In today's episode of Developer Tea, we're talking about the things we do on a regular basis and how our default behaviors shape the way we approach problem solving strategies when faced with a new situation.
Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What is your problem solving strategy? In the face of uncertainty, how do you proceed on average? That's what we're talking about in today's episode. My name is Jonathan Cutrellllia, listening to Developer Tea. My goal in this show is to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. There is power in a default. This is the underpinning of basically all of the behavioral science books that you're going to read, all of the self-improvement books that you're going to read. If you don't understand this one simple principle, then none of it's going to help you. Because what you do on a regular basis has much more power over your results in life, over your mood, over your surroundings. The things that are repeated have much more of an effect on your life than the things that you do once or twice or occasionally. Now, it's not to say that there are no events that are occasional or that happen only once that can't have a drastic effect on you. Of course, for example, a single major accident can leave you paralyzed, for example, or winning the lottery could leave you with a totally different financial situation than you're currently in. But for the average person, the most important actions, the most important behaviors they can inspect are their default ones. Now, in the past, on this show, I've probably made the mistake of saying that your default behaviors are one and the same as your habits. But there is an important difference that we're going to talk about very briefly. That is that habits happen automatically. They are a subset of our default behaviors just by nature of being a habit. But there are things that happen without us really having to think through it. Our habits don't require a lot of cognitive overhead. But default behaviors may actually require cognitive overhead. Just because you have set something up as your default response in a given scenario doesn't mean that it is easy or that it has become habitual for you. Now, it's possible that you may get into the habit of starting that behavior by default. If you have that by default behavior, you make it into a habit of getting into that behavior before you think about it. For software engineers, very little of our problem solving is actually truly habit in the sense that it's on autopilot. So if these default behaviors matter, then I want you to think while we go and talk about a sponsor, I want you to think for a moment about what your default problem solving behaviors are. Now, let's take a moment to talk about today's sponsor, Educative. For developers, the learning never stops. This is something that we're going to be doing for our whole careers. There are always new languages, frameworks, and technologies. But beyond that, being able to apply these and mix them together, this is an ongoing pursuit. The entire time we are developers, we're going to be learning. Educative.io is going to help you do that. Educative helps you learn faster and more efficiently because instead of video-based courses, which require you to scrub back and forth and go at the pace of the video, Educative uses courses that are all text-based. So you can skim and double back easily, go at your own pace, almost like a book. Each course also contains pre-configured developer environments. So you can practice as you learn and you don't spend your time doing things that don't matter as much, you can get straight to that learning. They just launch subscriptions at almost 50% off. This is a great time to go and check it out. You also get an additional 10% off for being a listener of this show. Head over to Educative.io slash Developer Teato get started today. Thanks again to Educative for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So hopefully you can identify what your default problem-solving behaviors are. For example, your default problem-solving behavior may be to go and read the code. Read the code that's associated with this particular problem that you're trying to solve. Or a default behavior might be to talk to the person who told you about the problem. Try to learn a little bit more about what they were doing or what they were trying to do and what went wrong. Or maybe your default behavior is to talk to the person who wrote the code. And there's a hundred other default behaviors that you could have. But whatever that first step is, I want you to consider what that step is, number one, and then number two, how could you change your default problem-solving behavior to be better? Better is an ambiguous term because everyone who's listening to the show has a unique scenario where they are solving these problems. So the default behavior for one person may not necessarily work well for another person. So it depends on your goals and it depends on your context. But consider, most people have an easy answer to this, how could your default problem-solving improve? Your default problem-solving behavior improve. One way, for example, that it might improve is to break the problem down into its smallest pieces. Try to thoroughly understand what's happening at the lowest level of that problem. Maybe often the opposite happens where we assume a lot about a problem as a way of trying to make sense of what's going on. Our reasoning brains are writing the story for us before we can really have evidence to back up our story and we're using our intuition or a gut or maybe some kind of memory connection about some code that is involved in this particular problem. And this can come back to HANAS because our assumptions may lead us down entirely wrong paths. Sometimes we're pouring over code that has no discernible issue at all. So your homework, once again, is to investigate your own default problem-solving behaviors. Now if you're not sure what they are, one thing you can do is ask your coworkers, ask them, how do you see me typically solving problems? What do you think my kind of mode of operation is when I'm trying to solve a problem? You might get some different answers from different people, but it's likely that at some point you'll find a theme and those answers are going to converge on that theme. As you encounter new problems in your job on a day-to-day basis, consider how am I responding to this problem? What is my immediate response, the response that I don't really have to consider deeply? And then how could I improve that immediate response? Our default behaviors have come from somewhere and we shouldn't despise ourselves for having them. But we can look at those default behaviors and inspect whether or not it might make sense to change them. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you again to Educator for sponsoring today's episode. How do we do Educator.io slash Developer Teato get 10% off of their text-based courses? That's Educator.io slash Developer Tea. Remember, if you don't want to miss out on future episodes like this one, then go ahead and subscribe to whatever podcasting app you're currently using. And if you want us to continue making this show possible, one way you can help is to go and leave a review in iTunes. This helps in two ways. The first way is the obvious one. It gives me clear feedback and direction on how to make the show better. But the second one is, well, this one's probably still obvious. This helps other people like you find and decide to listen to Developer Tea. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. And until next time, enjoy your tea.