Programmers scrutinize their programs by running them in debugging mode.
The debugging mode enables you to see what is happening within the program as it is being executed. You can see how the variables change as the code runs line after line. The execution stops at certain checkpoints to ensure that everything is running as expected. It is the equivalent of taking a peek inside the hood of your car and observing what happens as the car runs.
Debugging is used to fix bugs in programs. A bug is the difference between what the program is intended to do, and what it actually ends up doing.
Our minds are filled with automated scripts that dictate our behaviour. These originate from our conditioning – our past experiences, background, culture and so on. Our minds run these scripts while giving us the illusion that we are in control.
In this context, Naval Ravikant talks about the running one’s mind in debugging mode – to step back and look at the scripts that the mind executes. The idea is to observe where our thoughts originate and examine them rather than surrender to their bidding.
Running our mind on debugging mode is what mindfulness trains us to do. This skill is developed with the practice of meditation. With time, we get better at entering the debugging mode whenever our mind races to hijack our response to a situation. And from its vantage point, we are able to see what is happening and choose our response rather than give into the first reaction that occurs to our mind.
Along the way, we reduce the difference between how we intend to respond to a particular situation, and how we actually end up responding to it.
Inspiration: Naval Ravikant’s conversation with Shane Parish