Sometimes brute force is the best way to get something done. Pushing an obstacle out of the way because you don’t have the time, skills, or tools to do something more intelligently. But you will get worn out and brute force is not sustainable. For anything more than short term efforts it makes sense to grab a tool or learn the skills to do something smarter.

There is a balance and no right answer. If you fancy yourself an intelligent person then you probably don’t use brute force enough. If you think that using tools is for people who lack strength then you probably use brute force too much.

Find a good balance by weighing the situation at hand. If you need something working in the very near future then brute force is probably the way to go. That’s also true if you will only be doing this thing once. I’ll share an example.

I’ve been working on building an Android app and I have a short timeline to build it. I don’t understand how the Android UI layout system works so I’m just trying different combinations until I find one that works. It feels uncomfortable because I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing but it moves me forward and gets me where I want to be, which is having a fully functional and well designed app in a short timeline.

I also know that this won’t be my only Android app. So my next step is to learn the tools and the fundamentals of Android UI design so that I don’t have to brute force it in the future. I just don’t have time to learn it all before this project’s deadline.

As with all things there is no absolute right answer. Each situation needs to be weighed separately for the right way to approach it. Don’t get stuck in either system.