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Neil Atkinson

If You Want to Learn, Get UnDaunted


The deep end: not actually that deep.

I joined New Bamboo a little while ago as a junior developer having graduated from Makers Academy, and as Gwyn mentioned several weeks ago, I’m blogging about my experiences here.

I’ve learned that there are 2 ways of thinking about gaps in your knowledge:

  1. Man, I really should know that.
  2. It’s OK, I’ll find out soon.

Lots of things I was assigning to category (1) really belonged in (2).

Don’t know + should know = won’t learn

It’s actually pretty important to make this mental switch.

If you take the attitude that you should know much more than you do, you’ll end up feeling inadequate. You won’t want to ask questions, and you’ll actually end up stopping yourself from finding out what you think you should know!

Getting undaunted

I had a pretty revealing moment in a client meeting when a far more experienced developer than me was asked a direct question, and immediately responded “I don’t know.”

Well, if someone that experienced doesn’t know, it’s probably OK for me too!

Once you acknowledge what you don’t know, and you accept that it’s OK not to know, you take the issue out of the nebulous realm of shame and uncertainty and turn it into a problem you can attack. And you’ll learn a lot by doing that!

There’s no trick

You just need a little honesty with yourself. Just refuse to be scared by how much there is to learn.