What do I learn – Week 1 – Innovation and Hard/Smart Work

This week is a bit more challenging, with plenty of content and less time, but with effort, I will certainly be able to learn even more than I have planned this week. 

What I learned today is that this “essay” does not have to have a rigid format, so I think it would be more appropriate to do it as a journal, write it in a more personal way (like this introduction) to better organize my thoughts and even serve as notes for the future. 

First of all: Learn to learn 

Before starting studying like always I do, first I need to figure out what to do and how to retain that new knowledge. In order to do that we need to understand our brain first. 

First of all, we have two ways to think, focused and diffuse. The first time I heard this I think we have to get into the focus mode and avoid diffuse mode at all cost, but it doesn’t exactly work like that. Is likely most like a ping-pong game with the thoughts being the ball bouncing from focused to diffuse. 

This is because when we are focused some parts of our brain turn on, but others are still off, and those only work when we’re in diffuse mode. Also, when we learn something new, new connections are made in our brain cells, but those get stronger with practice and diffuse mode. 

That’s why when we are learning new things is important to sleep properly, being relaxed helps your brain to communicate properly with your unconscious mind, making strong cells patterns and store new things in the long-term memory warehouse. 

Further reading: A mind for numbers by Barbara Oakley. 


Autopilot is a growing problem. It is becoming our default mode of operating in our modern life.  

This problem of autopilot is important because it makes us make choices that don’t add anything to our lives and get compromises that we don’t want. 

With the “Autopilot Britain” reading I learn the 3 main triggers of unconscious decision making, that are: 

  • Distracted, too busy to take decisions. 
  • Tech make us sleepwalk into our choices.
  • Tyranny of perfection.

To solve this personal problem is crucial to first know the types of autopilots personalities: 

  • The pleasers: People to find hard to say “no”. (Personally, I belong to this group).
  • The pacers: They can’t be doing nothing, always needs to find which one is the next task.
  • The passengers: Is people that can’t make their own decisions, and, in order to avoid that responsibility, leaves other people make their decisions.

But we can turn our passive and unconscious habits into active and positive ones. This will allow us to reconnect with what really matters: 

  • Avoid comparisons with perfection. 
  • Be more intentional.
  • Lead the life you want to live.
  • Deeping your relations and connections.

The value of the ideas 

Very often on my software engineer, we meet people with distorted ideas of … Well, their ideas. 

Most people misunderstand how valuable is an idea, after reading Ideas are just a multiplier of execution, I figured it out, the ideas do not necessarily have value unless they can be executed. 

You can have the most awesome idea for the next trending app, but if don’t have the mediums to make it happen then you have nothing. 


The general process is the circle in which we live while we do things. 

When you work in a team you might not be included in all the phases of the process. But you still need to be part of it, you need to know the past references and also where the project is going to be. 

That’s why is very important to have personal tools to keep track of the project, like journals, graphics, and personal notes. 

One of the things that I learned that took me by surprise was that we don’t start knowing the problem, but the manifestation of a problem, and before you try anything you need the observe the manifestation, get data about it, analyze that data, and with all that create a hypothesis. 

Once you have all that data and a good understanding of what’s going on, you should end with more than one problem that is causing the manifestation you notice, and here is where you start to research if someone else has solved this problem before. 

Then, when all is clear you have good documentation and knowledge of the problems, you start to implement a solution slowly by modeling and prototyping to observe if it is a solution or if something is wrong with your hypothesis. 

And finally, once the work is done is important to document all you learn (like this blog), all new ideas, or inclusive some improvements for the future. 

Dealing with people 

One of the most imprescindible skills, not only for work or business but the life is the social skill. Unfortunately, that is one of which people who like and study software development lack off. 

Personally, I like to talk with people, but dealing with talk with new people and show confidence is something I need to work on. 

Reading “how to talk to anyone” by Leil Lownes I learn some tricks that help to talk to other people that you don’t know, how to show confidence by having contact eye, and some preparation for some usual questions (like, where are you from?). 

That lecture was really useful because it focus more on the “how to do” instead of “what to do”. 

Another important thing about our relationship with others is that we need to communicate what bothers us about others, especially speaking about couples (but not exclusively). 

Is not just a big conflict that ends a relation, is more a symptom than a cause, there are little things that can make slowly a scar tissues. 

Being more open and communicative can stop the scar tissue. 

Mastering Anything 

Practice is something important without a doubt to be able to be a master of something, but more than just make “hours” of study, is important how to focus all that information and new knowledge. 

One of the more important things is to try to avoid hitting a comfort zone and never said “I know enough of my profession”, which will just deny new knowledge. 

What differentiates teachers of a discipline from others is that they can make mental representations about the actions they are going to perform. 

Further reading: PEEK: How to master almost anything by Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool. 

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