Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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Learning when to get out of your way.

Published: 26 Oct 2011

Every so often in life I learn something that hits very hard. It becomes painfully obvious. Even worse, I question my sanity and intelligence. I ask myself,

How can I be learning this just now?

It’s hard to ask that and answer it in a constructive way. I think I must accept the inevitability it will happen.

So what next?

What next is I learn how to quickly recover my momentum. The danger isn’t in learning something I should have already known; the risk is in letting it affect me negatively and slow me down.

I think I’m already fairly observant, at least to adequate levels, about learning new things. Some things are quite obvious, others you must hunt for. I know I could do better but I think I’m doing well. This just makes it harder to maintain momentum.

Shiny things always win.

The problem with learning new things and momentum is that often times new things change perceptions. The problems I solve are different. When you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Then even worse, every new thing learned must be applied to problems. Even when it doesn’t make sense, the compulsion is there to try out new found knowledge.

I go back and forth on whether to allow this to happen. Do I let myself use knowledge that is still in its infancy in my brain, or forbid it until I can practice exercising it in a controlled environment?

I wish I had an answer.