More Mistakes = More Expertise

by Tony Chung on April 17, 2007

My buddy Eric posted a quote last week on geekwhat that I really dug A LOT:

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field.”–Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

Yep, Bohr as in the bohr model. This quote reminds me of my earlier days at Cisco. I worked in the engineering tech support labs and performed customer recreates for Cisco clients like AOL, AT&T, etc. When I first began, it was a really tough road learning all the software, hardware, and protocols. But about six months later, I started getting really good at troubleshooting problems — mostly because I had encountered them before already. Nine months later, I was really sharp and sometimes a go-to guy. A year later, I was traning people.

Just earlier tonight, I finally completed my programming assignment for class, meaning the chip hardware was doing what it’s supposed to do. This was after a total of about 5 hours of troubleshooting. Those 5 hours were frustrating and sucky. But now I feel awesome. I’m one more tiny step closer to expert status…

I think this quote by Bohr is very true. Find your niche passion or skill. Finesse it. Make mistakes. Learn everything. Become the best.

Your task for today (and everyday): Ask a question. Make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to ask that potentially ‘dumb’ question. So you get laughed at, who cares? You gained something. You learned! :)

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