Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Brilliant Idiot

Do you think you're smart? Are you really? Sometimes, when your brain is firing on all cylinders, you can start to feel pretty good about yourself. Other days...not so much. I've had a couple of opportunities to think about this over the course of the past week.

My younger daughter had kindergarten roundup this week. I could go on and on about how I can feel so young at heart one minute and then old the next, but that's not the point I wanted to focus on today. I'm referring to feeling good about how much you think you know only to find out how much more there is to learn. 

During kindergarten roundup, one of the teachers made a comment about how much education has sped up these days. I know a lot of it comes from the advancements in technology. It does have a possible downside - like a four year old who knows how to navigate the web and ends up being glued to some electronic device seemingly non-stop....if you were to let them. But there is also the upside of how fast they can (and do) learn things these days.

I know I was blown away when my older daughter was reading chapter books the summer following her kindergarten year. I was feeling pretty proud and having great thoughts about how my wife and I passed on our "smarts" to our kids. Then I remembered that my kindergarten experience involved learning numbers, letters, colors and eating crayons. At least as far as I can remember.

A lot of this comes down to our own perception and the particular circumstances. Take the fact that I work in the Information and Technology industry. My family and friends think I'm some sort of computer genius. It doesn't matter how many times I explain to them that my role is a customer service and account management type role, and NOT a technician, they still think I'm some computer expert. That's just not the case.

To my dad, the fact that I can remote into his computer and fix some minor issues leaves him thinking I'm a computer guru. But if you take into account the fact that he spent more of his life without computers than with them, you have to take his opinion with a grain of salt. 

If you read my last post about my move out of Sales and into the Service department at work, you'd know that I now have the opportunity to see just how little I really know about the finer inner-workings of technology. (In case you didn't, or won't, read the post - I'm still not a technician. I just get to work more closely with them and see what they do from day to day..... I didn't want to scare any of our clients who might stumble across this.) 

I am being reminded daily how much there is to learn. To be honest though, I'm not too hard on myself about it. For one, I don't claim to be a computer technician and I don't have to be to do my job effectively. (Although it will certainly help the more I do know and continue to learn.) More importantly though, technology changes just as fast as you can learn it, so I don't beat myself up about it. I just surround myself with people smarter than me. 

I am interested to see how much my knowledge changes with my new opportunity. I have a great go-to guru and conveyor of knowledge. (I won't name him specifically because I don't want to embarrass Dan....ooops.) Honestly though, it could go either way considering my pestering questions might wear the poor guy out and cause him to have a break down. Hopefully not though.

The moral of this story (yes, I still try and have one every once in a while) is to keep on learning. If you start feeling like you're pretty smart, it probably means you're oblivious to all the things you don't know. And while you're at it, make sure you have great teachers. Until next time....