How to know that you know enough

Simple heuristics for the explore-exploit dilemma and the impostor syndrome

2 min readJul 2, 2022


Step 1: Study

Step 2: Practice and try

Just do it, safely. Avoid critical failure and ruin, e.g. bankruptcy risk. That is why surgeons and pilots practice with corpses and simulations.

Two things to note:

  1. If you are not failing, you are not learning.
  2. Avoid failure that is avoidable with step 1.

“I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent — no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” — Seneca

If you succeed without failing, you may never know if it was luck, and when you will run out of it. Fail safely while practicing to not fail dangerously while trying.

Step 3: Go back to the previous steps


You will never know everything, but you can know enough for your purposes. See also: Red Queen effect.

Cross-posted from the Sigmoid newsletter




I write to have links to point at when discussing something (DRY). Topics around computers, AI, and cybernetics, i.e. anything.