Come for the productivity, stay for the philosophy

There’s a large class of things that eventually make you more effective when you’ve studied them for a while, but which are challenging and seem like they produce no gains while being learned.

Formal logic, for instance, seems that way for a lot of people.

Many of the natural sciences have this characteristic.

Some philosophical concepts have this characteristic.

For this class of thing, I’ve always found a strategy of “Come for the productivity, stay for the philosophy” to be effective.

In my experience, if people can get real and tangible gains and improvements out of a set of ideas quickly, they’re more likely to stick around and be patient with the more abstract things.

Advanced students and practitioners in a domain often forget how expensive their field was to learn originally and how little gain there might seem to be in that field for new people, so they often neglect this.

I don’t have a longer post to write. I just think this is really important to think about from time to time and encourage you to do so. It can make teaching and learning much more effective. Give it a try, maybe, next time you’re teaching in an abstract domain.

What tangible results could the person get now so they’re more likely to stick around for abstract learnings?