The past week I have had the honor and privilege of leading another group of eager minds through some Develop With Passion® training. As always, the experience for me is more personally and emotionally rewarding than I think any of my students could ever realise.
Having been blessed with many opportunities to work with developers from all around the world, I have begun to identify patterns for traps that many developers fall into that can , potentially, rob them of the joy of the craft.
If you keep it fun, growth will happen
Whether it is software that I have written recently or software that I think back on that I wrote when I first got into the field. The quality of the software has obviously changed, but the joy of the process has only gotten stronger. I attribute this to the fact that years ago my dad gave me some great advice:
There will always be someone who knows more than you, and there will always be someone who knows less. You can’t waste your time looking in either direction.
For myself I took this to heart, and realized quickly that the only person that I needed to compete with mercilessly is the person who I was yesterday. He is the one I constantly try to one up everyday. Most days I succeed, some days I fall short.
My recipe for accomplishing this is simple:
Work for the Lord, learn one new thing a day, and enjoy the journey!!
In this current information age, I see too many people becoming burdened and weary by the constant information that is coming at them. Ironically, I am going to pick on blogs. For as useful as they can be when used correctly, for a lot of developers they have morphed into a tool that serves nothing more than to remind them daily how “behind the curve they are”. This can sometimes lead to a bit of a downward spiral:
- Developer says “I will feel happy when I know as much as [insert developer you respect here]
- They work their butt off trying to gain the knowledge they think this person has. Unfortunately, the goal is not to learn (unbeknownced to them) but to be able to eclipse.
- When then think they have “arrived” they are dissulusioned to realize that [developer x] has either moved onto a new way of doing things; or they conclude that they now know more than that developer and suddenly they find someone else to chase after.
This type of behaviour can quickly devolve into a never ending cycle. Leaving the developer in a place where they are really never enjoying the journey, as they are not really engaged in the journey.
On the flip side. I have also seen developers who get so caught up in the idea of being “authorities” that they start to measure their self worth by how many “followers” they have. This is an equally destructive cycle. Now the focus is not on continually honing their craft, but rather how to maintain popularity with a bunch of strangers they have probably never met, and who definitely do not have a vested interest in their personal life.
As the bible says:
…to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.
Learning is the journey. For me, for no other reason that I want to keep growing. There is no time to get caught up in echo chambers, or narrow lines of thinking. The best developers I have met have extremely explorative natures and keep looking for better ways of doing things even when groups settle on a “proposed way of doing things”. Once you stop learning, the journey stops, and that is where complacency, boredom, and disappointment set in.
Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for getting up in morning. Thanking the Lord that we have been given another day to use the gifts He has blessed us with, and do the best with our time to maximize and grow our abilities for the purpose of sharing and growing the people that surround us.
The trackless road lays out ahead of you, today can be the start of a brand new journey. Are you willing to take that first step?