mindstorms: on debugging as it relates to building habits28 Jul 2017
one of the more interesting things i’m doing this summer is participating in an online, virtual book club. i will probably write about the backstory of me joining the book club on colab radio sometime, but for now, i wanted to write about this one section in the book. oh, i guess i should say that the book is called mindstorms, it’s by seymour papert, and you can find the entire text online here.
this week, the reading was chapters 3 & 4 and this one section resonated with me strongly.
“The worst conditions for debugging are created when several bugs are present simultaneously. The debugging process is especially effective if the modules are small enough for it to be unlikely that any one contains more than one bug.”
now, this whole chapter (4: Languages for Computers and for People), imo, is about how the the computer and learning how to use it opens up/creates an entire vocabulary, which then creates an entire culture that can use that vocabulary. well, at the very least, the new vocabulary shifts an existing culture. that’s a pretty cool idea and i think it makes a lot of sense. but i digress…
the reason these lines resonated with me was because they’re basically the exact same advice i give to folks in my coaching practice when i’m supporting them to build habits: it’s always better to focus on building one habit than trying to build multiple. the reasons i usually give are things like:
if you build one habit successfully, you’ll feel more confident doing it again with another one
the feeling of failure is a critical destructor to the learning and, consequently, habit-building process. if you fail at building multiple habits, it reduces the likelihood that you’ll try to build any, even one, in the future
this logic line about debugging also makes a ton of sense and i’ll be adding that to the list of reasons, too. when focusing on just one habit, it’s much easier to isolate and determine what’s work and what’s not.
words / writing / post-processing
308w / 11min / 19min