The practice of dividing human beings into

"Technical" skills

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2024-07-05 05:00:05

The practice of dividing human beings into "technical" or "not technical" has annoyed me for more than ten years, but I've struggled to articulate why. It took a movie about rock climbing, a historic run by the Golden State Warriors, a broken sewing machine, and a serendipitous Slack comment, but I finally put my finger on it. And it's probably not what you think.

I'm going to define "technical" skills and then make the case that they're everywhere and severely underrated. Handwaving over them allows us to dismiss the work of wide swaths of the population. And noticing them will light up your life and unlock new worlds.

The specific moment that forever changed how I saw this came right at the end of the movie Free Solo. It's about the first person to climb up El Capitan without any kind of rope or safety device. As the credits rolled, my friend Sam said something offhand like "it was so cool to see the technical details."

I must have looked blank, because they elaborated: "you usually never get to see behind the scenes and exactly what it takes to prepare to do something that hard—the mental prep, what he eats, even how he positions each finger."

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