I once was asked to reduce the execution time of a MySQL procedure. That query could take between 2 to 3 minutes to execute using a recursion-ish call that could, at worst, make it an O(n3). My solution was to change the data structure, which was very strange, to a JSON one and use the Generated Column feature, we could reduce to an O(n2) for the procedure and the time was at the 10ms. The only drawback was a little increase in insertion time.
I don't think people say "hey look, this triple-loop through all the dataset is an O(n3)", you just know something is wrong and go up to a better solution right away.
Last but not least, knowing the kind of task you want to do with the data, how it will be managed, grow and access can help you select the proper type of data structure, may it be a set, a queue, a stack, a linked list, etc.
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