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How Do You Act When You Need to Learn New Technology?

By Ben Kubicek,

Today we have a guest editorial from Ben Kubicek as Steve is away from the office.

I think most of us would agree we all need to continue to improve and build upon our skill set. As technology continues to change, if we don't keep up and learn new things, we run the risk of being left behind and perhaps out of a job. Still, a lot of you are experts in your field, or at least you are the person that knows the most about certain technologies in your department or company. How do you act when trying to learn something new? How do you act towards others that are trying to learn a technology you already know?

I know some of you pretend like you already have some knowledge, when you don't. You act or talk in a conversation like you understand what is being discussed. Then later you privately google the topic and try to get up to speed. I know I have done this before. Why are we so concerned about appearance? Why does it bother us to be seen as someone who doesn't know everything? Wait, did I just say that? That doesn't even make sense. Nobody knows everything. Nobody expects you to know everything. If they do then, that is pure foolishness.

How many opportunities have we missed, not getting up to speed on new technology quicker because we were too proud to admit we had no idea what someone was talking about? Why not be more forthcoming and just ask questions and learn from other people? Sometimes it is hard to honor other people and humble ourselves.

You know the interesting thing about all of this? I have never met anyone who disliked another person who is truly humble. I am not talking about false humility here. People with false humility say bad and untrue things about themselves so others will contradict them and give them complements. A truly humble person can just admit when they don't know something or when they need help. Those people tend to be held in high regard. So, why is it so hard to be humble?

C.S. Lewis has a quote I like, 'True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.' If we thought about ourselves less and weren't as worried about how we appear to others, then it wouldn't be a big deal to ask questions about something new or to ask someone for help.

I know that a work environment can also play a part in all of this. If coworkers are hostile toward each other, the environment will not encourage questions. If co-workers are talked down to or belittled because of their lack of knowledge, I can see why no one would risk revealing their shortcomings. Let's make sure then, when we know new technology that we are helpful to others that show an interesting in learning it.

If we can think of ourselves less and foster an environment that encourages learning and the sharing of knowledge, then I think we will all find ourselves getting up to speed quicker as we help each other learn new technologies.

Share a new tidbit of technology you learned recently.

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