Friday, April 22, 2011

Illusions of Grandeur and Agreement

I just finished watching Adam Savage presenting at maker faire.  It’s a pretty great talk. Kinda. 

Here’s what I’m taking away:
“Set deadlines for personal projects”


But about 22 minutes in I become pretty dissatisfied, and I want to talk about why:
 I am agreeing with Adam about everything.

Everything? Yep, It ALL makes sense. I know it ALL already... Now do I believe that if I was to sit down and actually do something with Adam that everything would be great? No disagreement? Nothing to learn? 
Of course not. That’s a stupid idea. There would be tons to learn probably in the first 22 minutes. So why am I “sitting down with him now” and not disagreeing? I think my girlfriend, Lynn Langit  who happens to be a Microsoft Evanglist, said it best today:

Evangelist seek to make everyone in the room feel smart,
 Trainers try to make everyone in the room be smarter”

This illusion of agreement is starting to bug me more and more. I don’t want to spend and hour feeling smart. I want to be smarter, but I think I’m a bit odd in this. Odd not just in the desire to learn, but in my reaction when I am, or am not, learning.

There is an interesting video from Veritasium about this.
Learning involves some disagreement. So next time you are watching someone talk, ask yourself “Am I agreeing with everything?”  If you are there is probably a miscommunication going on. 

I am constantly reminded of the training scene from ‘The Matrix’:

Morpheus: How did I beat you? 
Neo: (breathing hard) You... you're too fast. 
Morpheus: Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place? 
Neo: (Shakes Head No)
Morpheus: Do you think that's air you're breathing now?
Neo: (Stops breathing hard)

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