Good Shop Practice #4: Seek Mentors.

Learning is slow and hard without a teacher.  Yes, every piece of information you need is in a book or online somewhere, but a mentor shows, demonstrates, evaluates, rewards, and provides context and attitude.  The Grand Encyclopedia – the continuity of human capability – is not what is written but what is handed down from person to person, in person.  It is an unbroken line of know-how from the Achueulean hand axe to your machine.  This is the memetic transmission of culture and how we avoid having to re-invent everything from first principles each generation.  Novice mechanics usually intuit that they need guidance; it is the experienced mechanic who forgets that they, too, need a mentor.  Don’t be arrogant.  Unless you are some kind of Boddhisattva, everyone needs mentorship, and everyone has some mentorship to offer.  Be humble in teaching as well as learning.

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