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The insight that changed my life (Part Five)

In our new series, the Dub team look at insight from a personal perspective, revealing one that changed their path and inspired something new at work, at home, or across their life in general...

Welcome to part five.

Stephane (Technical Lead

'By trying to be great at everything, people end up not being any good at anything. I’m not here to teach you basic and generic scientific knowledge, I’m not here to raise smart monkeys. I’m here so you master the field and get the ability to do/build something with your own hands…' 

These were the words of my electronics teacher back in the early 2000’s, annoyed that our department was once again suffering from lack of recognition, and fuming about the fact that math & physics students had priority over us. He was my favourite teacher, a vocal and revolutionary kind of French guy, that came to teaching after years spent working in the private sector. To be fair, not a single week passed without him getting furious about something or someone, but this specific one stood out to me more than the others.


As a teenager trying to find my way to Uni, having to make what looked at the time like an important life choice, I was attracted to physics and all the knowledge these monkeys supposedly had. Did I want to be good a lot of different things or excel at one...not an easy choice put that way, right?

I guess I chose the latter option. I stuck to semicon & optoelectronics for a few years and got my diploma until a job at IBM helped me realise that to excel in this field meant 5 to 7 more years of study. Well, I didn’t have the time or the money for that. I switched to computer science and same question again: learning web development / big application / database / focus on algorithmic... Once again I was considering whether to be a generalist or specialist? I went for the latter option again.

That kind of choice kept coming on at various occasions in my professional life, and I guess I’ve always chosen the specialist option.

A few years have passed now, and I can only admit that despite trying to master a few limited fields, sticking to a few specialities, and staying on top of the game in a handful of domains, I’ve somehow become one of the smart monkeys. I guess that comes with the age and experience. But I wonder, 'Why did I even bother? Were the smart monkeys actually the smartest from the beginning?' I’ll guess I'll never know ;)

 

Stephen (Founder and CEO)

'You make your own luck.'

I’ve always been a believer that hard work, grit and determination will get you a long way in life. I started my working life delivering newspapers at the age of 12, carrying a bag loaded with heavy newspapers that almost crippled me. I then worked in small factories making kitchen units, then a bigger factory making ploughs - all before I’d even left school.

At that tender age, I always believed that you were either lucky (or should I say privileged) or unlucky in life. I would play sport and constantly hear the shouts of ‘unlucky’ when a goal was missed or tackle evaded.

The insight came courtesy of Derren Brown who ran a show that explored the myth of luck. Essentially, if you have your eyes and ears open and are open the possibilities and work hard, you create this mythical thing called luck. Having a closed mindset can and will stop you from achieving so much.

So now, I never say or think I nor anyone around me (or my children) are unlucky, they’ve simply not yet created their own luck and need to work a bit harder at it and open their hearts and minds.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there, meet as many people as you can in life, and magical things will happen.  

 

Terri (Project Co-ordinator)

Like most children, I was always curious and asked a lot of questions. Sometimes those questions would lead to heated debates with my mom, teachers, friends, and yes, even strangers. At an early age, I began questioning gender roles and social norms. Being raised by a single mother in the late 70s / early 80s in small town Saskatchewan, I remember being asked so many times 'where is your dad?' or 'why don’t you have a dad?' (yes I have one).

Being faced with these questions early on in life developed a passion within me for 'why?' Why does something have to be a certain way? Why do you think x is better than y? Why does one person have any more privilege than another?. I was even kicked out of Christian Ethics class on a daily basis for a week because each day I asked the same question and the teacher never had an answer other than 'because that is how it is.' To me, this was NOT an answer and I wouldn’t let it go until I got a real answer to 'why'.

Questioning social norms, gender roles, class, family structures, and social institutions led me to pursue a degree in Sociology. My inquisitive and curious young adult mind became influenced by Marxism and Feminism and I was always driven to dig deeper. Like the iceberg analogy, there is so much more than what we can see, touch, and hear. I discovered the question ‘why?’ was so complex that a true answer may never be fully known, but by looking beyond the visible, we can get a better understanding.

Or in the words of Shrek 'Onions have layers'.  

 

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