Yearn for the Learn Burn

While I've mentioned two lessons learned from school, today's post focuses on the most important lesson of the two.

Written by Jonathan "JD" Danylko • Last Updated: • Opinion •

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When people graduate from high school or college, I've overhead them exclaim they are so glad they finished school. The homework, the professors, the studying, the "getting up early." Thank God it's all over.

For those who actually believe this, I have a rude awakening for you.

It's NOT all over, it just evolves into a different form.

So congratulations! You are now ready to begin your career as an entry-level peon (translation: an unskilled worker).

I don't want you to believe that you are the only one who will go through this. Each one of us in America has gone through this same upbringing." We've all had our share of bad bosses, jobs, and projects in our careers and we've kissed a lot of frogs to find that awesome dream job. Some are still looking.

The Most Important Characteristic In Your Career for Growth

Living in an age with the Internet is truly a gift. You have everything at your fingertips.

Someone asks you a question and you don't know the answer, you have two choices: say "I don't know" or you whip out your computer, a.k.a smartphone, and Google/Bing the question.

In that split-second, the decision you make is what makes the world a better place.

The characteristic I'm referring to is Curiosity.

You want to know what the answer is. You need to know because you're afraid of being in the FOMO group when you hear the question again (For example, what does happen in JavaScript when you add an object to an object?)

This is the characteristic that drives people to insatiably become better at what they do no matter what form it takes in their career.

Reason for School/College

While I've touched on this in the past on how to become an in-demand programmer along with mentioning expectations in the real-world, I wanted to close the loop on this topic. 

In my opinion, there are only two reasons why we all go to school: Learn to learn and finish what you started. Sidenote: I won't go into the "Finish what you started" mantra (explained in #7) since this post focuses on learning

Learn to Learn

As a child, we were always learning. Walking, running, skipping, and even writing and reading (See? You're doing it right now).

Your evolution from high school to college to the real-world demonstrates your need to continue learning. It teaches you how to learn new ideas and concepts.

For example, even though I took social studies in high school, it didn't mean I wanted to be a great historian. It just wasn't my cup of tea, but I had to take it to graduate. It just didn't hold my interest, but it did teach me various ways to take notes and essentially finish what I started and graduate.

Along those lines of thinking, let me ask you a question: Did you have a system for studying for tests? Did you use word association? Tons of notes? What helped you the most to get you through your "social studies" in high school?

Once you had a tried-and-true system on teaching your brain how to remember or learn something new, I'm guessing you doubled-down on the technique and continued to apply it to other parts of your life.

You were constantly learning.

My Latest Mantra

A mantra is a statement or slogan you repeat frequently and everyone should have some they live by.

This is one of my mantras lately: Yearn for the Learn Burn.

What does it mean?

By definition, Yearn means have an intense feeling of longing for something, typically something that one has lost or been separated from. I feel this term could be a cousin to curiosity since "having an intense feeling of longing for something" could mean longing for knowledge.

The word burn at the end is meant to be taken in the context of exercise. If you are exercising your mind, it's the same as working out at the gym. When working out your mind, it forces you to push yourself and feel the burn! As they say, no pain, no gain!

Bottom-line: Use curiosity as a means to learn more in your career and make yourself a better person; Always be learning.

Yearn for the Learn Burn!


I've had a number of developers ask me about what was important throughout my career and what they should focus on to become the best, regardless of their field.

While finishing what you started is a close second on my list, yearning for the learn burn is my top focus.


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Picture of Jonathan "JD" Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a web architect and entrepreneur who's been programming for over 25 years. He's developed websites for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies since 1996.

He currently works at Insight Enterprises as an Principal Software Engineer Architect.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "I like to write and I like to code. I also like to write about code."

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