Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life as the sum of all embarrassments

All of life, I guess, is a giant exercise in gradually humbling yourself further. I find it amazing, and this is truly different from saying that I find it annoying, that there are any people at all who get more sure of what they know as they grow older.

Personally, I think, that the more I learn and get to know about things, the more it becomes embarrassingly clear to me that there is so, so much I do not know. One of the reasons I like working in finance is that it has so much to never come to know. (Yes, that sounds convoluted but that it what I wanted to say; it's not in error.)

At the start of this year, I made big, elaborate plans for what I will learn in 2015. 2 things have changed since then. One, I realize that to execute only them will take not one year but probably three, and two, that there are going to be many diversions on the way where I'd go about learning things I hadn't initially planned to, so in effect it will take more than three, maybe five or six. But the thing that I am not yet accounting for is that some of those diversions will become full-fledged highways in and of themselves, and that they will have their own diversions. And so on ad-infinitum. And with this, I'm pretty confident that the whole thing will take not five years but fifty, or however many I have left.

Which makes me wonder - is it worth planning for a period as long as an year, when so much changes during it? I would argue that there is value in planning, even when the failure of the plan is a foregone conclusion. It reminds us of the highway, when we're on our joyrides along diversions. It enhances our realization that the diversions are lovely, but also forces us to examine how lovely they are compared to what's at the end of the highway. And sometimes, to pave new paths  by which the diversion would eventually join the highway again.

That, I guess, makes us more creative..