The Better Way Out to Learning

Mark Bernstein, commenting on Marcus Zarra’s article the Dangers of Misinformation, has the following to say about avoiding misinformation in writing code:

Make mistakes. Accept that code will be thrown away. Wrong turns aren’t a waste: they tell you where you didn’t want to go, and give you an idea of where you might head another time.

Find a way to be more at home with your work, and to work when you’re at home because it’s natural to do what you do. You can live with alienation, but you don’t want to.

Don’t trust the common wisdom of your technical enclave too far. Stand up, speak out, judge for yourself, and be ready to change your mind.

In other words, failure can be productive. Along these lines, Shane Parrish writes about Carol Dweck’s work on motivation, which divides people into those with the mindset that intelligence and ability is fixed and those who believe that they can be improved. Parrish cites Dweck as saying,

In the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.

So, what’s important is one’s attitude—or mindset—towards failure and learning.

Idries Shah makes a similar comment:

You yourself are your own barrier – rise from within it. —Hafiz

Part of being “your own barrier” is, as Bernstein comments, trusting in “common wisdom” without critiquing it, neither being opposed to it nor blindly accepting it. Rather, having a mindset in which, as he states, you “judge for yourself, and be ready to change your mind.” Basically, treat both failure and success as explorations in learning that lead to developing one’s ability.