Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What if everything you ever knew about something was wrong ?

What if everything you ever knew about something was wrong ?

What if you had a chance to learn it all over again - would you reach the same conclusions ? would you hold the same convictions ? would you laugh at what you believe to be obvious today ?

The problem with experience is that it comes with baggage.

The longer you have done something, the longer you have spent learning it, the longer you have believed it, the more it appears right to you. And you start to self-select evidence that supports your view and ignore everything that counters it.

Here are two pieces of apparently conflicting advice:
"He who hesitates is lost"
"Haste makes waste"

Which one you believe will depend on what you already believe. Of course at their own times, in their own context, both can be true. There is a time to avoid hesitation and a time to avoid haste.

Knowing when to use what is called wisdom, and it comes with experience and a good bit of luck.

As I go through life I find myself tempted by the lure of self-selection more often. If something has worked for several years, I find it harder to let go of it, harder to admit that there is a better option I’ve been missing, harder to admit that all my years of accumulated wisdom about something might be insufficient.

I find myself falling into traps

  • I sometimes apply what worked in similar but not the same situations to new situations without adapting.

But consider this: No two situations are exactly alike. Experience is useful when it is adapted, not cloned.

  • I sometimes don’t accept new tools or techniques that need investment of time and energy.

But consider this: With experience, how much better if one could also apply a newer, better technique. New ideas can amplify experience, they don’t condemn it.

The battle to prove myself wrong is as important as the need to prove myself right. Without it there is no growth.

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