Jakub Arnold

It Takes More Than 5 Minutes to Form an OpinionSep 22, 2013

As I’m getting older I’m starting to see more and more patterns in people’s behavior, including myself. One of those I realized recently is about the need to love/hate the new thing immediately when it comes out.

It’s been less than a week since iOS 7 came out, some people don’t even have it yet, but everyone has their own opinion. Why? Because it’s easy.

If you’re a designer, you’ll probably think those icons are so ugly, what are they thinking?!. I had the same reaction when I saw it for the first time as well … the feeling of they haven’t put a single thought into this thing. But more often than not this feeling is wrong.

Every time you spend 5 seconds and instantly think you know more about it than the person who’s been doing it for a year, you should stop and realize you’re most likely wrong.

There’s a lot of thought that comes into creating something new. If you’re trying to be innovative it might take a lot of iterations to produce something which doesn’t feel completely wrong. During that time you’ll find lots of solutions which seem to fit the problem, but after a little more time you’ll realize they don’t fit it at all.

This phase requires a lot of patience and digging deep into stuff, but you need to go through it to do things properly.

The moment I saw iOS 7 I instantly had that bullshit reaction, but I completely changed my mind after I started using the beta. A lot of things there don’t make sense from the superficial point of view, but they do make sense once you dig in.

Seeing just a few screens is completely different from holding the thing in your hand for a couple of hours straight and playing around with the thing. A lot of ideas are hidden behind the surface and it takes time to discover them.

If you think those thousands of people didn’t think of something you found in the first 5 seconds, think again. Or do you really believe all of them are that stupid and you’re the only brilliant person who found this?

As I grow older I’m starting to realize that a lot of things have a hidden meaning. Something I wasn’t able to see before, because my ego wouldn’t let me. I would feel absolutely convinced that something is true and everyone else is wrong, and I wouldn’t stop for one second to think about this. Did I really believe that I’m the only person who understands? It sounds really silly when I look back and think about these things. This mentality just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Being a software developer (or an engineer, or a consultant, whatever you prefer) I am really inclined to think this way. There are so many times when you think you know all the answers. The time when you are absolutely convinced that something is what you think it is. That primal feeling of confidence.

But so many times you are just proven to be wrong 3 minutes later.

Is the feeling justified in that case? Maybe you were hunting down a bug, you had a feeling of where it’s going to be, maybe you even blamed it on someone else and convinced your team that you didn’t cause the problem. Then 5 minutes pass and someone discovers that you overlooked a tiny thing which changes everything and proves you wrong.

Do you still feel confident after this? Do you still blame it on someone else? Or just admit it was your fault, shatter your confidence and ego, crawl into a hole and cry in depression?

Now these are just a few examples of the same issue. We people often feel too confident too soon, even when we don’t have any reason to be. Maybe it’s our defense mechanism which forces us to form a strong opinion, maybe it’s just the easy way out.

Making decisions is hard, but having opinions is easy, especially easy when you don’t think about it. There are virtually no consequences, other than being perceived as a shallow person who doesn’t care about the deep beauty of things.

Our current world is forcing us to act on impulse and react quickly. We are constantly under stress and forced to multitask. Just stop for a second and think about what you’re doing.

Your body is on an autopilot, driving itself from morning to evening every day, and your mind is asleep. Stop and think deeply about what you’re doing. Think about what you’re reading. Think about why you’re reading this. Think about what you could be doing instead of this. Think about what you did last week at the same time, or last year, or ten years ago.

Live in the present and enjoy every moment.

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