You are faced with an unfamiliar coding problem. You know what you're "supposed to do"--use this pattern, follow that convention--but you don't know why. And the guidance seems ever so slightly... off. The context is just a bit different. The constraints are a bit tighter here. A bit looser there. The peg doesn't quite fit in the hole, but everyone is telling you it should.
Everyone is telling you "this is how you do it" or "this is how we've always done it". You think you can follow the rule, but you don't think it will be pretty. What do you do?
I have witnessed many people in this situation make their choice. Most commonly they do whatever it takes to follow the rule. If the peg doesn't fit, they pound it till it's the right shape. If the cloth won't cover, they'll stretch, fold, and tear creatively until they can make a seam. Somewhat less often, they just toss out the advice and do it the way they are comfortable with. Often that just means "hacking out" an ad hoc solution.
In either case, the person learns nothing. They will repeat their struggle the next time they face a situation that is ever so slightly different. They will sweat, stress, and hack again. Over and over, until someone shows them a new rule to follow.
As students we are taught to learn first by rote, then by rule. If we are lucky, we are eventually tested on whether we have learned to think. And most commonly we manage to slog it out and do well enough to pass without actually being required to think. It is so very easy to become comfortable with this model of learning. A particular someone, vested with the responsibility of fertilizing our minds and nurturing the growth of understanding, knows the answers. We don't understand, but someone can at least tell us when we are right or wrong, and often that's enough.
We settle into dependence. And by settling, we establish roadblocks in our path before we even set foot on the road. By settling, we refuse to take ownership of our own knowledge. We put ourselves at the mercy of those who know more and are willing to share of their time and understanding to help us overcome obstacles of our own creation.
This situation is not inevitable. You can avoid dooming yourself to toil under it with a very simple determination. But make no mistake, this simple determination will require determination. When you face the prospect of doing something that you do not understand, stop, take note, and ask "Why?" Refuse to continue on with any course of action until you know why you are doing it.
I'm not talking about questioning authority here (though that's good too). I am advocating understanding. If you think there's any chance you may have to face a similar situation again, then as a professional developer it behooves you to understand what you're doing this time, and why. This prepares you firstly to defend your actions, and secondly to tackle similar but different problems in the future.
By recognizing the reasoning behind a particular prescribed course of action, when you encounter a similar situation in the future you will be able to identify the subset of the problem that is subject to the prescription. Seeing this allows you to conceptually distinguish that part of the problem from the rest. From this vantage point you can decide whether the remainder is just noise that has to be accommodated, or something more significant. You will be able to start to consider whether there is another layer or dimension to the problem which might be better served by a different or additional pattern. You will be able to think, intelligently, and intentionally, about the problem both as a whole, and in part.
Lack of mindfulness is the scourge of intellectual pursuits (and a great many other things in life). Whether in programming, in health, in investment, etc., it binds you to the service of rules and systems. It puts you at the mercy of those who have understanding, and under the thumb of those who own the systems. Benevolent or otherwise, do you really want your own success and satisfaction to come at the whim of someone else, for no other reason than that you couldn't be bothered to put in the effort to understand? Do you want to spend your career tromping the same grounds over and over again, never coming to any familiarity or understanding of the landscape?
Always ask, "Why?" Then take the time to understand. Always be deliberate and intentional about applying any solution. Don't just follow the directions of the crowd, or some authority. You're not a patient taking orders from your doctor. This is your domain. Own your knowledge. Your future self will thank you.