Knowledge

I get told once a week at least, by strangers, friends, family members, etc., that I should have been a teacher.

The thing is, I could never do that. Not as my job.

For one, I don’t really like kids. But that’s a whole other thing.

For two, I’m only good at teaching people that want to learn, or have more than a passing interest in what I’m talking about. I remember being a teenage kid in a class that I felt was beneath my consideration or attention. But hey, newsflash: teenagers are assholes (See “For one,” above.)

But whatever, people have been saying this to me at least since I started at Maritz in 2004, 10 years ago.

I never realized or felt like I was “teaching” anyone anything. Most of the time, I was just explaining. Something that I knew and they didn’t, and they needed to know: how do I format this chart? Is there a way to make all of the cells in this column have the same formula? How did you do that without using your mouse? etc.

I never saw it the way they did. Something I’ve always thought about myself, is that I’m fairly normal. In the range of normalcy, when you plot all 7 billion humans living on planet earth into a continuum, I’m most definitely somewhere near the middle. Sure, maybe above average, but far closer to normal than the folks all the way at one end or the other.

So, I would reason, if I’m fairly normal, and *I* figured all this stuff out on my own, why can’t everyone else? Why can’t they spend 2 minutes clicking around on stuff until it makes sense? Why can’t they just google it, the way I do when I get stumped?

Surely if I can teach myself how to view source on a webpage and then learn from that source code and then write my own… can’t any other normal person?

I used to be good at drawing stuff. When I was in school, the other kids would sometimes say, “wow, you’re really good at that.” Even as a kid, I was bad at taking compliments. “I guess,” I would say.

The thing is, I wasn’t being modest. If anything, I was inadvertently being insulting to the other kids. My reply of “I guess,” somehow always sounded like, “Sure, maybe, but why can’t YOU do it?”

(Not that I’m particularly bad at drawing stuff now, I just haven’t practiced in a really, really long time.)

But back to knowledge: I think the realization at which I arrived while at Maritz is that knowing how to do something isn’t the important part. Knowing that it’s POSSIBLE is the most important part, and the HOW will come naturally. The rest will figure itself out.

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