One of the common trends we see in the training world is that people gravitate towards the things they’re already good at.
After all, why not? The past couple of years have been such a raging dumpster fire that it’s reasonable for folks to seek out a dopamine hit wherever they can find one these days.
There’s the ever-present mantra of “you’re never good enough” that drives most people to continue to hone their skills, but I think there’s a dramatic difference between someone who’s already good at something striving to improve their performance, and a complete rank novice on Day 1 that has no idea what they’re doing.
That is what I see as the hidden benefit of undertaking new, and sometimes unrelated, activities.
While there are neuroscientific benefits of diversified skill sets, you’re better off going to one of John Hearne’s lectures to hear about those.
What I’m talking about is far more basic. If you’re a high performer and/or surround yourself with high performing peers, when was the last time you experienced the soul crushing doubt that “I have no idea what I’m doing, and the mountain of ‘shit I don’t know’ is so massive that I wouldn’t even know where to start”?
Now most of us hobbyists and many instructors (the good ones at least) suffer from some degree of imposter syndrome, but that can be tempered by support from peers as well as referencing previous, related accomplishments to help temper that particular flavor of doubt.
But when was the last time you were “the new guy/gal”?
I think it’s important that we all are able to recall that sense of being on the cusp of overwhelmed. It helps us to temper our responses when engaging with folks that don’t necessarily speak our particular dialect or subscribe to our specific world view.
This is very much in line with the “Gun Guys Macro Isn’t Everyone’s Micro” that I wrote, because unbridled enthusiasm can quickly degrade into either an overwhelming info-dump, or snide gatekeeping, depending on how it’s delivered.
If the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, then when we find ourselves in positions to be the messenger, we not only need to ensure that the information is bite-sized, but that the portions are appropriate to the recipient. After all, bite-sized for your dad is very different than bite-sized for your 2 year old niece.
The other major benefit of being bad at stuff is that it will at worst get you to broaden your skillset beyond just mechanical shooting, into the other various facets of defense-craft (or whatever your chosen flavor of ballistic recreation is), and at best it will broaden your horizons to other pursuits beyond firearms and help you to remain a well rounded person.