Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Half formed things - 1

Perhaps my biggest weakness is not seeing ideas or projects to completion. Invariably, I take a lot of interest in the problem formation, in understanding everything about the thing in great, minute detail, chalking out an algorithm for the problem, at which point, one would think, or at least I end up thinking, that all the challenging parts are taken care of, and what remains is a mechanical implementation of all the hard work done so far. And then I start on this often tedious but rather critical second part, and almost always lose interest mid-way during this part, and divert my attention to another problem, with which, too, I similarly lose interest while I'm mid-way in the implementation part, and so on.

The result is that I have a lot of incomplete things. Incomplete data science projects, incomplete essays on economics, half-read books, quit training regimens, incomplete short stories. 

Recently in a conversation of some sort I was asked what I thought my big weaknesses were, and I had replied that in the trade-off between exploitation (of acquired skills) and exploration (for learning new things), I tend to veer towards exploration more than what I think is ideal. I was asked, then, if I felt that adversely affected my precision or throughput. Now since I was asked the question in a way that gave me two options, I think it restricted me to thinking only in within the bounds of these two consequences, and after some musing, I found that it did not affect my precision as much as it did my throughput. I now think that what I was reflecting upon when I said that was a rather sugar-coated, roundabout way of saying what I'm saying in this post: that I leave stuff incomplete, except that the bounded way of thinking I had been set into prevented me from getting to it with quite this clarity. It is not the throughput, either, that suffers per se, since I'm actually making decent progress per unit time, between any two points of time, only it never feels as such, because the said progress is predominantly lopsided in the first part, and has very little in the implementation part, which actually produces tangible, touchable output.

If there is one thing I find should be my topmost priority at this stage in terms of improving in a work-ethic sense, it is to start to make sure to finish things. I will write some more on this as I get any lucky insights on how to bring about this change, but for now, a diagnosis is all I have.

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