Whenever I get an idea or start a new project I always feel the same way, and I’ve never felt like I’ve been able to properly explain it. It feels something like excitement mixed with an optimism I know I probably shouldn’t have, but I do regardless. I’ve tried to describe this as “taking advantage of my naïveté” before but that doesn’t quite catch the idea.
Last week while I was on Twitter I think I may have finally found the perfect description: Mount Stupid.
It seemed fitting to write about Mount Stupid™️ on the eve of all of my GoDaddy renewals. It stings a little every year.
The Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, is a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.
The wonderful thing about new projects is they all fit into this category, at least usually, and at least for me. Maybe there are some 10X software ice climbers out there who catapult over mount stupid and launch up the Slope of Enlightenment straight to product market fit, but that’s just not me. I’m a Mount Stupid kind of guy.
But the thing is, without Mount Stupid I don’t think I would have the momentum to get through the Valley of Despair. There’s something about Mount Stupid that gets you up out of bed in the morning, or keeps you up late at night that the Plateau of Sustainability doesn’t give you.
Now I typically know I’m climbing Mount Stupid instead of realizing I was at its peak a week ago, and now I am deep in the Valley of Despair. However, that doesn’t keep me from climbing it anyway. Something inside me knows a new endeavor won’t be as simple as I might think it to be in the beginning, but the unkown-unkown is part of what gets me excited — that is learning after all.
Whenever I get to the Plateau of Sustainability I typically start looking for my next Mount Stupid, whether consciously or unconsciously. I like that about myself. I think one of the greatest things we can do in life is take the opportunity to be bad at something. Maybe we will learn and get better at something, or maybe we won’t get better and we will just enjoy the thing for the sake of the thing instead of trying to squeeze productivity out of every last endeavor.
Either way, here’s to climbing more Mount Stupids.