|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
Coming Down From The Pedestalby Limbic~Region (Chancellor)
|on Oct 14, 2005 at 14:58 UTC||Need Help??|
I grew up in a small town in Maine without a single street light and a graduating class of around 40. I was a big fish in a small pond with regards to academia. Upon graduation and entrance into the world, things didn't change a great deal. I never matriculated into college and in every government job I have had, I have always been near the top. This all changed when I discovered Open Source, specifically the Perl community.
I discovered a world in which there were many people much smarter than me. This was both exciting and scary. I was able to learn new things at an unprecedented rate but I also needed to come to terms with the fact I wasn't as elite as I thought I was. There were a number of people whose knowledge I came to recognize and respect. The sting of being corrected publicly never quite went away but it did wane. At some point however, I found myself intermittently back up on a pedestal.
No one likes to be wrong and this is greatly accentuated in the coding community. This can really get in the way of learning and helping. I almost missed an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson from Perl Mouse because I was sure that I was right. I didn't test my assumption to discover my error until japhy, a monk that I highly respect, disagreed with me. This leaves me wondering how many other opportunities I have missed to learn in similar situations.
I am also occasionally guilty of throwing my hands up when I become frustrated with someone asking for help when they just don't get it. I unrealistically expect others to learn as quickly and as easily as I do. I wonder how many people have suffered because I have been impatient, curt, or generally unwilling to help.
This is something I will likely always struggle with. The truth is that the majority of the time I am open minded enough to listen and learn as well as patient enough to help. Recognizing undesired behavior in ourselves isn't always easy, so this meditation serves as a friendly reminder to others that share this flaw.
One last parting thought. Do not let your pride get in the way of letting others learn. Don't try and conceal your mistakes and don't be afraid of learning in public. It can result in a good discussion benefiting everyone.
Cheers - L~R