Something about learning new things

Put a box over your head and you will still learn something new

My little niece will do whatever it takes to stay up as late as possible and wake up on the first light of day. Her reason? She doesn't want to miss a second of the day. She wants to be there when everything happens. At night, her eyes will be closing but when asked if she is sleepy, her answer is always, No! Followed by a sudden burst of energy.

Awake time is learning time, even if you spend the whole day in a single room, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. In complete solitude, the brain is still thinking, processing old information and coming up with new solutions.

Spending time with anyone other than yourself is a challenge. I'm not saying this because I am less of a people person, but because they are unpredictable. They are a source of new problems ... to solve.

A child or an adult, they will say something that will strike your mind. As a programmer I like to relate it to users executing arbitrary code in your head.

Why is social engineering powerful? Because you get to run arbitrary code for free. This time the machine is the victim's head. When you talk to a person, she has no choice but to think about what you said. Even when you ignore someone, you can still hear him, and you are still affected by what he says.

I am kind of a yes man. I do say yes more often then not. Not because I'm afraid to say no, but because I am afraid to lose an opportunity learn. Everyone you talk to has something new to tell you, otherwise there is not much point talking now, is there?


If you are a skilled person with many years of experience, it is easy blind yourself and assume you know everything. Of course when you are asked you will answer "Of course, I don't know everything, I'm not perfect", but the behavior of experts are usually of those who think they have no flaws.

We tend to treat interns or the less experienced with one way conversations, where we tell them how things are and never listen to a thing they have to say. Children are always wrong, except when they do something amazing we didn't expect. Even the poor are viewed as people who can only be told what to do and never listened to.

One class of people will always treat a lower class this way no matter how high or low they are on the chain. But there is something that breaks this barrier often.

Traveling. One thing I love about traveling is that when people are in a foreign place, they usually dissolve this barrier of communication. When I see someone from Guinea in Guinea, there is no point getting excited. However, when we meet right here in Los Angeles, 7 thousand miles away from home, it feels like divine intervention.

When I meet people from Egypt we talk about the Pyramids. I spent years in Egypt and never talked about it. By speaking with Egyptians in a foreign land, I learned more about Egypt than I did when living there. I can only imagine the things I will learn about LA once I leave.

Learning can be fun. But sometimes we create barriers of knowledge that limits us to acquire more knowledge. If you are not going to be in a foreign land soon fake it while you can. Assume everyone has something to teach you and you will learn something new everyday.


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