“The truth is that we constantly acquire and discard sets of tools. So we should not be fixated on one specific set of tools for all of life. Society, technology and the times change so fast that any fact, process or algorithm we learn at school is by definition not going to be useful for any length of time. The real skills that serve us are the ability to adapt, learn, apply the products of that learning, and participate in the discussions and challenges of the day. That doesn’t mean that facts are useless, nor that specific tools don’t matter. Unless you can demonstrate an ability to absorb and apply both, fast, you haven’t actually gained the knack of becoming effective in a given environment.”
- Mark Shuttleworth, It’s the ability to learn tools, not the tools themselves
In the Matrix, there is a scene where Neo asks Trinity, “Can you fly that thing?”, referring to the military helicopter on the rooftop behind them.
She responds by saying, “Not yet”, then speed dials her cell phone to instruct Tank (the human operator outside the Matrix) to upload a training program into her brain.
Her eyes flutter for a few seconds. Then she says: “Let’s go.”
If only the ability to learn new skillsets — pick up new tools — was that simple.
As it stands, a knack for ‘metalearning’ — the ability to acquire new skillsets rapidly, and achieve functional tool capability far faster than average — is highly valuable.
The trader who can acquire and discard tool sets, without getting overly attached, is far more likely to survive (and potentially thrive) in changing market landscapes.
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