Exploration and exploitation
“Should I explore something new, or exploit something I’ve found satisfying before?”
This is a valuable dichotomy and a mental model I’ve come across in a book called “Algorithms to Live By”, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.
We can position many endeavours within a spectrum, where one end is purely new experiences and the other consists of things we repeat. The things we repeat, we can either improve them or dilute their effect on us. That depends on the same dichotomy, but on a more granular level.
We start everything in exploration mode. In childhood, we try out different things until we can safely deduce something is worth doing again and again. Slowly, we build a collection of skills, habits, and customs that we can repeat and exploit.
In general, the older we get, the less exploration we do, and the more our exploits begin to define us.
Connections in the brain
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