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Mental Simulations - Information (A)Symmetry

Published 5/13/2019

When we're given a choice to make the first thing we do is try to create the candidates, options and places we can go. We try to judge these options immediately. Sometimes we create false options to push us toward the one we think is right.

In today's episode we're talking about different ways we can uncover new options that you didn't think existed to make more informed decisions.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Our experience as humans is a difficult one to wrap our intellectual minds around. Because our intellect is part of that experience and often what we can see clearly from the outside looking in is totally obscured from the inside looking out. This is why we often have critical feedback for another person that seems obvious to us. But we very rarely have the same level of critical feedback for ourselves. And if you've been listening to the show for very long at all that shouldn't come as a surprise, there are so many things that keep us from reasoning properly. And these are not all bad things. Sometimes our reasoning gets in the way of action. It may get in the way of us making a decision about something that doesn't really matter very much, for example. And so we can thank our quick thinking or reactionary brains for taking care of us and thank it for being right most of the time. But there are moments in our lives, there are crucial moments in our lives where our mental awareness, our perception of what's going on can drastically change a decision that we make. And sometimes those decisions have major effects in our lives. And so I want to talk about those crucial moments and provide you with a mental simulation to try to gain that clarity that you have if you're not trapped inside. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. This is Developer Tea. And this show exists to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in your careers. I want you to ask yourself a question about your career. What was the last turning point? What was the last big open door or shift? Maybe the last person that you met that changed the trajectory of your career? Or maybe it was a simple as you reading a particular page in a book and it changed the way you thought. These turning points in our careers are like shifts in a road. They change our direction, sometimes subtly, but sometimes drastically. And it's important when we come to a shift that we take time to understand. And we slow down and we don't react in the same way that we would react to a low stakes kind of decision. In the last episode, we talked about mental simulations and we're going to continue talking about them in today's episode. And there's a particular simulation that I would encourage you to run when you're faced with a crucial moment in your career. We're going to talk about that simulation right after we talk about today's sponsor, Linode. Linode has been sponsoring Developer Tea for quite a while now. And Linode is a company that is invested in developer happiness. They're invested in developer success. And ultimately, they provide you with an incredible value in the product that they offer. With Linode, you can instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode cloud. You can get a server running in just a few seconds with your choice of Linux distribution, resources, and the node location. Linode also offers dedicated CPU instances. These are designed for consistent, high performing computing needs. Like for example, video encoding or if you wanted to make a game server or busy application server, that's what these dedicated CPU instances are for. Linode provides $20 worth of credit to all new customers. You can build basically anything on Linode. You can have distributed applications, hosted services, websites, your own continuous integration or continuous delivery environments. And Linode has native SSD storage and a 40 gigabit internal network. It's super fast. Go and check it out. Head over to Linode.com slash Developer Tea and use the code Developer Tea2019 at checkout for that $20 worth of credit. That's Linode.com slash Developer Tea. Thanks again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So this mental simulation that we're talking about today is a very simple one. And you've probably heard a simplified version of the simulation. And the idea is to shift your perspective to take on the perspective of someone else. And usually we're talking about this as simply taking on the perspective of another person, someone who isn't yourself, try to embody their perspective. And this can be helpful. But I want you to take the simulation a little bit further. I want you to create the personas. And maybe you have some people who fit these personas, create personas to see your situation through the eyes of. So perhaps you've had a really good mentor in your life. You can use that mentor as a persona and try to observe your situation through that mentor's eyes. What kind of advice would they provide you? How would they react to your emotional or physical or your cognitive responses to your situation? And I want you to create one or two maybe three different personas to imagine your situation from that perspective. You don't have to use someone you know. You can create, for example, a caricature, someone who is overly positive or overly optimistic, someone who is overly forgiving. This can be a useful perspective to start from. Another persona that may be useful perspectives to start from is what is the absolute worst that could happen. This kind of person, this persona would be a caricature of negativity or pessimism. And which you'll notice is that you probably identify with these caricatures and you probably have certain pieces that you identify with. But the caricatures will help you identify things that you may not have on your own. Now the interesting reality is that you are coming up with all of these ideas. You're expanding the way that you can perceive a given situation. None of these caricatures is thinking something that is impossible. That's not the caricature that you want to create. They're all thinking things that are possible. And for you to explore the possibilities, is going to give you a better sense for how to make a decision in a given situation. When we don't step outside of our own thinking, we react to situations rather than truly taking them apart and analyzing them. When you take something apart and you analyze it, you're slowing down and you're forcing your brain to think in that more analytical mode rather than the reactive mode, the slow thinking that we've talked about on the show before. The reactive mode creates a story very quickly and your brain begins to add credibility to that reactive story. It's hard to imagine in your reactive state a myriad of possibilities. Unfortunately, it's also hard to imagine the most positive of possibilities. But when you run a mental simulation where you create these caricatures, these personas, and try to embody them and observe your situation, you give yourself a new perspective as closely to literally as possible. This can be very helpful in diagnosing your situation more thoroughly and getting rid of that negativity bias at least as much as possible. I hope that this mental simulation is helpful for you in your career. I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at developer.t at gmail. Thank you to today's sponsor, Linode. Linode is a long time sponsor of developer.t. They care about the development community. Go and check it out. head over to linode.com slash Developer Teato get started today. Thanks so much for listening to the episode. Developer Tea is produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.