Thought-action gap

At some point 2 years or so ago, I wrote about wanting to spend more time writing about technology on this blog. So, I tried finding ways to do it. Initially, it was a weekly post reviewing products combined with the occasional technology musing. Then, it was trying to get a post out once a week on a technology topic. At some point along the way, I gave up.

But, I didn’t stop thinking about writing about technology.

I reflected on this after I shared my first post on thinking about technology products two days ago. I’m beginning to get into a cadence where my Sunday (via the “Notes by Ada” project) and Wednesday posts (“Thinking Product”) are about technology. For the “Notes by Ada” project, I’ve gotten into the cadence of primarily posting them on LinkedIn and Medium as I was keen to experiment on those platforms and post a summary here. I toyed with keeping it completely separate. But, I realized it was too much cognitive load to expect myself to write an extra non-tech post on Sundays for this blog. For the “Thinking Product” series, I intend to start here and cross-post to both those platforms. I’ve come to think of this blog as the hub for all my learning projects and it is thus inevitable that what I write about changes with what I’m learning.

The interesting question here is – why did it take 2 years for me to move from thought to action on writing about technology? Here are 3 lessons I’ve taken away from this –

  1. Ability gap. I’ve learnt that learning comes from the process of synthesis. Synthesis is different from summarizing things in that a summary involves notes about what I’ve read or heard. A synthesis, on the other hand, requires me to add a frame to it and bring in my point-of-view post reflecting on a topic. It has taken me a while to develop that point of view.

    I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the ability gap. Things get done quickly if you are both willing and able. If not, you need to spend time building up your abilities.

  2. Patience. That, in turn, means being patient with yourself. This combination of a lack of ability and a lack of patience is why new year’s resolutions fail. When we commit to a new habit on new year’s day, we forget that we don’t yet have the ability to form that new exercise habit. It takes patience and a requirement that you are kind to yourself along the way.
  3. Structure. Finally, the best way to help the learning process is to create structure around it. In this case, it helps me to think of Sunday as the day I write broadly about what is going in technology and Wednesday, for example, where I write about products. Of course, I don’t do all my thinking and writing on the same day (at least, not always). But, the structure greatly simplifies things and helps create a habit in the long run.

There’s a school of thought which says that you’ll find a way to do anything that you really want to do. I definitely subscribe to that as that desire helps you commit to improving your abilities. But, the caveat I’d add is that it requires a lot of thought about structure and a ton of patience around the way.

Finally, if you’re thinking of adding new habits into your life, account for the thought-action gap. Sometimes, it takes longer than 2 years to get the process working…