Friday, March 24, 2017

Amazing competence

I love being around people who radiate competence. It's part of the reason I love watching blacksmiths work-- everything they do looks like massive levels of competence to me. People making something with their hands, while using good tools, are a pleasure to watch. And useful things are as beautiful to me as any work of art.

But blacksmiths, though among my favorites, aren't the only ones. I love watching skilled leatherworkers, and cabinetmakers, and glassblowers, and just anyone who makes something. I love watching an optician measuring for glasses, and then fitting them to the person. And cake decorators, jewelry makers, primitive survival practitioners, and... There are just so many examples; the longer I think, the more I can come up with.

Beyond the physical, people who can think clearly and explain their thinking, and even make me see it through their eyes, have the same effect on me. I am awed.

I am impressed by competence. I really enjoy exposure to people who are truly competent in something good and useful. I know I am in the presence of greatness, no matter what they may think of themselves.

"Basic" human competence. (Which may be less "basic" and more rare than it ought to be.)

You people amaze me when you are really good at something- and I love it. Keep it up.

I hope I am competent in something, or that I eventually get there. I'll keep working at it, and I hope I never stop, no matter what.


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  1. I am a concrete finisher by trade and a self taught cabinet/furniture maker. I love to watch and learn from those who possess skills much greater than mine. Skill and passion makes a person stand just that much taller in life.


  2. I enjoy watching competent people even when the labor they’re performing isn’t particularly “skilled.”
    Go eat at a Waffle House on a busy morning and watch the employees work- which isn’t hard since the place is so tiny. Watch them work in their crowded kitchen, moving around in close quarters with their colleagues as if choreographed. All actions are directed with maximum efficiency (cooking and waiting tables) with no wasted motion. And most do it with an obvious personal drive (not afraid of hard work) and a smile on their face.

    If you get the right location, it can be very inspiring to watch.

    1. I have watched that sort of thing a few times. Like a well-oiled machine when all the parts are in sync. Seems like skill to me!