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MIT blogger CJ Q. '23

you ain’t gonna need it by CJ Q. '23


there are decisions that i worry about long after i know which choice i’m going to make, like whether to go to mit or choosing what to do this summer. i fall in the same traps when i think about what i want to do after graduating, like:

  • going through the same evidence over and over again, without evaluating it differently. i find that whenever i have to think about this decision, i’m starting from scratch. i think it’s because i haven’t written things down, so i don’t have to start anew every time.
  • worrying for the sake of worrying. it feels like such an Important Decision that i should spend Time thinking about it, right? but if thinking about it won’t change anything, then there’s no point thinking about it. if i already know what i want, and believe in it hard enough, is there any point to thinking?
  • putting too much importance in what other people would think. i worry too much about whether my decision to choose X over Y will make the people advocating for Y sad or disappointed in me. in practice, the people who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter. this one always trips me up, because i don’t realize it until i think about whether i’m doing it.

i’m reminded of this saying in software engineering: you ain’t gonna need it. you’re thinking about this too hard, but you ain’t gonna need it. you’re not focusing on what matters to get this feature written. you’re planning for futures that won’t happen, because unless you already have a well-defined plan for the future, you ain’t gonna need it. if you already know what you want, go for it.