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Getting to a variable understanding

In every system, there are key variables, concepts, and properties.

For instance, imagine you’re creating a garden.

You want to make sure that every season, something is blooming.

You have to know the types of plants that exist, what conditions they need, how long they take to grow, when they bloom…

If you learn all that, you can imagine all the possible combinations that would make a beautiful garden in your mind. You can quickly go through experiments in your head and see if things are right or not, saving you the time to play out all these variations in reality.

The same can work for music. You understand the instruments, the tempo, the timing,… and as a result you can write music in your mind.

The same is for programming. You know the functions, the classes, the UI elements and can quickly architect a working program.

If you take the time to reduce an area of expertise to the most important variables, items, or concepts and learn about their properties, you can save massive amounts of time by simulating a result in your mind and making changes at the speed of thought. Einstein and others called this Gedankenexperiment.

The prerequisite for that is what I call the variable understanding.

To get to it:

  • Absorb relevant information (reading, videos, visuals)

  • Chop it into individual meaningful blocks (main points, key properties, patterns)

  • Internalize and memorize them (remember school?)

  • Use them in your original work (be it a garden, a composition or a program)

And learn from others in your field who have a variable understanding of it to simplify it for you — like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk for business or Seth Godin and Jay Abraham for marketing.

Construct your variable system to run thought experiments through.