Believe in magic while you’re learning

July 9, 2023

I find that a small amount of willful belief in magic goes a long way when learning something new.

As an experienced coder, I fall into the trap of prematurely analyzing how something works and constantly peeking under the hood while learning a new library, language, or abstraction. While the desire to disassemble toys to find out how they work is great, it often gets in the way of education.

I often have to force myself to accept magical behavior in order to keep progressing in my studies. Don’t look behind the curtain. Don’t worry too much about how that animation works, or how that sound is generated, or how that data got communicated. That level of curiosity is for later. For now, just accept things at face value—as simply magical—and continue your learning journey.

Remember that your goal is to be a knowledgeable novice at the end of the learning process. Don’t try to be an expert right away.

Don’t let experience get in the way of wonder.