Why Am I Doing This Thinking Online

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online - Alex TothIn the last couple of days I had some debate with my wife on why writing everything down. This can be an annoying habit sometimes, I admit. Though, there is a long way towards I could say I’m exaggerating  Only trying to get out the best of me, and the situation at hand. Then I took some time for really thinking about it. All my big ideas implementation followed through to completion and all accomplishments came like this. Cause what good is a god given strike of genius that only happens into your head, when it dies being forgotten the second day, never having the chance of being transmuted into reality?

This crystallized my vision on approaching problems, and realized all is well confirmed by my previous experiences in life, both by successes and missed opportunities. In the same time, this clarifies (to me for first) my activity here, on this site.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas A. Edison 

1. I have an interest for online / multimedia , almost a hobby.

Having completed the multimedia specialization of the Timisoara Telecommunication faculty, I acquired some skills in internet technologies, having them appealing to me in their aesthetics and directly palpable result of your work. I now work in a completely different domain, but still following with some interest internet technology advancements and development of more and more sophisticated online apps and their each day more intuitive interfaces.

Someday, even our grandparents will find this technology natural, all I hope this day won’t come when we are them.

2. Helps clarifying and organizing my thoughts.

Have you ever felt confident in your know-how, but then just couldn’t find the handles to grab a challenge? Or feeling your thoughts zipping around, full or ideas and solutions for various problems, but still can’t proceed forwards, feeling paralyzed and confused by their speed and numbers. Sometimes they contradict or neutralize each other, clarity missing and cannot see the obvious. Or completely unrelated items come in and disturb your thought-flow?

Again, thinking on paper proves to be the best and less power consuming work approach, to me. You write down much slower than you think, though only capturing the important and relevant thoughts. Then the visual of it comes into action helping you see more relations between items and even generating new highly useful ideas ensuing from here, the very next step in the chain. You can see the entire chain of relations and inter-dependencies simultaneously, though helping you finding the unnecessary items in the chain, or defect links, or even shortcuts that allow achieving your goal much easily.

I believe that a deep and long-chain thinking process can not happen aside of writing. Your volatile (short-term) memory is limited in positions available for the links of this chain. Your ‘RAM’ has only that amount of places (7 according to George Miller), and just going back to the right position necessitates too much mind processing power, taking it away form the figuring out of the next step, which is in fact the real creative and valuable activity, not the already clear facts parsing.

3. Helps better sediment what I learn, a deeper understanding and feeling of it.

I’m an avid learner, or at least think to be. There are a lot more interesting material I would like to study than there’s physical time to do. But then, not all thinks igniting my curiosity have the same importance, to me, and to my path.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. – Albert Einstein

Then the things with the real impact should be permanently nail-hammered into one’s understanding. For that end, writing things down, trying to structure them in writing and then trying to explain to others as well, structure the very items much better for yourself, clearly, into the permanent memory.

4. Helps better identifying my being.

Are you sure you know who you are? Are you certain that is your due, or you have much to do with your identity, principles or way or thinking and action?

I am not sure you are more than adaptive processes that learn the environment and how to interact with it, more alike the learning able machines we are building lately. If you don’t believe that just study a baby in it’s first months / year of life, how he’s incorporating behavior based on trial and error and on copying the ones around. Then he builds more and more sophisticated behaviors combining elements from this foundation. An empty mind filling up with the happenings of the past and their interpretation and rewriting.

We see things not as They are, but as We are. – H. M. Tomlinson
In the end, all boils down to patterns. Who you are and what / how you do things is an intricate construct of automatisms.

These automatisms you have learned (or more accurately put: were imprinted in your mind) from birth to this point in your life: experiences, learned ways to cope with situations you may not even be aware of. Of course, you may push things tend towards the direction you want, but how you identify what to change, and more important find something completely new to replace with? One answer is by documented experiment (the scientific method), go out your comfort zone, and write.

I think writing things down enables you identifying patterns, though helping you really make a change when you think is necessary. Otherwise, I’m afraid we remain slaves of habit, not even knowing what is holding us back.

5. Try starting up a conversation with others in my situation for mutual benefit and faster progress.

I’m not alone any more doing this job for my company. Nevertheless, I’m still curios about the ways people are working on system engineering all over the place, others than the big standard setting organizations like NASA or Microsoft or Oracle. I’m looking to find others passionate about their job, still wanting to believe that loving one’s job is not a rare feature.

6. Networking.

I haven’t looked out in the world so far. Maybe these are insignificant steps in trying to connect. But networks like Facebook or Twitter and the alike are not for me. And LinkedIn .. yes LinkedIn seems great. But it’s populated, at least in my field, with people way beyond my level of experience. Nice to read some conversations, though.

Then, even if this might look as shouting in an empty tunnel, this is a more personal and self-representing way of connecting, that I think can bring more satisfaction in proportion with the effort put in it.

7. Improve both technical and non-technical writing skills.

By the nature of my job, I write a lot. Mostly predetermined, fixed structure phrases, as the goal of requirement engineering is clarity and easy understanding, not literature. Now, this is my opportunity to step out of this rigid communication frame and combine technical writing with a more personal thought expressing fashion.

Writing, like in any domain generally exercise improves a skill, teaches how to quickly put down an idea into words, improves vocabulary and generally communication skills. You would be amazed how many individuals lack this skill in today’s business world. This one skill has helped me tremendously in my job so far, and I’m convinced this is the one skill which perpetually polished, can bring the greatest benefit of all.

8. Keeps me on the edge of my knowledge and skill-set, helps stretching boundaries and comfort zone inevitably leading to growth and faster progress.

Maybe this point shouldn’t come least, as it’s one of the greatest resulting advantages. Well documenting my articles and opinions takes me to reading way beyond I would do just driven by passion. Things that are now clear will never achieve the state where they cannot be improved any more. Or I find better ways elsewhere. Or just stumble upon things I would have never thought about. Fascinating!

At the end, I leave you with this amazing talk from TED:




  • my thinking and experiences
  • wikipedia and google
  • and my wife who I own a lot