This article is part of a multi-part series on human misjudgment by Phil Ordway, managing principal of Anabatic Investment Partners.

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Common mental illnesses and declines, including the tendency to lose ability through disuse


Also known as “Use-It-or-Lose-It Tendency,” and related to man with a hammer tendency.

  • Use the functional equivalent of the flight simulator
  • “Throughout his life, a wise man engages in the practice of all his useful, rarely used skills, many of them outside his discipline, as a sort of duty to his better self.”
  • A reduction in the number of skills encourages a drift toward man with a hammer syndrome, along with a reduction in learning capacity.
  • “It is also essential for a thinking man to assemble his skills into a checklist.”
  • High-level skills can be maintained only with daily practice. The pianist Paderewski said that he could notice performance deterioration if he failed to practice for a single day, and that after a week the audience would notice too.