Forgetting Is An Important Skill. Learn It.

What is the biggest challenge to learning new things. I submit it is getting around things you already know. Old things prevent the integration of new things. You will recognize it by the statement, it is like old thing except for some aspect of new thing.

Quite often new things in total are not like anything that existed before. Some aspects of them are similar though, and that makes the new hard to accept because it is not “new enough” to seem different.

Change is always painful

Also necessary. How often do you see Kodak as a big business? Not often. Kodak invented digital imaging. Xerox invented the graphic interface and the mouse. Change required new behaviour they were unprepared to accept. New is not enough.

“Change is not compulsory, but then neither is survival.” W. Edwards Deming

Kodak and Xerox learned important things, but they did not learn what to do with them. They could have but the change would have been too painful for them. Disruptive of their well-established business.

Others disrupt if you do not.

Is intuition a problem?

In some ways, Yes. Intuition about the new used merely to fit the new into the existing fabric of old is not helpful. The accumulation of that sort of thinking will lead to vast gaps between what we believe and what is real.

Take the evolution of microchips and computers. A person could have easily fallen into the habit of arguing an integrated circuit was like an electrical circuit, just smaller. A hard drive is like a filing cabinet but faster. A microprocessor is like a a slide rule with more flexibility. The problem with this sort of thinking is eventually something will come along that no longer fits your paradigm. Usually an unexplainable application of the technolgy. Like the internet, or the iPhone.

Then there is a discontinuity to deal with.

People have real problems with discontinuities.

I think you could argue the evolution of a modern notebook computer is clear enough. I know for certain that the evolution is only visible in retrospect. It is not like building a house from a pile of sticks, plumbing fixtures, wire, and concrete. The path was not easy. Many setbacks and false starts.

Once you have a modern computer, you can do things not possible before. People learn to fit those new capabilities into their daily life. Young people do it intuitively because they know no other way. Old people have to think about it. In this case old is over about 25.

People have trouble with the effects of discontinuity

It is not just the technology. It is what the technology means. It is theoretically possible to derive a value for Pi to a quadrillion decimals. (The current record is 33.4 trillion decimal places.) It is not practical without a computer. Speed of solution of any problem is a factor in how fast the next problem is solved. Complex problems have underpinning pieces and until you solve them the larger problem remains. Computers speed up solutions and provide faster input for the next step.

In some ways each solution permits a new problem. Seeing an answer often gives insight into a better problem. If one tries to stay in the old paradigm, however contorted, no new and good problems come up.

New and better questions are the future.

We must learn to forget selectively.

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones” John Maynard Keynes

We must all become students. Learning is what will keep us current with the present possibilities and thus the future. Think about what new technology means. Where will the efficiences be most valuable?

Learning is not optional unless you are willing to admit you will become obsolete. Many of our political and social issues arise from using old ideas to address new situations. Like nuclear reactors. The ones we think about were designed with a sliderule. Would you expect a new design to be better, cheaper, safer, and easier to maintain? Why do we not have such a design? We do, but people are afraid to implement it.

Life should not be so difficult.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. 705-927-4770

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