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Implicit to Explicit: Perception and Emotions

Published 9/23/2019

In our last episode we talked about taking implicit or automatic processes and making them more explicit, bringing them to a slower thought process. In today's episode we're digging into our emotions.

We'll cover the influence our emotions have in our daily lives and specific ways that we can have a positive influence on our own emotions and understanding why those emotions are happening and offer some tips on how we can manage any negative or intense emotions.

🙏This episode is sponsored by Barclays.

Barclays is hiring! At Barclays, developers are always developing. Find your next role at https://home.barclays/developers today.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
And our last episode, we talked about taking implicit things and making them explicit. We're going to continue this discussion today. We're going to talk about a couple more things that may be helpful for you to move from kind of the automatic processes, the implicit processes in our brains and making them more explicit, bringing them to the slower processes. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on the show is to help driven developers find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. In today's episode, we're going to dig into something that's a little bit difficult for us to understand as humans, even though it's something we experience every single day. And that is our emotions. We like to think that emotions are some kind of reflection, or a pure representation of what's going on around us. When in fact, our emotions are something that we can, and very often do, have some influence over. Of course, as with anything, this isn't a black and white discussion. It's not that you have no control or full control, but rather that you have some kind of separated control, something in the middle. You can influence, but maybe you can't directly decide how you're going to feel. But in today's episode, we're going to talk about some specific ways that you can have a positive influence on your own emotions simply by, once again, taking something that is currently implicit, making it explicit. We're going to discuss two things that you're currently probably managing through an implicit process, moving those to explicit. The first one is less about influencing your emotions and more about understanding them. And this process is fairly simple. Whenever you're feeling a strong emotion, notice we didn't say a bad, a terrible emotion or a wonderful emotion, but a strong emotion, something that you realize you can recognize that you're feeling something very intensely. I want you to do an exercise, try to recognize that emotion and pay attention to it. And then either during or right after, shortly after that kind of intensity of that emotion fades, I want you to take note. And this is probably easier to do if you pull out some kind of notes machine or an actual note pad. Break down the primary emotion that you feel, this can be something like joy or sadness. And then I want you to dig in a little bit deeper to that. What kind of joy or sadness are you feeling in that moment? For example, joy may be excitement or it may be contentment. These are two completely different types of happiness or joy. Both of them are important to understand. And then I want you to take it one step further. Can you describe that emotion at an even more detailed level? And by the way, feel free to use more than one word. You don't have to describe your emotions with a single word. You can describe it in whatever detail you'd like to describe it. Now the interesting thing is we very rarely do this with our emotions. Instead, we often try to fast forward the bad ones. We try to hold on to the good ones. And so when the good ones fade, we end up feeling sad. And when we can't fast forward the bad ones, we end up feeling sad again. Now you may be wondering if you're listening to the right podcast. If you're a new listener to this show and you're wondering how is this specific to developers, this applies to people who aren't developers, of course. But it's important for Developer To get in touch with the way that they experience their emotions because our work very often elicits our emotion. We may get frustrated and actually understanding our frustration may have a direct impact on how we go about, for example, debugging a problem. So let's say, for example, that you feel exasperated. You feel completely worn out. You feel tired because you've been trying to figure out what's wrong with this particular piece of code and everything you try keeps on failing. And you're at that last little bit of energy that you have left for the day. And you're very prone in this kind of situation to make a mistake, for example, to rush through it and to try to brute force your way through whatever problem you're trying to solve. Similarly, you may feel on top of the world. Maybe you're having a really great day. You've been kind of cruising along and knocking out features left and right and you feel incredibly confident. Overconfidence or feeling totally worn out, both of these scenarios can be dangerous because in both of these scenarios, it's very possible for you to make a poor judgment. So this is directly related to your work because our emotions change our behaviors and when we can observe and understand our emotions better, we can respond to them, perhaps more mindfully. We're going to take a quick break and talk about today's sponsor, but then we're going to come back and talk about how you can decide to have a better day. Today's episode is sponsored by Barclays. This is the global bank that has challenged its Developer To redefine the future of finance and make it easier for customers to manage their money. The business is currently hiring in its new campus in New Jersey and in multiple UK locations with lots of different languages and tech to work with. Whether you're a Java or a JavaScript developer, C++ or C-Sharp or Ruby or if you're a front-end developer, lots of opportunities to learn and grow at Barclays. The resources, the projects and the ambition at Barclays means that Barclays developers are always developing. You can find your next developer role by going to home.barclays.com.brcla-s-slash-developers. Thanks again to Barclays for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. In today's episode, we're talking about our emotions. These are directly related to our work as we talked about right before we went to our sponsor break because our emotions change the way we behave. And interestingly, for this next kind of move from implicit to explicit, our way of behaving also changes our emotions. For example, there is a pretty large amount of research that shows that exercise improves our mood. Interestingly, we can have some unexpected effects from this, for example, one study shows that if you were to bite down on a pencil, you'll feel a little bit happier. And the reason that they concluded that this happens is because you're recruiting all of the same muscles in your face that you would need to smile. So it seems that emotions and action are a two-way street. We can think about things and elicit emotions for ourselves. So with this kind of two-way street in mind, we're going to talk about the next system that you can move from implicit to explicit. Today or maybe tomorrow morning, depending on what time it is today, I want you to take five minutes or so and imagine what would make today a good day. In other words, decide what your criteria is for you to feel happy at the end of the day. A little pro tip on this, make sure that whatever you decide here is doable and not only doable, but fairly easily doable. This should be something that is in your direct control. In other words, a task that you need to do or perhaps a person that you want to contact or maybe a place that you want to go, but in order for you to consider today a good day, this thing should have happened. I should have done this thing. Of course, the next step is to actually go and do that thing. Especially if you can do that thing earlier rather than later, you're more likely to kind of set yourself up for that good day judgment call. What's the interesting thing is we can decide for ourselves what labels we put on our day. A good day or a bad day, an exciting day or a boring day. These are all labels that are based on our own perceptions. If you can create the criteria that gives you kind of a foothold or some reason for applying the label good day, and then especially if you can go and affect that criteria, then it's very likely that at the end of the day, you can genuinely perceive that day as a good day. The interesting thing here is that we seem to think that perception is this passive part of our lives. Once again, implicit judgment call. If you can take perception of your day and make it explicit, if you can determine how you're going to apply those labels in advance, perhaps you can change your perception to be more positive. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea and thank you again to Barclays for sponsoring today's episode. You can go and find your next developer position at home.barclays. That's home.br. C-L-A-Y-S slash developers. Thank you so much for listening. Today's episode wouldn't be possible without spec.fm and our wonderful producer, Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.