I’m not a good cook. I don’t know how to ski. I’m bad at ironing, too, and I’ve never developed the patience to be any good at chess either. But you wouldn’t know any of these things if I hadn’t just told you about them. That’s something we tend to forget.
“Nobody cares what you’re not good at,” Derek Sivers says on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. “Publicly, you’re going to be just known for a few things that you’re good at. All those things that you’re not good at — nobody cares that you’re not good at them! So just let it go.”
With the caveats of our spouse, kids, and a few other people who see more of us more frequently than anyone else, nobody will ever know that we can’t parallel-park to save our life. By and large, your abominable mental math will stay a secret. So will your bad aim, your lack of graphic design skills, and your left-right disorientation — and even if anyone found out, they wouldn’t blink twice unless they’re directly affected.
There will only be a few times in your life when a bad trait threatens something important. During those times, you should absolutely raise all hell to fix what’s too expensive to leave unaddressed. On most days, however, the fear of being found out is unfounded. Most people are bad at most things, but since everyone focuses on everyone’s talents, that won’t stop the world from turning any time soon.