There were many things about high school and college that frustrated me. The fact that, despite catching the occasional flu bug, I couldn't ever really take a sick day. That I had to share all of my vacation time with thousands of peers, making first-come-first-served campsites and events a crapshoot. That I had to cite sources of authority and could not publish original thoughts or ideas.

One instructor explained it to me this way. High school was about learning to research facts, organize them, and use those facts to present an idea in an expository fashion. College was about learning to research theories and opinions, organize them, and use those authoritative statements to present a specific position. Graduate school was all about learning to research new things, organize your findings, and use that data to present a unique idea.

In high school, I tired quickly of citing facts. In college I tired quickly of citing other people's opinions. In grad school I realized that the entire ramp up was a fraud and I was still required to cite sources when making an argument.

I was once even accused of plagiarism when I referenced a common-knowledge political science theory without referencing another writer.[ref]I was taking a political economy class in business school and, writing from a political science background for an audience of political science professors, felt referencing common theories without a citation would be acceptable. After being publicly accused of plagiarizing my paper, I spoke to the professor - who demanded proof I had studied political science before accepting that, yes, the idea I referenced truly was common knowledge.[/ref]

For most of my life, I've strived towards a level of expertise that will allow me to make specific statements out of experience and have others trust and respect the stance I take. This blog is part of that endeavor - a way to prove that I really do know what I'm talking about, backing up any claims of expertise with actual evidence.

As a result, I use a very authoritative voice when I write.[ref]Sometimes I've been accused of being too harsh, abrupt, or at times cruel with my writing. My goal isn't ever to put anyone down, belittle anyone's opinions, or troll a social network. Instead I'm working to present the foundation of a position upon which I can build subsequent arguments. Hedging with "in my opinion" or "well it's just my experience" cheapens any statement I wish to make, so I cut it out and just state what I feel to be the best answer.[/ref]

My overall goal, in writing or software or life in general, is to approach the world from a place of earned authority. Not a role I merely grant myself through some ego-driven sense of superiority, but in a position taken and backed up by my performance within and contribution to the community.

This is the goal I have in mind every time I start a new post. What's the goal you're writing towards?