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The Journey from Smart to Good

“It’s easier to be smart than good.”

I heard that quote in a recent sermon at church and it is one I can very much relate to in more than one area of my life.  In context the pastor was discussing the difference between knowing what the Bible says (being smart) and applying what the Bible says (being good) and all too often I am more smart than good in that area, that’s a topic for another blog, but really the quote can be applied to many areas, including being a SQL Server DBA and that’s what I want to talk about here.

All too often I’m smart, rather than good when it comes to being a DBA.  I allude to this in my 2010 Goals post in the Professional Development section goal #2.  I’m great at learning new things and always have been, but not as good at putting them into practice.  I KNOW a lot about SQL Server, but, for a variety of reasons (fear of failing, size of SQL Server implementations, etc…), I haven’t APPLIED that knowledge.  One other thing I think that comes into play for me, anyway, is the three levels of knowledge as discussed in this blog post (note:  while the ideas are good I don’t agree with some of the wording).  Basically it says there are three areas of knowledge:

  1. The things you know you know.
  2. The things you know you don’t know.
  3. The things you don’t know you don’t know.

The goal is to have area 3 be as small as possible and area 1 as large as possible.  My issue in regard to being a SQL Server DBA is that I have moved a big chunk of area 3 into area 2, which just makes me feel inadequate, but in reality that means I’m making progress.  The next step is to move some of area 2 into area 1.

So what’s the plan for going from smart to good?  I think the first step is to understand that there is a difference, then begin applying what you already know.  Then just continue to learn AND apply. 

Remember it’s a journey not a destination and the good DBA’s I know realize that you never really arrive. 

So where are you in the journey?


Posted by Jason Brimhall on 25 February 2010

Good analysis on the topic.  Now you just made me realize how much more work I have to do. :)

Posted by Jack Corbett on 5 March 2010


I think that is the first step towards being an exceptional DBA or whatever, realizing you don't know it all.

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