By |2019-06-11T10:56:15+00:00March 13th, 2019|

Is it possible to be too good at something?

As I get older I become increasingly experienced. That’s a given. And sometimes, should I apply myself, I become increasingly expert too.

It’s the same for you.

Well; I have a theory that we can become so good at something that we’re not very good at it any more.

This might be because we get bored of it so don’t get into the detail as much. Perhaps we over think or over analyse, stemming from all that accrued cleverness. So we don’t move with the speed, precision and care we once did.

Knowledge can bog you down.


At the moment I am missing some really basic things in the Always Wear Red business and probably in my life as well. This is causing problems with momentum and simplicity.

I think it’s because my life is full of years. 50 of them. And these 5o years are each filled with 360-odd days of learning.

In one particular area of my business I have to unlearn things quick. So I am watching and learning from people 20 years younger than me with nowhere near the experience. In many areas, they are achieving much more than I am.

Maybe they’re just better than me. Or maybe I have become so good at knowing about it that I am not that good at doing it .

Maybe I have to explore the idea that, just because I’ve done something for years, it doesn’t mean I’ve got better at it.

Take taxi drivers. They’re on the roads longer than any of us. And when it comes to actually driving – they’re shit.

Time for some serious unlearning, I think.


About the Author:

Michael Owen
A.STORIES allows us to share what we've learned from advising some of the world's best brands. And from leading our own brands, too. With you. We've been where you're going. So wherever you're headed - with ANGELFYSH at your side you're navigating familiar territory. Please call +44(0)7960 117077 to see how we can help. ANGELFYSH. CONSULTANTS THAT DO.


  1. DD 13 March 2019 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Totally agree that we can become complacent and suffer from inertia, but do we have finite capacity for learning new stuff? Just because we adapt and innovate doesn’t mean we have to “unlearn” what we knew before, – we never know when we might just need it again.

    • Michael Owen 20 March 2019 at 4:28 pm - Reply


      Let’s see what you think of this…

      I want to be better tomorrow than I am today.

      That’s the way it is for me.

      That’s a given.

      And in response to what you’re saying, I definitely don’t think one has to unlearn to make room for new learning.

      That’s not what I am suggesting at all.

      I believe we always have room to learn, no matter how much we know.

      My story about unlearning is really meant to home in on the idea that, if we think we know too much about anything, we can get lazy.

      I like to quiz.

      To question.

      To unpick.

      To unlearn and learn again in a different way.

      To keep things fresh.

      And exciting!

      So yes… I really do think that we have infinite capacity to learn new stuff.

      After all, we’re only here for about 1,000 months.

      Then we die.

      So let’s go for it!


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