What it Means to be a Man VI: Persistence
Another habitually underrated quality in my opinion is persistence. Not persistence in the sense of trying one solution to a problem and then repeating the same thing over and over despite it not working - this is clearly entitlement - but in the sense of trying every single solution to a problem. Instead of complaining in between iterations of potential answers, simply move on to the next one. Refuse to accept defeat until you have exhausted every possible avenue available to you (NB this obviously does not apply to interpersonal problems in a lot of scenarios). There is a sense of self-importance in sitting around writing blogs about how difficult things are instead of continuing to try new approaches in order to get said things into a state more palatable to the writer. But, privilege begets entitlement which in turn begets this particular essence de narcissisme.
The good news is that I think there are a tonne of great examples of this, in easy reach for myself at least. Hackers. And I don’t necessarily mean the malicious type (but I also don’t necessarily not mean the malicious type), I mean “hacker” in the sense of a technologist who cobbles together functional solutions to digital problems without much regard for elegance, well-written documentation, and occasionally the relevant jurisdictional legislation. Whenever you hear security researches discuss problems, their approach is phenomenal; try a few things. If those don’t work, try a few more things. Repeat until you’ve run out of things to try. Then get creative, come up with some new and slightly more zany things, and try those. Repeat until success. When successful, ask yourself what else can you gain from the situation; how can you extract more successs from your existing success. Take ideas to their logical conclusion, and when you get there, take them to their illogical conclusion as well.
Security research strategy may seem difficult to transplant into more vanilla areas of life, but I don’t think so. It’s an approach I want to take with my mental health, my career, my relationships. And I think it’s gonna take me far.