One of my personal mottoes is: "you are dead when you stop learning". I know it's a little clichè but it does make a lot of difference on your daily life if you can truly seek for new knowledge every single day - and trust me - I try very hard.
I [re]learned a precious lesson during this week and this calls for a short story.
During the last couple of weeks we were facing a big technical challenge at the office. There were several experts around the globe trying to solve it. It is also important to stress that these experts are the best ones in their field of work with many years of experience.
The technical difficulty was been dragged for 4 weeks already. Minor problems were solved at some rate but the bigger solution seemed further and further from being achieved. This week I decided to burn some extra midnight oil and stay at the office as long as it would take to solve that problem. I was definitely lagging behind all those experts as they had years of experience, expertise and, at least, several weeks of intensive work on that problem already. Even though, I approached the difficulty with the self-confidence of a lion tamer and, after 3 hours, 4 coffees, and 2 visits to the toilet later I had solved the problem.
I felt like a genius. So many professionals with more time and brains than me - all tackling the problem for days - and I was the one to solve it. I went back home with the sweet taste of victory that is probably very much alike winning a gold medal - against all odds - at the Olympic games. The only difference, of course, was the complete lack of people cheering and shouting my name in ecstasy (but I could hear them in my own twisted mind).
My learning experience was not there though. It was reserved for the next couple of days.
Right after solving the greatest problem of mankind, I flew to a training session in Helsinki. For one reason or another, there was the assumption that I could understand fluent Finnish and most of the training was hold in this language. I tried very hard to follow because - as I said - we should learn something everyday. I had also been studying Finnish for almost 2 years - it was about time I could follow some simple training!
The whole experience was almost a complete failure to me as some of the issues were way above my head. It would have been definitely worst if I had not accepted my failure (at least).
How could one of the biggest geniuses walking on the face of this earth not be capable of learning another language?
And that is where I (re)learned a valuable lesson: Humility - I am not a genius but just as capable as anyone else.