Neophiles and Getting Impatient with Doors
The temptations that arise when you learn something new
After learning something new, it’s tempting to let our excitement drive us to pick up that shiny new hammer at any opportunity and go looking for some nails. We are all neophiles.
This applies to every field and endeavor. You learn a new word that tastes like honey when it forms on the tongue, and you start looking for excuses to use it. One method of teaching works great for one child, and so you try to replicate that success with other children despite their uniqueness. You get a new Instant pot, and you use it to make every meal for the next 2 weeks. Never mind that one of those meals was scrambled eggs and would have worked better in a regular skillet.
In computer programming, there are times where, after coming to understand a new development pattern, my thinking gets colored by it. How can I solve this new problem with this same pattern? It worked so well before, so of course it must work well again on this other problem that might be totally unrelated. As a result, I can burn too much time. Or write code that isn’t optimal.
You see this with people who have had their first gender studies class or had their mind blown by a professor talking about the interplays of race and power. All problems everywhere are suddenly a result of race and power or gender and sex. They see it everywhere. They seek to explain everything with this new lens. The illusion of insight is intoxicating.
Eventually we find ourselves laying flat on our backs after we tried to push our new, gigantic square peg through a round hole while running at a dead sprint. Or worse, we end up running endlessly in circles wondering why our new key won’t unlock any of the doors we need to go through. We start getting impatient with the doors.
The trick is to get to the stage where you have internalized it. It becomes a common thing. Your new skill/idea needs to be bouncing around in your subconscious and part of your overall repertoire instead of at the forefront of your mind, dancing and demanding your attention. It becomes another fallen leaf in your mind, a leaf that joins the heaps and heaps of other leaves littering your mind.
How do you do this? You learn something new.
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