Though the human brain is the most innovative instrument on earth, we remain a conservative species. Most of us relapse to old ways of thinking even when we think we are doing something new. Our brain’s “similar equals identical” mechanism, which comes from experience, is both a good and bad adaptation. Relying on experience, which is how we make sense of the world, how we learn, how we build civilization, is sufficient for most workaday matters. [Read more…] about Think Fresh: When Is a Hammer Not a Hammer?
Navigating The Many Dangers of Experience
As with “expert,” the root of experience is “experiri,” a Latin word meaning “to try out.” People with a lot of experience should be willing to try new things, as their knowledge should provide more context and points of view, enable more exploration of an issue, and minimize risk with decisions. However, highly experienced people tend to fall into the habits of the past. Once we have accumulated a valuable base of knowledge, experience provides a useful shortcut for decision making. Relying on experience is very fast and very efficient, but it is also potentially very dangerous. Operating with the least effort possible, the brain retrieves whatever quickly seems to fit. We apply past patterns to the future. Rather than call upon its amazing creativity, too often the brain works as nothing but a huge storage bin of precedents.
Because “close is good enough” as our brain fills in the blanks, we [Read more…] about Navigating The Many Dangers of Experience