‘Never Just Remember How To Do Something, Understand How It Works’

‘Never Just Remember How To Do Something, Understand How It Works’

When you know how to do something, you have a skill. When you understand how something works, you can alter that knowledge and adapt it for your best uses. This gives you confidence and the ability to grow.

Photo by Biter Big (Shutterstock)

It’s also the best piece of advice developer Matrin Rue received from his grandfather. He explains its importance:

If you simply remember how to do something, then all you can do is use it the same way over and over, but if you understand how it works, you can reason about it. Once you can reason about something in your mind you can contemplate why it is the way it is, you can apply your entire creative mind to making the most of it, and you can implement and question improvement — you own it intellectually.

Information only gets you so far. Learn how things work and you can expand upon them infinitely.

Understand How It Works [Martin Rue]


  • It can be difficult for some people to understand the workings of various mechanisms, but often that’s due to lack of instruction. The other week I took an old rack mount server home so the kids could take it to bits as I explained how it works. My technophobe wife sat at the end of the table watching the kids have a great time (clearly geeks in the making) and listening to my explanations. At the end she told me that was the first time she’d ever heard an understandable explanation of a how a computer works and she now feels less intimidated by technology (I guess seeing your object of fear disemboweled before your eyes could have that effect).

  • This does work over a wide area of disiplines

    I teach my staff WHY something is done not how. ( We work in tax legislation ) and when something changes and it does they can adapt quicker

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