Learning Or School
When Do You Know Something
Yesterday was the first day for me to go back to school following the Summer break. I am now starting my junior year as a mechanical engineering student.
As I have been going throughout my educational career I have been told that it is very important that I branch out and do things like internships to help boost my resume. I understand how this is a good idea for many people, I just find that it is a hard pill for me to swallow since I have always wanted to be my own boss and run my own business.
However, I do understand that it will be important for me to have experience before trying to branch out on my own. There is a huge difference between being good at something on paper, and actually being good at it.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern at a company and one of the many important lessons that I learned there was that for many things if it takes you more than two seconds to do it, then you don't know what you are doing.
Obviously this lesson takes some explaining. When I first heard this I was asked if I knew how to tie a boline. I said that I did, but it might take me a couple of tries to get it perfectly. Upon hearing my answer my boss looked at me and told me that unless I could do it in less than two seconds, I didn't KNOW what I was doing.
He taught me that there are things where you just need to know how to do it, and if you have to think about how to do it, then you don't know how to do it. There are limits to this of course, for example a long calculus problem. You might not know what the answer is or be able to solve it in only two seconds, but what matters is that you quickly know how you are going to approach the problem so that you can actually spend your time working on the problem and not just staring at the problem trying to figure it out.
Due to my bosses probing about whether or not I really know something I have become more keen to say that I don't know what I am doing. My pride still gets in the way sometimes because I feel like I shouldn't be learning this skill from this person. I don't know why I feel that way other than the fact that it is just my ego getting in the way.
When I take the time to learn from the person who is trying to instruct me, I realize that the other person often has the knowledge that I need. By taking the time to listen I save everyone a lot of headaches. I learn the material faster, and the other person can move on to his next project knowing that I understand what needs to be done, and that I will get it done in the right way.