How we depend on others

A punchier way to describe what economists dryly call “the division of labor”:

Each one of us is ludicrously ignorant of something; most of us of most things. The whole difference between a conceited man and a modest one is concerned only with how far he is conscious of those hundred professions in which he would be a failure, of those hundred examinations which he could not pass. I do not mind Roberts knowing he is the best billiard-player, and even rearing his head to the stars on that account. But I like him to remember (to say over to himself, as a sort of litany) that he may be the worst trombone-player in the world, that he may be, and probably is, a poor darner of socks, a third-rate naval architect, a bad mimic, a disappointing tight-rope dancer, an unsatisfactory Latin commentator, and quite a failure in the tilting-yard. It may be difficult to keep all these potential failures of oneself before one’s imagination at once. But it is worth trying, being full of gigantesque humility.

— G. K. Chesterton, 1910

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