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Yay! More stupidity!

2009/03/11

But this time of a different sort – less the lazy, it’s too hard kind and more a recognition of what science and learning is all about. You can read the comment about the post here at Neurotopia v2.0 and the original here. I think I actually prefer the comment more, but that might be because some of the discussions are not as mean-spirited as they could be. 

It boils down to this, if you won’t admit that you don’t know something, you won’t learn more about it. There’s nothing negative about owning up to your ignorance about a subject. But, and this is the key part, you follow that up immediately by saying “I want to learn more about it”. When we’re talking about some new coding task that may be in a language you’re unfamiliar with or something similar, I have more respect for the person who says “I’m not that familiar with X, but I’m willing to learn”. And you give them the chance to learn. If they can’t hack it, well, you hope that their honesty will extend to letting you know that early on rather than winding up in the situation where the person claimed to be able to do it, spent a lot of time not doing it and not telling you, and then getting nothing or almost nothing at the deadline. Surprise!

And grad students, this applies to you, too. You are there to learn, so go learn how to learn. That will serve you better than any test score. 

You won’t get better without pushing yourself (excellent article about deliberate practice over at Fortune). And at some point, that complacency will get put you at the top of the heap. Of people to get laid of first. Not the best place to be.

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