Circle of Competence and personal growth

Most of the time we look outside to improve ourselves and forget to analyze what we already know. Due to this pattern of ignoring our intellect can minimize the chances to experience a breakthrough. We often lose our agility in hunger to discover everything that is too much for our intellect and abilities. 

There is no harm in learning. It is the most important requirement for the human brain to function better. However, doing it the other way would increase the chances of failure in our life.

Warren Buffet once said, ‘Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.’

In this article, we will discuss the right way to improve our skills and knowledge with the help of the ‘Circle of Competence’.  

What is a ‘Circle of Competence’ and How it can help us to improve? 


circle of competence is the subject area that matches a person’s skills or expertise. The mental model was developed by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. This concept mainly focuses on what we know and what we are good at and to gradually expand our skills, knowledge, and abilities. 

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger said ‘concentrate in areas where one has the greatest familiarity and to emphasize the importance of aligning a subjective assessment of one own’s competence with actual competence.‘  

We need to know that instead of exploring things that are beyond our abilities, we should first explore what we already know because this can help us to be more conscious about our area of expertise.

 “I’m no genius. I’m smart in spots—but I stay around those spots.”

Founder of IBM, Tom Watson Sr.


Draw a circle and jot down everything you are good at in the circle and try to stick around those areas of your expertise. Then write something out of the circle that you desire or something you currently do not have. For example, if you know you are good at writing and speaking, write these two skills in the circle and try to work better on it. This will slowly improve your skills and gradually you can observe yourself doing better in these areas. The size of the circle is not important, knowing its boundaries, however, is indispensable. Our circle of competence can be widened, but only slowly and over time. Whatever you have written outside of the circle can come inside of the circle if you work on those skills with consistency and with proper awareness of your individuality.

You can use this formula in any aspect of your life to perform better.  

“Everybody’s got a different circle of competence. The important thing is not how big the circle is. The important thing is staying inside the circle.” – Warren Buffet



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