Why I think locking yourself up in a room to study is a bad idea

I’ve been contemplating a lot about what happens and how we grow in our professional capacity. I intend to base my story on the diverse aspects of our environmental influences. To illustrate this, let’s draw an analogy with the human brain.

All brains, including ours, are fascinating products of evolution. One interesting fact is that brain cells are incredibly costly, consuming a significant percentage of the body’s energy. This suggests that the brain serves a vital purpose.

If we trace back its origins through evolutionary history, we find that it developed from single-celled organisms. These cells gradually clumped together, leading to the need for coordination. Over time, specialized cells emerged, and organisms started to develop distinctive features like heads, tails, and other characteristics. Eventually, movement became essential for survival, offering advantages such as escaping predators and accessing food. Animals that could move possessed a significant evolutionary advantage.

The extent of this advantage depends on the complexity of the environment. As our story progresses, we discover that a substantial portion of our current brain is dedicated to social interaction and managing complex social situations, such as the Dunbar number. It’s important to acknowledge that our brain’s complexity is influenced by the complexity of the surrounding environment, extending beyond genetic factors.

So, how does this relate to career advice? It’s naive to think that isolating oneself in a room and immersing solely in studying will lead to success. Our brains have evolved to thrive in complex environments. Therefore, my proposal is to immerse oneself in an environment where survival depends on actively practicing and applying the desired skill. By exposing oneself to a complex environment, such as joining a startup or a company that utilizes the target language or skill, we can effectively enhance our learning.

In contrast, confining oneself to a simple environment solely focused on consuming information, like being isolated in a room, restricts growth and learning potential. Complexity breeds complexity. Thus, to truly learn and excel, one must embrace challenging and dynamic environments that align with their goals and aspirations.

How do you gain new skills for your own practice? Talk to me on my Twitter @jchex


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Software Project Manager