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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.- Bertrand Russell

Hey <<First Name>>

You’ve read a ton of books, watch videos on YouTube, read blog posts and attended webinars and classes. 

After more reading, more studying, more newsletter sign-ups, you notice that instead of feeling empowered by your growing knowledge, you feel more overwhelmed. You feel like you are not yet ready to take on the project that you know will change your life. You think you need to learn more, study more, talk to more experts.

Then one day you look up and they’ve done it. Someone who has not taken all the classes, webinars, or read all the books you’ve read.They just got started and their work got attention.

You wonder why often the most well-versed people have the least confidence, while many novices, in your opinion, charge forth and cash in.

It is a psychological phenomenon called the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.”  When we start out, we have confidence in part because we do not understand the full scope of the field, the method, the project, or whatever we are trying start.

As you can see, the middle part is where our confidence takes a nose-dive. We know so much that we also have a sense of how much we do not know. This valley between knowledge and confidence stops many people in their tracks. 

How do you get out of the valley and reach not only expert knowledge, but expert confidence?


  • Give yourself homework. Practice everything you learn. Homework, projects and assessments are why we don’t experience as much knowledge overwhelm when we are in formal education settings. We are called on to demonstrate our knowledge, so we have a sense of how much we truly know.
  • Stop consuming information for a while. Take a pause from the blogs, the newsletters, the podcasts, the web courses and the like. One exception: If you are in an active learning environment, where you not only receive information but you test it out and assess your knowledge and skills regularly, stick to it. 
  • Share your work. Internet culture allows us all to be public works in progress, and this is a good thing. Sharing your learning journey is a great way to connect with others on the same path. After sharing consistently for months and years, you now have a comprehensive public body of work that not only demonstrates your current skill, but your growth as well.
  • Be foolish. This does not mean ignore what you have learned. Rather, challenge the notion that you need additional resources, connections, tools, or money. Ask yourself: 
    • How can I move forward without X, Y or Z? 
    • Could the “how” appear after I take action? (Spoiler: It always does). 

Keep in mind that you never know what a person’s journey looks like behind the scenes. Overnight success truly takes years. For example, after interviewing over 100 web series creators, Highwater Podcast Episode Three guest and OpenTV Founder Dr. Aymar Jean Christian found that the average web series creator had produced 2-4 web series

We are all on the slow and steady grind. You won’t find a book or webinar that can change that. 


Highwater Weekly Picks  
Note: Award details and deadlines are subject to change. Consult each application website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. 

  • POETS: The Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry offers $2,000 and publication. Deadline is May 15 (THIS SUNDAY!) Apply Here.
  • WRITERS: Ploughshares, a literary journal published at Emerson College, sponsors The Emerging Writer's Contest. The contest is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book. The winner in each genre will be awarded $1,000.  Deadline is noon EST on May 15 (Again, THIS SUNDAY). Apply here
  • May has been a DOOZY so far for new music. A new mixtape from Chance the Rapper (Coloring Book), plus KAYTRANADA's 1st full-length album, 99.9% and an EP from Kendrick Lamar collaborator Anna Wise (The Feminine: Part 1). Coloring Book is an Apple Music exclusive right now. Kay and Anna's joints can be found where ever music is streamed or purchased. 
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