever for a good laugh) or you may know him as the owner of the recent Yakezie writing contest sponsor CarInsuranceCompanies.com. His most recent project is fun website for finding a workout plan, logging workouts, and competing against friends to rack up points for working out. Check out the 100’s of online workout programs if you’re in the mood to get fit.

I love the recent post by Financial Samurai titled “Feel Stupid Sometimes? Me Too And I Hate It!” because it reminds me of a lot of mistakes that I have made and now look back on with oh so fond memories. Consider this post a follow up to Financial Samurai’s in the vein of, “OK, if you hate feeling stupid and not being the absolute best at everything you attempt then – THAT’S OK! Just STOP trying to do everything and become really really good at something.

Let’s unpack that statement a little bit.

I can certainly sympathize with Sam’s personal illustration of becoming frustrated with not understanding computer programming lingo because even though almost everyone that knows me would most likely label me a true “Internet nerd” there are millions of people who could code circles around my piddling knowledge of the basics.  My friend and business partner John always has a good chuckle at my malformed attempts to hack something together. What would take me 3 hours, John can do in 30 seconds – so why bother?

I know I am never going to be a world class programmer. I’m perfectly fine with that. “Why?” you might ask. “Don’t you just get so frustrated that someone out there knows so much more than you about computer programming?” Well, not really. There are quite a few things that I know next to nothing about.

Things I Don’t Know

Time for me to leave my ego at the door. Here are some things that I would never ever want to be quizzed about on “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?“:

  1. Basic Science/Chemistry: It’s really kind of sad how little I remember.
  2. Basic Car Mechanics: OK, I may have to leave my “man card” at the door along with my ego because if your car breaks down on the side of the road then I can certainly gesture and pontificate with the best of them but honestly I have no clue what is going on… :)
  3. Social Skills: Once I mentioned in a group of people that if it wasn’t for my family then I would be content to not talk to anyone for a month straight and just read or do my own thing. I learned very quickly that most people think that that is very abnormal behavior. My wife has helped me to improve dramatically in this regard so now I can proudly say that while I will never be a social butterfly, at least I am no longer a wallflower – maybe I am now a social wallflower?

So, this list could likely go on and on about things I just flat out don’t know but I guess the point so far is to first admit to yourself that you don’t know everything.

Become Really Really Good at Something

Once you have first admitted that there are things that you don’t know, likely will never know, and likely will never be that great at then – stop, slow down, and take a deep breath. It’s OK. Pick one thing and become world class at it.

Take the advice of the illustrious Steve Martin in his autobiography when asked the key to his success, “Become so good they can’t ignore you.”

If you run a great site like many Yakezie Members do, then why the need to also become a world class computer programmer?  We’ve got the Yakezie Blogger Services!  Sure, it’s great to learn new things and especially new things that are related to whatever the world class pursuit is that you are pursuing but… if you become world class at something then you will usually be rewarded with enough compensation to be able to gauge the value of your time and pay people to do for you what ends up not being worth your time .

What do YOU Think?

Is it a waste of time to try and be a polymath? 

What are some things that you are not ashamed to admit that you don’t know/aren’t good at?

What is your “world class pursuit”? (and what, if anything, is distracting you from getting to where you want to be?)

Photo: The last California sunset for 2011, Sam.