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Donald Knuth experienced something similar.

http://www.webofstories.com/play/17068?o=MS (it starts around 2:37)

This is exactly what came to mind for me. To see Don Knuth say that he was afraid of failing is downright shocking... I would have thought he would have spent very little time thinking about classes and would have already been in a world of his own at that point.

One interesting happening I've noticed too is that with mathematical and computing knowledge specifically it seems that as people gain knowledge it becomes easier to add new knowledge. The curve seems exponential. It's easy to pick up Python if you're already familiar with C and C++. It's easy to understand a new comparison sorting algorithm if you know it can't be faster than O(n lg n) and can place it in perspective with merge and quicksort.

This is why I still go on Stack Overflow and am floored by how few questions I can answer and how much more experienced guys know than me. But I have hope that learning will beget faster learning.

I agree with you on everything you said. As for the SO, or anything in general (as far as learning is concerned), I guess the more you learn the more you realize how little you know...

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