How Description Leads to Understanding

Describing something with accuracy forces you to learn more about it. In this way, description can be a tool for learning.

Accurate description requires the following:

  1. Observation
  2. Curiosity about what you are witnessing
  3. Suspending assumptions about cause and effect

It can be difficult to stick with describing something completely and accurately. It’s hard to overcome the tendency to draw conclusions based on partial information or to leave assumptions unexplored.

How Description Leads to Understanding // Farnam Street

Be Water

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

― Bruce Lee

Four premises

To begin a process of contemplation, one must begin with these four premises. They are self-explanatory.

  1. Life happens in the present, so you don’t have a minute to waste.
  2. The past was meant to be learned from, not to be re-lived in the present. Regrets are useless because you can’t go back and remake the past.
  3. All your experiences and people in your life, whether you see them as good or bad, helped shape who you are today.
  4. You are the only one responsible for changing your current life to the one you want.

Self-Reflection 101 // The Good Men Project