Level and Gap

Level and Gap is important for growth.

When we talk about growth, we’re talking about a perpetual incremental changes that will either stop (or slow down) when it reach it’s ceiling or it’s objective (whichever come first).

The problem with the premise above are simply an ethic (approach) problem.

If you look too forward and hyperfixating the ceiling or the objective, it gave us an illusion that such growth will happen in linear fashion.

Nassim Taleb describe this problem as Top-down Approach, a top-down approach are just too fragile, it was design and focused to be oversimplify due to reductionism and lack of knowledge.

I also think that a top-down approach has too much of noises, where we’re actually focusing too much at a prescription of a problem/results. Essentially, it need more than just observations.

While we also have a Bottom-up Approach, where we just grow and scale from point A (current/local) to point B (next), and eventually reach a ceiling/objective. Bottom-up Approach also can be deceiving, but this time the one that deluded it is ourselves.

Bottom-Up Approach focus more on intrinsic growth/values. Where decision-making and “strategy” are focused more towards empirical evidence and practical experience. This type of approach rely heavily on one’s capacity to be present and persistency

We often time don't see that it is required to grow through bottom-up approach due to the lack of visibility (clarity) of those changes, and also due to the pain/stress it incurred to be present during the changes.

Why Level and Gap is Important for Growth?

This is why level and gap is important for growth. It was meant to give a clear indicator of our current state to our ideal state.

Meaning, it’s important to always think about the level and gap of our goal, it will help us approach it “bottom-up” rather than subconsciously doing it “top-down”.

An anecdote of this, is when I tried to aim for a body building benchmark. I didn’t like cutting that much but I really like that bulking look. My benchmark for body building is simply that powerlifter dude with a long ass beard and that 4x4 trucks. I mean airplane can also, like why not

So I tried to study the numbers behind it, like how much do I have to weigh, how much do I have to lift, what would be the benchmark, and how much do I have to eat in calories to achieve such physique.

It is mind boggling, how big the Levels and Gap are:

  • I’m currently struggling to even deadlift 140kg, while for these guys, they actually bench pressing 150kg.
  • According to the weightlifting standard, bench press usually the lightest one of the three major lifts.
  • The ratio of {Bench Press : Deadlift} would be around {1 : 2}

So that mean, if I want to achieve that size and that muscle power, I have to achieve Deadlifting 300kg.

That’s crazy.

Or is it? Aniq actually lift 300kg while weighing 55kg. I think I could achieve 300kg while weighing 100kg at least.

But it also almost the same with thinking power aswell.

  • To achieve a level of analytical and impact, there are levels and gap aswell. But it is more deceiving than ever, due the measurement for this level and gap are just really hard to gauge.
  • I think also why we all sometimes overestimate our intelligence, and underestimate “learning”.

But I never saw it that way, I never thought that there is levels and gap for thinking.

So now, when I think of level and gap for thinking, my current state now vs. my ideal state (I was looking at great people like Paul Graham, Nassim Taleb, Benjamin Franklin), I tried to quantify it like how bodybuilding could.

  1. How much do they read?
  2. How much do they write?
  3. What do they do?
  4. How much do they do?
  5. How much value do they endeavor?

Thinking about the level and gap of them just like that, has kept me inspired and motivated to do more of those.

What Can We Do?

Thinking with level and gap help you understand the amount of work it needed to be at the level you want and also it help you to approach it "bottom-up" rather than "top-down".

It is an awareness aswell to kept believing that we can always grow.

Just like bodybuilding, learning and thinking can aswell, grow. We should always strive to read more, to learn more, to find better ways to understand ourselves, and to improve our competency. It’s a hard knock to the head to basically says that life is within our control, and we should have as much agency to act upon it.

So yeah, kept on treading man, kept thinking of the level and gap.

This concept actually help me to realize how stupid and underwork myself is. There’s so much work to be done, and it just a beginning. All these work for the past 4 years are just prologue.