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January 26, 2009

Question everything

When I'm in a situation where I'm talking about the stuff I really know, I'm an expert.  I'm confident I can answer and help.  If I am surrounded by people who want and need to know about what I'm good at, it's great! I obviously enjoy the topics and get a buzz from sharing.

Some of these areas are:

 - Translation 
 - NLP
 - IR
 - NLG/U
 - Yoga
 - Research skills
 - SEO
 - Running
 - blah, probably some others

When I'm in a situation where I either don't really know about the topic or am not as proficient as the other people, I'm a learner.  I question, see what I can get from this.  

Some of these areas are:

 - Programming (Gasp! - yes, your programming geeks will get the job done much faster than me)
 - Computer graphics
 - Speech technology
 - Robotics
 - Windsurfing
 - Skydiving
 - Fixing computers
 - Cooking (I know, and I'm half French)
 - and endless others
What I know is that both situations are fun and exciting for the most part.  I am actually always learning, and sometimes a non-expert can really shed light on something for me.  I'm open to learning anything and everything (even dreaded cooking).  All of the topics that touch my life converge somewhere and bits from yoga get used in computing and bits from running get used in writing.

I'm not always the expert and that's fine, in fact that's a relief.  What a privilege to be a n00b and be allowed to make all sorts of mistakes and ask all those silly questions unabashed, no expectations.  How cool to be average at something and learn from someone who inspires you and get better at it.  

The message is I guess to not be afraid of those situations.  Not be afraid of looking more vulnerable than usual sometimes and also not being afraid of being the expert too.  I've found out that I am not judged by my questions, level of ability, or education but by my attitude.  In fact I was once told that it's not the questions that are stupid, just the idiots who think they're above them.  And that applies in both situations.

This blog I realise isn't always easy for everyone to digest so I want to encourage you to get in touch with either me or other people you have questions for.  You'll probably be surprised at how much I/they learn from you too.  None of us would want to pass up that opportunity.  Doing this opens up the discussion.

Don't be afraid of asking a well known scientist why they hadn't thought of doing x,y or z or why their theory doesn't work in a particular case.  It isn't an attack on their work and won't be percieved that way (as long as you attitude doesn't suck).  They either have the answers or you both have an interesting conversation coming up :)

“Socrates, you will remember, asked all the important questions - but he never answered any of them” (Dickinson Richards)

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Science for SEO by Marie-Claire Jenkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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