December 20, 2020

Sandbagging is a simple technique to get good at hard things.

The term is some sort of sports jargon that loosely means: hiding the strength, skill or difficulty of something or someone early in an engagement.

The technique

The technique is fairly simple: before embarking on a project, task, or challenge and after finishing a project, task, or challenge down play it’s difficulty as much as possible.

This helps with hard things because they require: a life time of continuous improvement, and the will to constantly keep trying after failing.

Sandbagging makes accepting failure hard (if I can’t do this easy thing, that must mean I suck!), summoning perseverance and grit.

Sandbagging leaves lots of room for improvement (what I just did was easy and not much of an accomplishment, there is much more to achieve), ensuring one keeps striving to get better over long arcs of time.

Becoming dismissive

Though this technique is simple and works well, there is a big pitfall: becoming dismissive.

Don’t sandbag other’s work or achievements. Being dismissive about other’s work does not an endearing person make.

Don’t sandbag work or achievements outside of your experience. This leads to dismissing great work outside of your own field/expertise.

Don’t dismiss truly great work you’ve done. If you never allow yourself pride or satisfaction you will burn out.