Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Subconscious vs Conscious Learning

When I teach my father how to use the computer, he tries hard to take note and remember each step of the process.

Curiously, I have seen exactly the same habit on people of the same generation of my father.

First, they note the process, then practice the process, then become fluent enough to execute without thinking anymore.
That's the first step of the Shu Ha Ri. The first step of the journey is repeatition, the first step is to obey.

This is a very important technique to learn, because it is the only know way to teach something to your subconscious. When Subconscious knows, you don't have to be conscious to do any task anymore.

When students ask me for some keyboard shortcut I use in Visual Studio, I sometime look at them with a blank stare : "I don't know what I've just done". And then I need to reach a keyboard and see how my hand is moving on it to know the keyboard shortcut I just typed.
That's because keyboard shortcuts moved out of my conscious mind, and now live into my subconscious.

And as marketer, politician and other brainwasher knows : To teach something to your subconscious you have to repeat. Every single day. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Then your action will reflect without thinking what your subconscious listened.

You can use this fact to manipulate people, but you better off using it to learn what really matter for you. I call that Subconscious learning because the goal is to teach something to your subconscious.

Subconscious learning is great for things that involve repeatable tasks. That's great to give responses.
But you subconscious never ask question your subconscious accept fact as is. Your conscious is responsible to ask questions and filter things for your subconscious.

As I said in previous post, this era evolves fast. And so now we value more and more how to ask great questions over giving great responses. Google can give lots of response if you can ask him the right question. That's a great era for artists. Because by definition artists don't work with a blueprint.
By this very same definition, there is no dichotomy between artist and scientist. A scientist is an artist. The goal of the scientist is not to give responses.
The goal of the scientist is to ask questions in a way that responses are evident.
That's what Einstein did with the theory of relativity.

When I teach, I use subconscious learning for repeatitive task "Compile with F6, Run with F5, Stop debug with Shift+F5, shows the smart tag with CTRL+;"... I repeat, and do it every single day.

But most of my work and knowledge is ephemere. What I just teached you might already be obsolete, but it does not make it useless. Why ? Not because you will be able to maintain old application... we don't care.
It is not useless because what I'm teaching you is to ask the great questions.

Why is it important ?
This technology is something I learnt by myself yestersday.
I can give a course on it and respond to your question, but that's not because I repeated.
It is not because of god's grace that made me fast to learn.
It is because I learned to ask great question about the problem this technology solves.
Whenever I ask, my subconscious, or google respond. Fast and accurately.
Google is a collective subconscious. It accepts what we tell him, give answers, and never ask.

I'm not your subconscious, I'm not better than google, so I don't care you know how to spell Heigth correctly. However, I will teach you how to ask "Winform Height Form" in Google.

... Except if you hire me for consulting stuff, I don't give answer, as teacher, I will make sure you ask the right question.

The teacher reaches his goal when its students can live by themselves.

Learning to ask good questions is what I call conscious learning, and it's well suited for ephemere knowledge, or to learn any skill that does not have blueprints.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Learning to learn

I always try to teach to my students to ask the right question, I never care about a right response.
In fact, most of the time asking for response is only a trick for the trainer to engage the audience... not really to make them progress directly.

Why ? Because nowadays a well formulated question always bring up the right response in Google.

Development newbies often wonders how I remember so much thing about development. I don't.
The memory is only in my fingertips muscle, or in Google... I have very bad memory.

I know the right vocabulary, so I know how to ask the right questions. Having asked lots of question during my career as programmer, I can infer response I did not know or never seen.

That bring me to the first tip I tell to new students in programming :

"You have OOP courses, and we will use technology X to train the principles.
The goal of this course is not to learn technology X, and the goal is not to learn OOP for its own sake, you are here to learn to learn by yourself any other technology that use OOP on earth."

When they ask me a question about technology X, I train them to ask me the right question in OOP term.
Once they asked me the right question : first I give them the response, second, I copy/paste the question in Google and with amazement they find what I said, with even more details.

Now asking question is harder than giving response... too bad that schools teach the latter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Work-Life Balance Bullshit

Our social environment teaches us that life is divided in two parts. The professionnal and the personal life.
This begin from school where your world is divided between school and house. And, as most of us, you did not like school.

By extension, it taught to your subconscious mind that your time should be divided in two parts : the "good part", and the "bad part" that is necessary to make a living.

Lie, lie, lie. This lie will trick your mind to hate your work, whatever how good it is. And it will trick your mind to love your leisure time, whatever the crap that is printing in your head.

You have the responsability to make your life great whatever the time of the day it is.
No one should make you believe that you need to do something you don't want because that is the way life is. This can be his life, but it is not yours. He just messed up his life, but you won't.

I have the chance to be free of my time, and at first I thought that working less (and getting more leisure time) would be great for me. That's wrong.
Being bored is as bad as getting burnt out. There is no separation between work and leisure both can be great or just crap.

What make your imagination flourish will make your life better. Curiosity is the process of feeding imagination from others (or nature) idea.
Work or leisure ? No such things should exist.
The only two way to spend your time is : Let your imagination shines or let your mind rot... Both "Home" and "work" should be the support that help to make your imagination shine.

We live in a splendid era. Imagination was never so much valued, knowledge is nothing but a raw material for imagination. Idea, the product of imagination, was never able to spread so fast, and bring so much money to the creative person.
Creativity is not reserved to art, your whole life should support this creativity.

We got a brain for this life, it is our responsability to use it to it's fullest.
That's a shame that most of people waste it, and kill it passed the sixth birthday.