This Charlie Munger quote is gold. It’s a reminder that to become truly skillful we need to not only practice, but understand what to practice and why.
Whether we’re naturally good or not gifted in the slightest, skill only comes after we’ve got a workable understanding of what it takes to improve.
Getting in the habit of building mental models, as Munger would put it, is how we figure out what to practice to increase the scale of all of our skills.
Here’s how he said it:
The basic neural network of the brain is there through broad genetic and cultural evolution. And it’s not Fermat/Pascal. It uses a very crude shortcut type of approximation. It’s got elements of Fermat/Pascal in it. However, it’s not good. So you have to learn in a very usable way this very elementary math and use it routinely in life just the way if you want to become a golfer, you can’t use the natural swing that broad evolution gave you. You have to learn to have a certain grip and swing in a different way to realize your full potential as a golfer.
Look at what’s going on. Make a mental model for how it works. Turn it into a practical, practicable, implementable skill. Then get to work to realizing your potential.
Again – gold. It’s not rocket surgery, it’s smart, hard, honest work.