Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, really struck gold with the statement.
It’s better to be a ‘learn it all’ than a ‘know it all’
Being an employee at Microsoft and large companies for a long time - this is one of the industry culture pushes that I have really resonated with.
Know it all
Everyone knows 1 or 2 - know it alls. These folks make it clear that they are the subject matter experts, fixed mindsets, and love to be right all the time. What is hard about these individuals is often they are not good at sharing knowledge or rather making others know it alls. I think this also isolates this individuals from expanding their knowledge outside of their fixed bubble reducing what they actually know. This can limit both team growth and individual growth.
Learn it all
Learn it alls are people with that growth mindset where they never feel like they have all the answers. Almost like there is no upper limit to learning or development. It is an perspective that can acknowledge that they may be expert of a specific field but also have an open viewpoint where they want to fully understand all different perspectives. It also allows individuals to grow past their subject matter expert disciplines to say things like, “hey I am not the expect of this particular field but I am open to learning as much to expand my abilities and further develop”.
Share it all
I like to think there is there is also a implicit assumption to the quote above. The assumption is that learn it alls are also share it alls to the friends, co-workers, and community. I am not sure if this is always the case but I believe the world would get high value if learn it alls became share it alls. This allows not only the individual to grow but also develops a partnership, a team, a community. Some people have the belief that if they share information then they will become less valuable. I have heard this concept be called _scarcity _meaning there is short supply for whether it is jobs, resources, etc. and they have to hold information in order to be better than the competition. I belief this is a false-belief and this is actually a toxic behavior both for a team and an individual. It might work short term for the individual but they tend not to grow and continue to be an issue for a team/community.
What kind of plan do you have to learn in the next few months or even in the next few days? You don’t have to break the bank or spend a lot of time in order to deep dive into an interest area. For me I decided on the following areas to grow. Here is my plan:
- Read 1 book every month
- Learn another programming language (Python) - at least 30 min a week
- Listen to podcasts, watch youtube videos, read reddit posts
I picked 3 areas. 1 Book of month doesn’t seem to overwhelming if you plan it out right. In all honesty I have tried this out since January and only have read 1 book so far (this is April). I saw that I wasn’t making as much progress as I wanted and shifted my priorities a bit. Starting April 1st I created a new habit where I wake up 30 min earlier, grab a coffee and read for 30 min before work. This shift is getting me back on track to my goal without a significant time commitment.
Python, why Python? I just think it is a fun language. I am starting with this free creative commons online book that I found called Automate the Boring Stuff By Al Sweigart.. Al is a gifted communicator and he talks about his audience is mainly non-developers. I tend to disagree with this statement. I feel like he is able to easily communicate to train non-developers and his writing style provides value while reinforcing topics that developers would appreciate.
I have a list of podcasts, youtube videos, and sub-reddits that I follow and read. This is just a fun commitment. You have to give yourself some easy wins once in awhile.
I am also committed to become a share it all to further develop the community and help others on their journey to grow/develop.
What is your plan for becoming a learn it all? Create a list of 3 items. Try to commit to yourself that you will accomplish them. Maybe make one light-hearted like my 3rd bullet item “Listen to podcast, watch youtube…”. Take 5-10 min to write down a list of some ideas. I am a big fan of taking action and committing to some goals even if they are small to start out with.
Here are some free resources that might help with your 3 items. These are just some sites that I have been following and might use as I expand my knowledge and keep being a learn-it-all.
Free Coding Camp - https://www.freecodecamp.org/
LeetCode - https://leetcode.com
Automate the Boring Stuff (Python) - https://automatetheboringstuff.com/
Advent of Code - https://adventofcode.com
Solo Learn - https://www.sololearn.com
Thanks for reading, and make sure to becoming learn it alls with your communities!