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Harness the Beginner’s Mind

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.

Most debugging is the process of learning more about your application. Marathon, unbroken debugging sessions that examine every detail are sometimes the only way to gather sufficient information and enough focus to identify and tackle a bug.

But there is a tradeoff. During the focused marathon, your mind closes to possibilities. Assumptions become unquestioned facts. You begin to know things that just aren’t true. You don’t consider possibilities that you rejected for unsound reasons.

The “beginner’s mind” is a Zen concept of emptying your mind, so it can be open to new solutions. The power of the beginner’s mind should not be underestimated. A fresh pair of eyes can work wonders. Even a truly empty mind, such as a manager’s, can help.

So, when you’re really stuck, when you’ve looked at the problem in every way you can, when every tool in your toolbox has failed you, take time off to think. Go ride a bike. Take the afternoon off and come back in the evening to give yourself a new perspective. Explain the problem to a friend, a manager, a dog, or the wall. The external challenge to your assumptions is often the catalyst that breaks the barrier down.

by 进化中的兔子 发表于:2010/3/24 21:18:21
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