EP444 – WordPress and the Beginner’s Mind

February 10, 2023

This week, we will delve into the world of WordPress and explore new ways of approaching problems and maintenance through the lens of the beginner’s mind. Discover how embracing a Zen-like approach can help you tackle complex WordPress issues and find innovative solutions. Tune in now to learn how to cultivate a beginner’s mindset and approach WordPress with a fresh perspective.


Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Jason Tucker: This is episode number 444 of WPwatercooler WordPress and the Beginner’s Mind.

[00:00:09] Sé Reed: oh,

[00:00:10] Jason Tucker: I’m Jason Tucker. You could find me over at Jason Tucker and some places in Jason Tucker dot.

[00:00:17] Sé Reed: I’m Sé Reed and this changes every week. but I do still make WordPress, teach WordPress, preach, make, teach. Hi, bye.

[00:00:25] Jason Cosper: And y’all know who it is. It’s your boy, Jason Cosper, AK

[00:00:30] Jason Tucker: Go in, subscribe to us as an audio podcast. We’d appreciate it. Or continue watching us on the video podcast on YouTube and wherever else we stream and hang out with us in our discord. Yeah, say it

[00:00:41] Sé Reed: Discord

[00:00:42] Jason Tucker: It changes every week.

[00:00:44] Sé Reed: just mysteriously changes.

[00:00:47] Jason Tucker: Yeah. It’s Canva, man. It’s easy to change.

[00:00:50] Sé Reed: I’m like, wait. Oh, den is my company. So that’s legit. It’s legit. But I don’t know so much that we like

[00:00:58] I used to have myspace.com/say read or something. there’s it’s been, we thought

[00:01:02] Sé Reed: It’s gone through the changes. cha changes. Hey, actually, unintentionally, that’s a great segue into today’s topic.

[00:01:11] Jason Cosper: Yes, it is.

[00:01:12] Sé Reed: How nice. you wanna take that,

[00:01:16] Jason Tucker: Yeah, Cosper. Go for it.

[00:01:18] you wanna bring this to our consciousness here?

[00:01:21] Jason Cosper: Yeah. just,doing a little, working on myself trying to, trying to center myself a little bit more. I’ve been, reading some, some materials around. Zen Buddhism and a few other things. And,a thing that really appealed to me lately, was, this concept in Buddhism known as the beginner’s mind.

[00:01:44] and,approaching things, from a place of. Curiosity from a place of, like not necessarily, using your experience, to guide your actions in things. I, was breaking the rules a little bit and talking about the show before the show with Tucker before, you joined us, say, and,

[00:02:10] Jason Tucker: When the cat’s away

[00:02:12] Jason Cosper: I, And SAE does have big cat energy, doesn’t she?

[00:02:17] Jason Tucker: she does.

[00:02:18] Sé Reed: a big cat energy. That’s fun. Wow.

[00:02:20] Jason Cosper: cat energy. no,

[00:02:21] Sé Reed: I love it.

[00:02:23] Jason Cosper: Tucker and I were talking a little bit before the show and when I’ve, helped out at, the happiness of our word camps, things like that when, I’ve been, working with people, like helping them, troubleshoot issues on our, on their sites, things like that. , I often hear people say,oh, I’m sorry, I’m new at this.

[00:02:44] I’m sorry. I don’t maybe have the experience that you have. I, I’m still learning. but, one of the powers of, coming at things as a beginner is like everything is full of potential. Everything is. a, an interesting, elastic thing that you can try on and, figure out and everything else and you’re not approaching, stuff.

[00:03:09] I, I’m actually as somebody who’s been working with WordPress for. 18 out of the 20 years, almost 20 years that it’s been a thing. I have a lot of things that I just go automatic pilot on a little bit where, when I’m trying to,

[00:03:26] Sé Reed: No pun intended.

[00:03:28] Jason Cosper: Yeah. yeah. no. Two t’s automatic

[00:03:30] Sé Reed: Yeah,

[00:03:31] Jason Cosper: but

[00:03:33] Sé Reed: A seven C.

[00:03:35] Jason Cosper: Sure. But yeah, so I, I really, the people who are starting with WordPress today are started within the past few years where, the block editor has just been the thing, where people are,this alternate reality

[00:03:53] right. I. when you have, e even when you have the, I’m gonna take my ball and go project of, classic press, saying, Hey, we’re going to, recenter, our fork on a newer version.

[00:04:10] of WordPress that has, Gutenberg integrated and we’re just gonna keep,so we can get some of the, performance benefits, things like that. They realize that the work on that was too much. like at that point it almost just feels Hey man, if you’re really hung up on using the classic editor still on using those sorts of things, like why don’t you just.

[00:04:33] The classic press project and put all your focus into supporting the classic editor, like long term, like people are so stuck in the ways that they’re doing things, that they’re building. Things like Tucker. I know, and I’ve been like super proud of you with this, is within the past couple years, you’ve apologies to Beaver Builder I guess, but upon our prying have been like, Hey,try doing things with Gutenberg.

[00:04:59] Try actually, making, a WordPress site the way that, I, maybe not the majority of folks are.

[00:05:07] Sé Reed: The new way.

[00:05:08] Jason Cosper: Yeah. But the new way, approach this with a beginner’s mind and, like actually, try and see and figure these things out. because that’s the way that we keep growing. That’s the way that we keep moving forward in.

[00:05:25] Our careers, our practices, our things like that is, is approaching this with, with openness.

[00:05:33] Jason Tucker: Yep. Yeah.

[00:05:34] Sé Reed: that, that extends not just to using, WordPress, as a software to build sites, but also to the community because it’s been around a long time and there is a way things are done. and there, especially if you’ve been around for a long time and you’ve experienced various ups and downs of WP drama, it’s easy to become jaded, which is, I think, the opposite of beginner’s mind, like a beginner’s mind.

[00:06:01] You take as a, it’s a soft, pliable mind. It’s Do you have that? Like slime, ? I have a kid obviously, right? , it’s like slime or that stuff that’s like both malleable, you can mall Play-Doh even you can just, you can move it versus being jaded, which is like literally like a h a very, a rock hard substance, right?

[00:06:21] Jade? I think that is, Happens a lot in the community. There’s that jadedness. I think there is a tendency within, especially the greater community to react to, the whatever goes on with the community and the software development with that jadedness and not with the beginner’s mind. So it’s not just the software, and Gutenberg, but also you know, the project itself.

[00:06:48] And obviously we’re talking about you. A philosophy that obvious it goes past tech , like it’s not like Buddha is here talking about the WordPress project. So obviously it can be applied across the board, but I think it really can be, in, when you get to a long-term project like this, it really can, Behoove all of us, to take that perspective of the beginner’s mind, even in contributing.

[00:07:17] Because instead of just saying, oh, this is the way we’ve always done it, or, this is where you go to help, it’s like, how about what if we find new ways and listen to new people coming on and listen, find, improved ways, building on what we’ve got, And I think that is such a. Having that, having new energy, new eyes to look at, the community and the software and developers and the community can both become very jaded in terms of this is what we’re doing. We’ve been doing this for X number of years, this is how it’s gonna keep going. And that’s interestingly, it’s not just the dev approach to Gutenberg, it is also there is a bit of, That sort of dogmatism about Gutenberg itself, like the people who are on the Gutenberg train not necessarily being open or approaching things, it’s become its own jaded thing.

[00:08:11] So we’ve got the jadedness against Gutenberg and then the Gutenberg jadedness that this is the way that has to be. It’s like

[00:08:19] Yeah. all need just to be a little more permeable

[00:08:21] yeah, ear, early on we were talking about like, why aren’t they looking at all the existing, software that’s out there and the way that they approached it. say you’re talking about that with Divvy. It’s I could do all of these things, and I’m like, I could do all these things too. Why can’t we do this in this, Yeah. And then when build, they’re building it like it’s, it, and I love the people building it individually, but as a collective project, it seemed to be building it in a vacuum. and maybe that is a. Beginner’s mind. Not looking at what has been done. That is what you also were touch, both of you were touching on in the pre-show a little bit that I tried to get you to stop this when you are not examining something like when you’re trying not to let your experience.

[00:09:06] Jade make you jaded or we only able to look through that filter. There’s also the idea that we don’t have to go back to the drawing board each time and we should be able to build upon, what we’ve already built. And so it’s like a beginner’s mind, but at a new level. I don’t know if that makes sense.

[00:09:26] Jason Tucker: The beginner’s mind. A cost analysis

[00:09:30] Jason Cosper: Sure

[00:09:32] because what were you were, that’s what you were talking about, right? Like it’s a cost analysis of experience versus openness.

[00:09:38] Jason Tucker: just I, or technical debt where you’ve just spent so much time, energy, money putting into a thing, and then you get to, you, you get to where you’re at now with so many years of using it and you look back and you just go wow, I’ve spent, hundreds of dollars, thousands of hours,

[00:09:54] Sé Reed: I would say thousands of dollars.

[00:09:55] Jason Tucker: You know what I mean? Just like explaining how this thing works or figuring out how to do it or doing, standard operating procedures to make things work or coming up with workflows, solutions, whatever. And are you okay with throwing that away so that you can get a subpar product down the road that hopefully will catch its way up to where we’re at now with that?

[00:10:17] Whatever it is you’re picking.

[00:10:18] Jason Cosper: Yeah. And it, this dovetails into,a concept known as the sunk cost fallacy. Where, effectively, the money that you’ve spent, the time, the effort, everything else, like you wanna get a return on your investment. You,Tucker Beaver Builder wasn’t free. Say,divvy not free.

[00:10:38] Sé Reed: I, I’m still using Divvy. I just want everyone to know that

[00:10:41] Jason Cosper: Sure.

[00:10:42] Sé Reed: and also Divvy has a, is released, gonna release a new thing soon. That’s actually and this is why I’m really excited about what they’re doing, because they’re actually launching something that’s in tune with Gutenberg.

[00:10:51] They’re not trying to, they’re not fighting the flow, right? they’re going with the direction. They’re not going classic press and being like, okay, we’re gonna still have to force you to use the classic editor. They’re working on how to integrate that into the new, and, so that they can, you can actually have all of your sites transition into that.

[00:11:10] Jason Tucker: So I’m. . I don’t think that it has to be a old versus new. It doesn’t always have to be that way. This is what I was gonna say in terms of I

[00:11:21] Sé Reed: starting start, it doesn’t have to be starting over all together, right? Like it can be from, I don’t know, not rebuilding, but there’s a word I’m missing here,

[00:11:32] Jason Tucker: says here where, he thinks humans are in, or I think as well that, humans are inherently fearful of change. I’ve been making block sites and strictly from the mobile or from mobile since release those saying that block themes still aren’t even, aren’t, oh my gosh.

[00:11:47] I’m trying to read through my camera, ready, even for a production site, I can, and then says I can’t do anything but strongly disagree. And yeah, I’m with you in that, they are fear, fearful of change and fear being fearful of change is there’s not just the change part of it, but there’s also that ramping back up again to try to find normal and getting to that place where it’s like, ah, okay, we made this change.

[00:12:13] We’re in a better place now. But man, did we have to like really work to get there?

[00:12:18] Jason Cosper: There, there is this, this German, concept, the is effect. I’m completely

[00:12:24] Sé Reed: what? What is it?

[00:12:27] Ing lung effect. I’m sure I’m butchering it. I’m sure folks who actually,are fluent in German,Come on the discord and yell at him.

[00:12:35] Jason Cosper: Yeah, exactly. However,

[00:12:37] Sé Reed: tell him.

[00:12:39] so basically, this is, based off of this, experiment, performed by some, German scientists where, not bad German scientists, like actual, okay.

[00:12:50] Jason Cosper: German scientists, where,

[00:12:54] Sé Reed: important to make a distinction there.

[00:12:56] Jason Tucker: Hi Germans.

[00:12:57] Sé Reed: Yeah.

[00:12:58] effectively, these two scientists, gave this water jar puzzle, to folks and then showed them like how to solve or help them work through how to solve this puzzle. And then they gave them a second water jar experiment and the people had a tendency.

[00:13:20] Jason Cosper: to try to solve that puzzle using what they had learned from the first puzzle, even though it was not applicable for the second puzzle. it’s these, rote things that we end up learning, through experience through,doing this sort of thing. where we’re just like, no, this is the way we do it.

[00:13:42] I’ve fixed a problem like this before. This is the way I do this thing. And, people, close themselves off to new ideas. They close themselves off to,you, you look at and am not necessarily trying to like, go after. way of doing things or company or whatever. But you look at, Elementor and,Elementor is a good product.

[00:14:07] Jason Cosper: Like they’ve been doing things for years and, continue to make, building sites with Elementor very easy and straightforward. but a, as you’ve pointed out with divvy, say,divvy is working on. Gutenberg integration. they’ve announced like, Hey, we’re going to, try to do this, do things more the WordPress way as to where Elementor is.

[00:14:30] Hey, now not only are we a page builder, but we’re also a hosting company that will host your Elementor sites for you because they want to be able to control the entire experience. Because if you get out of pocket on the whole experience, the whole. Intermeshed, element or thing then,it shouldn’t all fall apart, but there are concerns there and they’re perfectly valid concerns because they built up, a large successful business around Elementor, around doing things, the element or way.

[00:15:06] they have decided to. keep pushing forward with that. but on the flip side, divvy is ready to be a little more humble about this stuff. A little more Hey,this is the new way and people are adopting it and using it and moving forward with it. Unless we start moving forward with it too, then we’re gonna get left.

[00:15:30] Sé Reed: I think it’s to use more, I think it, I don’t know if it’s a Buddhist or what type of analogy is it? But, or just nature-based, but that, the river keeps moving and I’ve always felt that way about tech in general. And you can plant your flag in your, in the riverbank where you’re standing and just stand there.

[00:15:46] But the river water is going. it is gonna continue to move and you’ll just be standing. you can stand there, no one’s gonna stop you. But the water has moved on. And I think that’s,that’s I think the really hard balance. It’s not just a hard balance in life, obviously, but it’s a hard balance in tech because it moves so quickly.

[00:16:06] And I think we as developers or programmers or people who know code of some sort, Experience this a lot. And I guess just any tools really in technology, they just change so frequently. Like even Google, right? Like it’s always oh, that’s gone and you just keep moving on with your stuff.

[00:16:23] I had an email from a client this week who, got, was panicked because, Google told them that Google Currents was going to go away. And I was like, Google what? So it’s still using Google Currents. What? ? I was like, that’s not gonna affect you. Don’t worry. You’re okay. It was Google Plus for enterprise.

[00:16:41] I don’t even know. what is that? It’s

[00:16:43] Jason Cosper: I was gonna say it’s been so long since I’ve even heard the term Google Currents. I’ve forgotten what it is.

[00:16:50] Sé Reed: I did too. I actually had to look it up and I was like, what? What is, what are you talking about ? Anyway,

[00:16:56] when Wave went? I guess not. Huh? No, it’s just one of those things that they’re sun setting now. they’ve been not doing it for a long time. But anyway, that, that’s what happens with tech, right? And especially tech like Google or, in term WordPress is the exception for its backwards compatibility.

[00:17:12] But maybe that backwards compatibility makes us as a community more complacent in our. Approach to building because, we’re able to be more comfortable there or we fork off into classic press or, build out a theme that can’t be updated. , all of those ways. I don’t do any of that just for the record, but, the, that’s I feel like people keep veering off into planting their flags, but the river’s not stopping.

[00:17:38] And in fact, I think that’s one of. It’s one of the great things about tech, but again, it’s also very hard to keep up with that river and that comes into then, even now, like I have not been able to get into react. Like I just have not had the mental space to do that. But I am so my PhD p language skills are just like, ever decreasing in value and, but I’m not, it would be, I think, foolish of me. Just be like, I’m a PhD programmer and this is the hill I’m dying on. and not, I haven’t been able to embrace, react and what’s happening now with the blocks and all of that, but I know that I want to do that and need to do that, as and take that kind of beginner’s approach and not get stuck. in the old stay down banks, down the riverbank. I wanna go with the river. I sail. I wanna see where we’re going.

[00:18:34] so again, when we were breaking the rules of,of talking about the show before the show,

[00:18:39] Sé Reed: Such a

[00:18:40] Jason Cosper: and I, yeah. Tucker and I were talking about, and he brought this up, that,there are folks who, just can’t abide. The changes that WordPress is making. okay, yeah, sure.

[00:18:51] We have, the fork, like classic press trying to hold onto the old way. but then you also have people who are just like, I’m using Ghost now, or I’m using,eleventy or am,they.

[00:19:04] Sé Reed: That’s totally abandoning the experience and the altogether, like that’s a whole, that’s the whole other side of it.

[00:19:11] Jason Cosper: But without realizing it, they are getting back into that beginner’s mindset. They are abandoning the thing that they’re used to, that they’ve built their sites, their career. all of this other stuff around and they’re like,the hell with it, I’m going to, pay the license fee for craft c m s or whatever and start doing things that way.

[00:19:34] Sé Reed: Bubble. Have you heard about bubble? Anyway, sorry.

[00:19:38] So there’s so many. It’s a thing. It’s exploding.

[00:19:43] So but this dissatisfaction in the, of moving on, to another tool, they are, effectively just. Doing the beginner’s mind, they’re taking that approach of I’m gonna just, I’m so dissatisfied with this thing that I used to like, so I’m going to,flip the table and walk away and, Pull myself up to this other table that is also completely different, but it’s a completely different that I can, I don’t know, wrap my head around or, anything like that.

[00:20:17] Jason Cosper: So it’s just really funny to, see people make this transition and not realize that they’re like, oh, wait, I’m, maybe I could just try this new thing and not have to learn everything all over.

[00:20:32] Sé Reed: That’s an interesting approach, like taking a beginner’s mind approach to the thing that you’re in already as opposed to jumping ship. You’re saying like, you, that actually is really interesting in terms of doing that kind of,The middle way, is that about a Buddhist concept? I don’t remember if that’s a Buddhist concept or not, but I think it might be Dowist or Buddhist.

[00:20:52] Jason Cosper: I’m not sure. I apologies. in the book yet, so I

[00:20:55] Sé Reed: Okay. the, the idea of the middle way, It is not, it’s not a political idea, it’s that you can, it’s a, the where the river’s flowing the most sort of idea, and not necessarily in terms of being a centrist, but in terms of a balanced place to be.

[00:21:11] So it doesn’t have to be. All right, this isn’t doing exactly what I want it to do, so I’m just gonna abandon everything that I’ve learned. And then it also doesn’t have to be, I’ve put so much effort into this that I don’t care. I’m not gonna, I’m only gonna do it this old way.

[00:21:26] So instead finding the middle way, which would be something like, taking a fresh approach to what you know, look, considering what is within where you are, what is. Looking at it with those fresh eyes, looking at it with the, if I were a new person coming in here now, and then you still have the benefit of your experience, and so you can just balance those two things and that would be then the middle way.

[00:21:53] Sé Reed: That’s what I am hoping to do intentionally trying to do with WordPress. But, I think we as Americans, especially right now and. Necessarily mean it politically, but it’s also applicable politically. and societally, we’re very much in a, we’re moving to the extremes of all of our arguments.

[00:22:12] They’re, there’s not a lot of centrism happening. Even Twitter, right? is polarizing Now you’re like, oh, they’re like all in and given your $8, or you’re like, just not there at all, or, of these things, it turns into a fanaticism or like a complete disdain. I feel like in American culture and, I, I can only speak to American culture.

[00:22:32] I don’t think that is necessarily exclusive to American culture, but I definitely think it is part of capitalist culture.

[00:22:41] not to get it into a whole other thing, but it, I think that the middle way is like not, not, doesn’t sell. it doesn’t, it’s not like a selling point.

[00:22:50] And we’re so like, caught into that mindset of what sells and what sells is generally what’s on the extremes. And so we’re just following that pull to those, to the sides and not, and I just, I see that reflected also though, in Word Press, like with the jadedness of. this is all crap.

[00:23:10] All this new stuff is crap. Or all that old stuff is crap . So anyway.

[00:23:16] Jason Tucker: I think taking a project that you’re gonna be working on for yourself, something that, that you’re okay with not having it a hundred percent right from the start and taking that and approaching it from a different way. Don’t use any of the tools that you’re currently using. Don’t use any of the stuff that you’ve ever used before and try to run with it a different way.

[00:23:39] And then as you start running into some issues, swap out some of the things that you have used in the past with it just so you can. , keep the ball rolling a little bit. But some of those really big things, for instance, me,not using a particular, builder or something like that and using just all full site editor and figuring out how to make that work.

[00:24:02] I don’t know. I think it’s refreshing. It’s a, it’s, especially if you’re the type of. technology person, geeky person, nerdy person, however you wanna look at it, that likes trying new things. This is a good way of going about it and it’ll just allow for you to have that beginner’s mind of how this is going to work and how you should approach it and play with it a little bit and not feel like you’re, you should be like fully freaked out cuz things aren’t working your way, cuz it’s definitely not because

[00:24:31] Sé Reed: Says Ja says Jason, who has fully freaked out

[00:24:36] Jason Tucker: Multiple times on live streams. Yep. Yep.

[00:24:39] Sé Reed: What the heck? fun fact, I, took that approach with the WP Community Collective website, because I, I. Actually, I wanted it to be very neutral from any sort of political perspective. So I thought, or, I wanted to be free of all WP drama. So I, it is literally in, 2023.

[00:25:00] So default theme, but it is also on the bleeding edge nightlys. I figured if there was any site to run on the bleeding edge, nightly releases, like that’s the one to do it on. So it is full site editor. It’s not even FSE anymore, but it is it is all the new, it’s the newest of the new and that’s fun.

[00:25:18] and it did get, a hundred percent in all of the, accessibility and, speed and all of that. that is say, so it is like literally a blank canvas

[00:25:26] Sé Reed: on which to build.

[00:25:27] Jason Tucker: on it and then run that again.

[00:25:30] it won’t be

[00:25:33] Jason Cosper: Hello.

[00:25:34] Sé Reed: literally nothing on it. Just text. Yes. But turns out text can be really accessible. Just black and white text on the screen. It’s good stuff. very basic.

[00:25:44] Jason Cosper: we’ve been,

[00:25:45] Jason Tucker: us up?

[00:25:45] Jason Cosper: yeah, I was gonna say, we’ve been a little,heady here. Maybe,this, this episode is,philosophical. Sure. that this episode might, might.

[00:25:54] Sé Reed: Contemplative

[00:25:55] Be, nice to accompany with a few bong rips if you partake. and maybe,maybe think about it and,hop into the discord.

[00:26:04] Jason Cosper: Yeah. let it settle in. Let the, the, get into the groove, the feel of it, but just really a few years ago, I, there was somebody who, commented in one of our episodes about how, we were commenting on something and maybe we were taking a little bit of, a jaded, approach to things

[00:26:23] Sé Reed: I really snuck with you,

[00:26:25] Jason Cosper: It really has. I’ve really tried to take it to heart and, really open myself up to that. and I the more that I’ve opened myself up, I’ve been like, you know what? This is actually, it’s been super helpful and

[00:26:42] Sé Reed: That’s awesome.

[00:26:43] yeah,What a neat thing. I know that, I remember that affecting you when it happened. You’re like, are we jaded? You guys? Are we jaded? ? Wait, what?

[00:26:51] Jason Tucker: Yes. Yes,

[00:26:52] Sé Reed: So I think that’s really, I think that’s really cool to be also to be able to come back. By the way, it was a state of the word that we were, MST three kid.

[00:26:59] Yeah. Yeah. So we were tending to be snarky, but I think that it’s cool to be able to come back and look at that and, share that personal growth with the audience.

[00:27:09] Jason Cosper: Yeah, for sure.

[00:27:11] Jason Tucker: And with that, our outro

[00:27:14] Sé Reed: Bye.

[00:27:15] Jason Tucker: right? good stuff. Go over to jp.com/subscribe. We’d love to have you over there and, subscribe to our stuff. If you wanna contact us, you can go over to our website and look at our hosts link. We just built that out so you can go take a look at that and see, how

[00:27:31] Sé Reed: Oh, I should go look at it.

[00:27:33] Jason Tucker: get involved in stuff, save

[00:27:35] Sé Reed: come into the discord.

[00:27:36] Jason Tucker: see ya. Bye.

[00:27:37] Sé Reed: chat. Come chat in the Discord.

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