Norton’s life and work is a testament to the importance of being a practitioner of your craft. What does this mean? In their discussion, Layne and Nick address the difference between dogmatic and pragmatic belief systems.
Pragmaticism is rooted in a single-track mindset. Only one way can be correct; your perspectives are limited. Counter to this approach is a dogmatic belief system, an approach that understands the multitude of possibilities and differing routes to success.
Layne believes fully in a dogmatic approach to his craft, understanding the importance of data-backed evidence, and his ability to experiment with new information in practice. As he states, stop reading books and start reading studies! He mentions the Dunning-Kruger effect of knowledge acquisition. A theory that contrasts a person’s actual knowledge-level, compared to their personal perception of expertise on a given topic.
This effect shines a light on the challenge of identifying actual experts from the more misinformed authority figures that have a voice in today’s world.
On this idea, Layne shares his criteria for identifying a true expert in any field:
- Educational Background – they have a formal base of knowledge in the craft
- Personal Experience – they apply the craft to their own lives
- Teaching Experience – they can effectively teach others to better understand the craft
In the context of your area of focus, consider the level of knowledge and skill that you currently possess, and how those abilities can develop over the course of decades. Prioritize knowledge-acquisition, and the capacity through which you can progress from generalist to specialist, an important evolution, discussed with more detail in the episode.
Everything is a tool, so long as we allow it to be. Allow your craft to be developed through an acceptance of what you don’t know, and an actionable plan towards growth.