Friday, September 9, 2011

I really should stop doing this

My usual slapdash method when I feel like I'm on to something is to write out roughly what I think the function probably should look like, and then pepper it with statements like
print("This function won't work, dummy") 
at the no result ends of what I think are correctly formed functions. Invariably every one of them goes off when I run the code.
The solution is to set aside some time and really learn to use things like assert and try/catch, lua supposedly has a nice system for this sort of thing that will give me a lot of detail on where I'm wrong and improve my efficiency pretty severely. Sooo maybe soon. Maybe real soon. I don't know if I wrote this before or if somebody else did, but I'm calling it a Law: "You will learn something when the pain of not knowing it becomes greater than your perception of the pain of sitting down and figuring it out." The perception part is important, whenever I envision a task with more than a few steps I'm prone to suddenly feel like some poor prehistoric chump pulling a block in Giza. The fantasy of how dull this complex task you have to do will be is often plenty of motivation to continue doing whichever unproductive but however-marginally pleasure generating activity you are currently engaged in. More than a small part of the overwhelming effort that seems necessary to log out of the website, put down the crack pipe, finish the novel, refactor the code, etc. is to overcome that initial fantasy about how much ball-bustingly hard work is going to be involved in reaching the result. It's true, but we are really not good about estimating the future, as human beings, we get emotional and we're naturally clumsy with time and we have great imaginations, and yes, often some of the small, short-term, easily accomplished sub-tasks that need to be completed at any and every phase of the plan are actually kind of unpleasant and tedious, sure, of course, but it's a mistake to imagine every second is going to be like that!

Right, well . . the point is, if you can recognize that initial wave of resistance is going to come at you every time you try to self-motivate, you can at least brace yourself for it or try to . . dive under it . . surfing metaphor yeah . .  the imaginator's best friend is his worst enemy . .      

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