1 min read

"There must be a better way to do this"

While working on a more elaborate animation with Manim, I met a familiar thought. It sounds something like this:

Okay, I've been working on this for two and a half hours now and I don't feel anywhere near done. This is a lot of work. There's no way this thing I'm trying to do is inherently this much work. It is complicated but not complex. It is just a matter of coordinating things. I know I've seen things like this before. But at this rate it'll be another two and a half hours to finish it. Who would put themselves through that? There must be a better way.

This thought seems sort of helpful and sort of not.

It is helpful sometimes. Sometimes I stop here and look for a better way, and I find it. That might mean going to Google, or getting a little more creative about other approaches to the problem, or (if I am really desperate) actually talking to someone (how exotic!). It is good not to get too stuck in one approach.

It is sometimes not so helpful. Sometimes I successfully notice what I'm doing is hard. I could look for a better way, but that would be hard too, so I don't, and I give up. Or I look, and there isn't a better way. Sometimes the thing is just hard. Like: Learning a skill. I'm frustrated. I tend to give up at this point. This is valid but also often seems like a shame.

What to do with this thought when it arises? Maybe that is a good time to get curious about it.