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The String #23: Failing Fast & Decision Making

Failure is part of the learning process and automating decisions and keeping them tiny sets you up for continuous success.

Jonas Achouri Sihlén
Jonas Achouri Sihlén
4 min read


🧠  I learned

Fail Often - Learn Fast

In the start of a new learning process you want to make sure you don't quit. Especially not for the wrong reasons.

When we learn a new motor skill, like striking a ball ⚽️ or a key 🎹, we learn faster by repeatedly making and adjusting the errors we encounter. The learnings get engrained into our mind.

Andrew Huberman dedicates a whole episode for this. One important lesson I make from this episode is that our brains and neural networks require failed repetitions in the beginning in order for us to learn. Getting the feedback from your coach/teacher directly is crucial.

Another important part of this fail-fast approach is that you, right after the session, simply do...Nothing!

A. Huberman explains that the brain actually process the learnings from the failures you just went through, BACKWARDS!

No one really knows why. But the important thing is that you don't do anything at all. Not even scrolling through your phone. No external stimuli.

A Parallell To A Personal Project

I draw a parallell of failing fast to my little home-project of extending our porch. I have made so many errors along the way that I almost gave up for a moment.

Thanks to knowledge, experience and practical help from friends and neighbours I was lead into a new learning experience and a push for completion. Some of the errors I encountered so far:

  • I bought the wrong timber (luckily I can use it to build a little storage and a planting table so it was not in vain)
  • I dug the holes at the wrong place and had to re-dig a few of them
  • I measured the timber used for the floor incorrectly in the beginning so I had to remeasure a few before I started to cut them.

Just a few of the errors I made so far. Luckily we discovered them early thanks to my neighbour's and friends review and feedback.

If they weren't captured I would have messed up the whole thing and would probably have wasted lots of money, as well as time.

Extending and building a porch is all about a good & solid foundation. I have made so many mistakes by doing this. 

"Learning By Doing"

Of course I need to make a parallell to my learn to code journey. In the last issue I revealed and put my neck out there. I started and committed to an online training program, to learn Web Development.

What I discovered early was that you cannot simply learn by only reading books. The valuable learnings are in-printed when we DO stuff.

"Learning by doing", as my friend Erik once said when I outed my ambition to learn to code.

Short and quick feedback loops early on in the process will lead to a faster learning curve, and most probably a higher success rate in future endeavours.

That is my ambition in the first project I will head into the coming week. Dedicating time to actually do the mistakes, try another way around. And tinker my way through my first commit. The goal is to build up a little GitHub-portfolio I can be proud of.


On Decision Making

Low Friction

Living a busy life that you don't want to be a slave for, but in control of requires strong decision making skills. But before spending time and energy to know which way to take there is a good idea to filter those type of decision that don't need so much mental energy.

You want to minimize the effort required for daily decision making. You basically want to go on autopilot when it comes to things that should go on autopilot.

That is why I prepare my coffee machine the evening before. That is why I put my training gears easily accessible for my future (morning-zombie) self to put on without searching or deciding which t-shirt or shorts I need to wear.

It is not about creating a culture of monotonous humans walking around and doing mindless things. It is all about saving your mental energy to the projects that matter.

Tiny Decisions

In the book Rework, Jason Fried and David H. Hansson takes up so many nuggets that challenge the status-quo workplace cultures. An antidote to the busy-being-busy culture that is stuck in endless output-based models and meeting-frenzy.

It all boils down to keeping a high motivation and building confidence.

Making tiny decisions doesn't mean you can't make big plans or think big ideas. It just means you believe the best way to achieve those big things is one tiny decision at a time. - Jason Fried & D.H. Hansson
Snippet from the book 'Rework'. Timeless and human insights.

👂 I Listened

Last night it was date night! My wife and I finally got some time to spend with each other. We went to a lovely Peruan restaurant called "Canta Lola". The ambience was amazing, the food was exquisite and the music was carefully curated by a professional DJ.

One of the songs that stuck and made it hard for me to sit still and enjoy the food was Sucre, by CocoTaxi.

It starts building up 20 -40 seconds into the song. ;) Enjoy 🎧

Sucre (sugar) have an addictive effect on our brains, leading to cravings.

That was exactly the effect this song had on me. The song has been on repeat since last night 🎧 🤗


Thanks for reading and until next time!