Sunday, July 13, 2008

If then else...

For those of us in the software business, 'if then else' is all too familiar. Most of our code is made up of writing lines after lines of code to handle all sort of exceptions that may come to the program in terms of inputs or other conditions raised by the software ecosystem. I read somewhere that there is more code in every program to handle exceptions than providing the functionality. It may take only few lines to get a program do what we expect it  to do in ideal conditions. Most of the other lines of code are to handle if this happens or that happens. Thus  the terminology - if then else.

Recently a friend of mine opened me up to another aspect of 'if then else' syndrome in our daily lives. Look at everything we do. It is full of 'if then else'. He made a case that our lives have become complicated because of this uncontrolled 'if then else'. Every time we think of doing something, we start thinking about all possibilities. Some idea comes to mind and then come plethora of 'if then else' pop up. Mind, having limited processing power and not being instruction oriented, can not process all these conditions. Result - confused mind. My friend has changed his philosophy to this - do whatever comes to mind first. If something has come to mind, it has not come just like that. Without your knowing, it has already been internally processed and that's the only reason why it has risen up to your conscious mind. If the particular idea was not a good one, sub-conscious would have killed it much before it bubbled up to conscious. So, if our sub-conscious has already done the processing, why do we want to engage in the futile effort of further analyzing it when we know that processing power of our conscious mind is so damn limited? Simplest way to put all this is- power of instruction. I also agree with some theories that say that  more intellectual we get, less intuitive we get. Left brain has its own place but thinking that we can figure everything out is a fallacy.

My friend has since then started doing whatever comes to his mind. He just does not think twice. I asked him how well he has fared. He said he has been relieved much off late from the burden of over taxed mind. He stopped exploring all possibilities.' Just do it' is his philosophy. With several examples, he also made case that majority of his actions have turned out fine. Some actions taken based on first thought have been wrong but he could reverse them without much problem. Another benefit is he has been able to accomplish more. I thought how that is possible. I understood if you act more and think less, certainly you have more probability of accomplishing something more. So, increase the probability by doing more and thinking less.

For many of us, this is going to take fairly long time. First we have to take a step back and convince ourselves that intuition is the best logic. Secondly, we should open up to having to clean up the mess more often than not. But, being able to act more is important I can not think of a better way than 'just do it'. Otherwise, more thinking and more confusion.


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