Friday, January 15, 2010


My last post was about teachers.
Today is about the other piece of the equation. I'd say half, but I'm pretty sure the student makes up much more than half the equation.

Right off the bat there is one thing that can stop a student from learning anything. Ego.
The size of a person's ego and where it is stored can drastically effect how much that person can learn as a student. If you think you're the best, or even great, or if you even acknowledge you're pretty good - your ego is probably getting in the way of you learning.
How do I know this? From experience - I have a humongous ego. I generally think I am an awesome person. Sure, I have my flaws, but overall I like to think I make the world a better place just by existing.


I guess there are two things that can be said in my defense.
1) I KNOW I am overly egocentric - I admit it.
2) I can put my ego away when the time calls for it.

Most people don't know how to put their ego in a box while they try to learn something new. As such their ego grabs control of their brain, forces them to stand on desktops and proclaim for the world to hear: "I could teach this class," or "nobody in this program has something new to teach me," or perhaps "this class sucks."

What these egocentric airheads people fail to see is that even if their professors or colleagues or students had something to teach them, they wouldn't listen! They are too wrapped up in their own BS, their heads too full of their own awesomeness, to allow any new information to grab hold!

A true student comes with an open mind and a readiness to grab any new tidbit of information that comes his or her way. That willingness to strip down the ego, stuff it in a box, and be a student again is precisely what makes a person a good learner.

When a good student is entered into the education equation, I believe its about 50/50 or maybe 60/40 Student / Teacher in terms of work input.
Conversely, when a bad student is part of the same equation, that student expects it to be 10/90 or 5/95. In short, the student expects the instructor to do all the work - to prove that they have something new to teach, or that there is in fact, more than one way to skin a cat. This leads to the student learning nothing, which leads to proclamations from desktops, and the cycle repeats.

The lesson I've learned? Always be prepared to take your ego and hang it in the closet for a while. You can let it out on occasion, but the moment you think you're the best photographer, the best artist, the best writer, the best parent, the best teacher, the best student, the best at anything - you're ego will get in the way and the ride is all downhill from there. Downhill straight to the bottom of the industry.

Have a great weekend! Learn something new!