Blog of Sara Jakša

The Changing Focus in Life

Relatively recently, I was having a lemonade with a friend of mine. I mean, considering I was not in the best mode that day, I hope she did not find it a complete waste of time. :) But there was an interesting comment, that she said in the end. I don't remember the exact words, but she said something like, how she preferred my shorter blog posts about personality, than what I am currently writing.

That got me thinking a bit. I mean, I don't actually expect people to read this blog. It is more a documentation of my thinking process, than a marketing tool. But that also means, that it reflects, what I am currently thinking about it, and I am currently in the phase, where individual differences sort of took a back seat for a while. Programming seems to be in the front for the last couple of months. And I think this is reflected in what I am writing on my blog. A lot more data science/programming posts, less cognitive science/individual differences posts.

But what does this mean for me? There are at least a couple of things, that have to be kept in account. One of them is from decision making. I remember reading in an interview of similar with the Supercasting author Tetlock, that the more people are known for something, the less likely they are to change that part of them. Which means, that even though I don't expect people to read these notes to myself, I might still be putting myself in the mold.

I have recently read a couple of things about changing opinion. From situational factors, to individual factors, to how much message is targeting the right level of personality traits, to the self-concept and how important that identity is to people and so on. And a lot of them work in a way, that they keep the opinion stable. Though, if you have the minority with opinion, that they are not willing to bend on, this can shifts the entire societies (economists have some pretty interesting simulations).

This can be then brought together with the theory, that a classmate of mine from Vienna presented to me last year. The theory says, that we have a huge conformational bias, and that is why conversations exists, so we can come up with the better, ... I don't know if consensus is a good word, but sort of going in this direction (and I probably butchered the theory as well :) ).

But people change. I am reminded of the quote from a series that I watch: "Change happens. Tragedy happens. People make choices and those choices affect everyone else." Well, I have not experienced a lot of tragedy, but the change does happen. Some parts of us are shed away, some are tired on and some of the tried ones are then adopted. Though there are things that I can see are going to come back. As long as I don't understand people enough, to know what to do with them without analysing, that long I am going to keep coming back to individual differences and personality. On the other hand, who needs Toastmasters, when you can have a lightning talk on each Python Meetup? Or find some other, more interested (even if more demanding) audience? (Just a joke, Toastmasters does have a role in helping people get rid of fear of public speaking and give the people the opportunity to socialize).

So on the end, what does thins means? Probably nothing. I don't think I will start writing more likeable material for the audience. At least not yet (nobody knows what the future holds (I am using a lot of parentheses, am I not?)). Even after having more than 500 entries here, I still have no idea, what do I want this blog to be, so for now, I will continue as I did so far. Because I don't think I want to turn this into personality blog (even if I though about it a time or two before).