Selective ignorance

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One of the skills that can really improve your day to day is cultivating selective ignorance.

Selective ignorance is “selectively ignoring distracting, irrelevant, or otherwise unnecessary information received”.

Tim Ferriss describes a similar concept, in his famous 4-Hour Work Week book, as information diet. But I think selective ignorance is a little different. You choose to dig into something, ignoring many other things on purpose.

It’s a way to stay sane in a world where a lot of people and companies are vocal and are trying to push their narrative.

I think anyone will benefit from introducing selective ignorance into their lives, but developers in particular can really benefit from it.

We work with computers, tablets, smartphones. We communicate through them, too. Everyone today is using those devices to communicate as well.

We use them to work, communicate for work, and then also use them for personal stuff.

We use social media for our careers, to stay up to date, to form a community around our craft.

I use Twitter a lot during the day to both post updates on what I’m doing, but also to check what people talk about, to see what the experts in my industry are up to, what are the trends. And while I do so I’m always distracted.

I check Hacker News every day, and for 1 story I’m interesed in, there will be 50 things I do not care anything about.

I should limit using those tools, but I keep checking them because from time to time a real gem is found.

Right now with my work (courses) I’m all about JavaScript and React. Anything else is a distraction and I apply selective ignorance to it.

Sometimes I derail a little like when I made a series of posts on Swift and another on Python. But that was with a goal, the goal of learning those languages and also creating a helpful resource for beginners.

I like to talk about everything in the sphere of programming and solopreneurship / online business, and when I think I can do something to help people jump into a topic, I do it.

Once upon a time, I was worried I was missing out. I was worried I was on the wrong path (and I’ve actually been on the wrong path, a lot of times).

Today? Not so much. Today I see a straight road ahead of me, and I have zero problems in absolutely ignoring things even though everyone seems to talk about them.

I’ve seen so many fads come and go. So much tech being pumped by tech bros and then dumped.

I am not worried anything I do will become less relevant any time soon.

So I focus on that.