So over the past couple of months, I’ve spent a fair amount of time learning things. New-to-me languages, re-visting my attacker stomping ground or “roots” (methodologies and toolsets), as well as new defenses mechanisms being considered for web standards. Outside of technology, I’ve tackled new physical challenges both in the gym, diet, and learning a new form of martial arts. …and no, I’m not going to talk a lot about that because I can’t stand the “crossfit” or “paleo diet” effect - you know - that time someone did it and then it became their whole identity? Newp newp newp.
But, I really think it is important to stay a “forever student” for several reasons:
Pretty humbling to get thrown around by someone half your size or, see that someone with far less experience has developed a smarter/better/newer way of doing something than you. Guess what? Those things are going to happen. Accept it, embrace it, and learn from them. One thing that I emphasize very heavily, to myself, is that I am an empty vessel waiting to soak in knowledge. There is no ego to offend, forget your opinions on the best way to do something, all you have to do is absorb, ask questions, and apply.
Anyone who has been doing something professionally for a decade or more, can easily find it difficult to remember back to what it was like to be a beginner. Which, makes it difficult to train a new wave of beginners. But, because of experience, its often these same people who are asked to train the begginners. So, I may not remember much about what it was like when I first cracked open “The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook” but I know some important fundamentals like:
I could probably build a huge list of things here but the point is, being a student helps you be a better teacher.
Doesn’t matter what new thing you’re learning, if you’re going into that uncomfortable place, in repetitive cadence, you can become an expert at becoming an expert. Learn techniques like what to pay attention to, what to practice outside of the lesson, and what your weak spots are (so that you can focus on improving them).
I’m not an extrovert and, frankly, have a hard time with small talk. Plus, I like routine and enjoy my comfort zone like most people. However, forcing myself to do these things gets me side-by-side with people from all walks of life who share a common interest. I’ve traveled, met amazing people, and learned more about the world/people in general.
I could probably go on and on but won’t and instead keep it simple. For the reasons above as well as many not listed, I’ll remain a “forever student”. Stay hungry, stay humble.