Igor Bubelov About Blog Photos

Getting Rid of Bad Knowledge

June 29, 2021

Bad habits are hard to break. The first step is to realize that some of your actions are wrong and things can be and should be improved, but it’s not the hardest part. Staying at your “local maximum” is very appealing. For instance, I spent many years looking at my keyboard while typing. I got kind of good at it. I didn’t type fast, but my typing speed was kind of tolerable.

It took a lot of time and effort to learn how to type properly, and my typing speed fell of a cliff for several months after I switched to touch typing. It took me a while just to reach my old speed, but once I did it, I was able to beat my old records with ease. Focusing my eves on screen also allowed me to notice mistakes faster, shortening the feedback loop. In order to learn something good, we often need to identify the things we’re doing wrong and actively un-learn some bad stuff.

For me, learning is pleasure, but I really, really don’t like to un-learn things. It feels like a fight against myself, but it pays off in the long run. Fun fact, John Maynard Keynes had a few things to say about focusing too much on long-term thinking:

In the long-term we are all dead

That’s also worth reflecting on.