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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Objections as Goals

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Via Hacker News, I ran across an article apparently focused on a how to convince others to try a new programming work flow its author developed. Whatever the merits of that work flow , the short piece suggests to me a thinking strategy one can use profitably for oneself when encountering new ideas:

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The first step in objections as goals is to invert the statement, make it positive. "I can't make changes in small steps because sometimes I have to change a hundred files," becomes, "I can make changes in small steps when I can change one file at a time," or, "I can make changes in small steps when a single change can modify a hundred files."
When using this for introspection, the goal is to explore the source of one's resistance to a new idea. The results won't necessarily always be to try the new idea, although that is one possible result, and can include trialing the idea or attempting to implement it more intelligently than one might have otherwise. One can also leave with a better understanding of why the idea is bad, or at least not suitable for the situation one might want to apply it to. A further realization could include leads on solving a problem -- the idea might help with something else, or the exploration of the objection might suggest a different solution altogether.

Of course, nobody has time to do this with every new idea that comes down the pike, but it might be good to keep in mind for those times when one finds an idea surprisingly intriguing -- or when one is surprised by, say, the degree of resistance the idea arouses. If nothing else, such an exercise still can lead to valuable introspection about something other than the idea or the specific problems one is thinking about.

-- CAV

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