Thursday, 9 September 2010

Think For Yourself, Question Everything

Earlier this year I wrote a piece entitled The Importance of Being Independent. I covered my belief that those who are still new to the field of testing or have limited experience would be best served by avoiding social networks and to avoid joining any form of community groups either.

I suggested instead that they would be best served purely observing and experiencing on their own the various systems and methodologies out there, not just on a theoretical level but within a real workplace environment where their decisions ultimately impact the outcome of that which they are working with. In addition to this I suggested that they seek to learn as much as they can by both reading up on their topics of interest that could relate to or assist them within their roles as well as to read articles, opinion pieces and tutorials that relate to testing.

It is my belief that these foundations give us a structure, a basis from which to judge experiences we have after that point, a basis where we can come from knowledge and not just opinion as to what we believe is the most appropriate thing. These experiences when formed in an environment largely free of much of the social influences that may otherwise pollute or bias ones belief system allow us to become better independent thinkers. It is only at this point that it is my belief that a tester should then explore the world of testing beyond that and join these social structures that exist based around an interest in testing.

The Internet is full of self and socially appointed experts, whether by merit or otherwise these people have become known figures within their respective communities. Whether these people were just those making the most out of an existing system or those looking to break the rules those that succeeded became figure heads that others would listen to or follow.

The emperor's new clothes...
It is common enough that the rebels, the fighters and the rule setters become the people's new leaders, particularly amongst those who are disillusioned with existing systems. This frequently however leads to something which creates an illusion, one that is in itself misnomer, in that those following the new leader are the rebels, the individuals, the defiant ones.

The reality however becomes that the rebels simply become the new conformists whose greatest point of distinction is that their rules are different to the group(s) that came before them but nevertheless these new collectives end up with rules of their own and ultimately contradict the whole point of being rebels in the first place.

Those of us who work to address quality are aware that there is no such thing as perfection and thus all any of us can do is seek to find something that works for them self and abide by their own beliefs. Subsequently the very idea of people who primarily just follow others whether they are new thinkers or existing ones are putting a level of trust into these people that essentially implies that these systems are somehow perfect models or methodologies in their own right, a flaw in it self.

Always the rebel...
A true rebel will never stop questioning, never follow others but instead take inspiration and ideas from others, allows themselves to be challenged and is willing to challenge others, embraces failure for the opportunity it can be and never stops learning.

As such whether you question or agree with this piece, to be a real critical thinker I believe one should form your opinion and hold your own view and to never let the view of others dictate or cloud your objectivity. For some to conform and follow is something that some choose to do and that is their right as much as it is the true for the rebels who go against it.

So one should never stop questioning authority and never stop thinking for yourself, as those who become true leaders in this world, those who change the world are those who never just rest on the shoulders of others and who never just accept the status quo but those who seek to challenge it.

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