The Beauty Of Incompleteness — CISSP Is For Slow Readers

Dave On Cyber
4 min readDec 29, 2022

Either read ten books by skimming and skipping or read one book from the first to the last page.

I read every word of the (ISC)2 Sybex Official CISSP study guide from the first to the last page. I read it three times. However, the experience wasn’t the same.

1st iteration — Read like a fiction novel. You want to soak yourself in the material and generic understanding.

2nd iteration — After practising exam questions, you will better understand what’s important and what's not. This time, you pay more attention to the meat of the material.

3rd iteration — After reading two times, your focus is on exam questions, and if you think you are poor in Domain 7, you want to read only Security Operations. Moreover, you want to go the extra mile this time. You will research and read articles related to that topic.

The quality of understanding comes with iteration, time and depth. Embrace the incompleteness to feel complete.

Iteration + Patience = Progress

You can apply this principle when thinking about your security program.

From the business context, it’s better to design and deploy one security solution that provides maximum protection and return on investment(ROI) rather than implementing five incomplete ones.

Why limit this principle to study and a security program?

You can apply it to other aspects of life.

  • Rather than visiting ten different places, pick one or two and learn everything about it — what’s the history? Is there any exciting fact? Can you resemble any person? Does it remind you of any music?
  • Rather than eating five items on the plate quickly, why not pick two opposite tastes (sweet and savoury) and embrace each bite? You not only want to feed your tummy but want to know everything about that food — where it originates from? Which culture does it belong to? How has it evolved in different parts of the world?
  • Rather than drinking your tea too fast, slow down. Take a sip and cherish the taste. Think about how it affects your mood with or without rain. When and where was that tea leaf planted?

I haven’t distracted you from consuming the CISSP material. My point is to make your CISSP journey more than a reading. Go beyond and above. Open your mind with 360 degrees of perception and be curious to know more than just passing the exam.

It’s ok to slow down.

It’s ok to read slowly.

It’s ok to take time and think.

The human tendency is to start something and finish it as fast as possible. That reminds me of a joke about the difference between a finish and a complete one.

If you find the right woman, your life is complete. If you find the wrong one, your life is finished.

You don’t want to FINISH your CISSP material. You want to COMPLETE. That requires beginning your journey with incompleteness.

The series of incomplete iterations lead to completion. Although I have passed my CISSP exam, I am not an expert.

Finish vs Complete

I am incomplete. Therefore, I am curious.

I am a lifelong student. Therefore, I will never stop learning and writing.

I need to correct my understanding of a few concepts. Therefore, I have millions of possibilities to connect with like-minded people who are better than me.

I am a slow reader. Therefore, I am not in a hurry or bother to compare with anyone.

Be a lifelong student

I came across this story where an 82-year woman completed her PhD. A whole generation of people in old age completes a university degree. What could be more inspiring?

Incompleteness helps you to adapt to the student mentality. There will be times you feel a bit compulsive to finish.

Remind yourself it’s always about embracing the beauty of incompleteness.

Happy incomplete learning!

A Series of incompleteness iterations leads to a complete

--

--

Dave On Cyber

CISSP Certified professional writes cybersecurity with digital sketch and storytelling form. Check out https://daveoncyber.gumroad.com/ for notes and downloads.