Programming makes you feel stupid. All the time. Just when you think you finally understand something, know all its ins and outs, along comes something new that you know nothing about, not even enough to hold up your end of a speculative conversation. Now, this might be enough to scare a lot of people into finding another line of work. Me, I live for feeling stupid.
You would not feel stupid if you were just approaching the frontier of knowledge about the discipline/art/science/voodoo magic thing that we do, going where no man/woman/child progeny has ever gone. Heck, it would make you proud just to be on the edge, tasting the salty air of that unexplored ocean. No one would blame you for not seeing into its depths on your first go 'round. No one would care if you chose not to take the plunge just yet.
What makes you feel stupid is when you just don't understand, when nothing makes sense, its all a dark black pit of ambiguity, a cloudy mountain top far away and you're a lone climber, no safety line, hanging on for dear life, hoping you don't fall, listening to the wind and the voices lofting down from on top, the chatter and jovial cheers. There's a party going and you're not invited.
You feel stupid because you know many others have already figured it out, already understood and moved on, but you're still stuck trying to muddle through it.
It makes me wonder how they could be so brilliant. What makes them different from me? Have I finally reached my plateau? Is this as far as I go? Do I just stop here and move on to my next career flipping burgers? I've asked myself this so many times that I've gotten used to the question. I'm actually comforted by it.
Because the truth is that as many times as it is happened, as many times as I have hit that wall trying to force my brain into the next higher gear, as many times as I've doubted myself in the past, I've always found a solution, I've always eventually turned that corner and seen what lies beyond.
Feeling stupid is just the signpost on the road telling you to fasten your seat belts, the speed limit is about to increase.