“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” – Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School
Perseverance is one of the better traits to have for security professionals and anybody. Rarely do things work out the first time tried. It often takes multiple attempts using multiple techniques to accomplish the goal. The key is to never give up (or give in as Sir Winston Churchill says in the quote above).
While I’m sure I had this trait beforehand, I really got this trait in College. This was back in the late ’80’s when all they had was Computer Science and they mostly taught C programming. Some people are born to program, but I’m not. Most assignments were a battle. I’d try one thing, test it, figure out what I did wrong, and then try again. It was totally trial and error. Although I don’t remember very much C, I do maintain the trait of perseverance.
This is also important in computer security where you often need to try multiple approaches to reach your goal. It can be seen in vulnerability or penetration tests, forensic investigations, or configuring an application. Fortunately with most systems, there are multiple ways to do things. So if one way doesn’t work, try another. When you begin to get frustrated, take a break. It’s okay to ask for help, but make sure you’ve done your homework and tried everything you can think of. You may even want to write down what you’ve done to track your progress. Don’t take the easy way out and quit trying. A good part of the learning is not in reaching your goal, but in the lessons you learn along the way.
I’ll finish with a quote from one of the best philosopher’s of our time, Yoda: “Do or do not… There is no try.”