Security Education

Before You Hit Your Head Against a Wall

As both an educator and a security professional, I often see people who get frustrated.  It could be with a school or work assignment.  To help reduce frustration, here are some words of advice:

  • DON’T PANIC. This is my first rule of incident response. Getting all worked up never solves the problem. Take a deep breath or a time-out if needed and then proceed.
  • Understand “Who Owns the Headache?”  So often, we get frustrated with things outside of our realm of control. Basically, we try to fix things that we can’t because we don’t have control or “Own the Headache.”  Acknowledge what you can control and what you can’t.  Only focus on the things you can.
  • Research it. Ask yourself: Is this information available from an Internet source (iow, Google it)? One thing hammered into me when I was in ROTC was “use your resources.” You don’t need to know everything. You just need to know how to find the information and then use it intelligently.
  • Look at the problem from a different perspective. Is there another way to solve the problem? In computers, there’s usually at least 2, if not many more ways to solve any problem. That’s why I don’t usually have a set answer in mind. You may think of something I haven’t that works just as well.
  • Take a time out. Step away from the problem for a little while. Sometimes they resolve themselves, as in the case with being down. Sometimes, it will give you a chance to think about it and think it through. This also gives your subconscious some time to process and develop a solution. (Have you ever had a “duh, I should’ve thought of that” moment?)
  • Ask someone. A person is also a resource (see use your resources above). First try a fellow classmate or colleague. I love it when students work together and help each other to solve problems. The student’s who collaborate get bonus points in my book. It’s truly a win-win for everyone. This is also part of my personal mantra, “By helping each other, we’re all smarter/stronger/better.”
  • Ask good questions. If no one else has the answer (about an assignment), then ask your professor or your boss. If something’s not clear, then ask for clarification. In today’s world, it’s not the answers you have, but the questions you ask. Come up with good questions, then be bold and ask them.

The idea is to prevent frustration, which inhibits learning and growth.

Coach Ron
“Every man…should periodically be compelled to listen to opinions which are infuriating to him. To hear nothing but what is pleasing to one is to make a pillow of the mind.” St. John Ervine

One thought on “Before You Hit Your Head Against a Wall

  1. Coach Woerner, this is great advise, in fact, I find myself doing this often and works. Taking a time out does help, thanks for sharing, James

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