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Replacing Implicit Questions

Published 7/25/2018

What questions are you answering right now? On today's episode we're talking about the power of questions, and more specifically the implicit questions that you're asking in your day.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What question are you answering right now? On today's episode, we're talking about the power of questions. This isn't a new topic. If you've been listening to Developer Tea, you've heard us talk about the power of questions before. But in today's episode, I want you to think about the implicit questions that are running your day, as well as the explicit questions that you are designing for your day. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers connect to their career purpose so they can have a positive influence on the people around them and do better work. And so we're talking about this idea of questions. If you're listening to this episode, perhaps you have a question in your mind. Maybe you're phrasing it as a problem or a desire, but ultimately you can trace most of your attempts, most of your energy, your expenditure, at least your mental expenditure back to a fundamental question. For example, you may be listening to today's episode with the question, how can I ask better questions? The interesting thing is that I, as your show host here on Developer Tea, I have to come up with the answers to your implicit questions. This is a little bit difficult. It's one of the reasons why I actually ask for people to send in those explicit questions so I can know exactly the kind of content that will be effective for people who are listening to the show. But if you're coming to this episode, if you saw the title of the episode and you're coming and you're listening to the episode, then you very likely have this implicit question. How can I benefit from asking better questions? Now perhaps you're listening to Developer Tea. Passively. You listened to the show on a regular basis, you saw that a new episode was posted and you're actually listening to it passively. You may think that this means you don't have a question on your mind. But perhaps the question is, what is the latest episode of Developer Teaabout? This is kind of a different way of thinking about your actions as they relate to your brain's processing power. Now, if you think about your activity as a developer, whether you're engaging in some interpersonal activity or you're actually writing code, you're building some kind of product, some kind of feature, a lot of the time you're actually solving implicit questions. For example, interpersonal interactions. Sometimes you're trying to evaluate someone else's mood. That may be the implicit question that you are asking at that point in time. If you're writing code, then maybe the implicit question is, what is the best way to achieve this particular goal? What is the best way to write this code? You can peel these layers back and you can ask deeper questions that are branching from those original questions. For example, you may have that surface level question of trying to figure out what somebody else's mood is, but the deeper question is, how can I relate better to this person? How can I use this instance to relate better to this person? So we're talking about implicit questions because questions are very powerful. As it turns out, when somebody asks you a question, there's some research to show that they're kind of hijacking your brain for a minute. For example, I may ask you the question, what is your diet plan for today? Assuming you're listening to this show and you're not simply dismissing what I have to say, hearing that question almost certainly hijacked your thought processes and actually took all of your thought process at least for a brief moment. Even the wording of this question may change your behavior for today. It's a big responsibility that I have and that you have when you're asking questions. I ask this question specifically using the word diet because I have a little bit of a hypothesis that most people are going to think about their food in terms of its health benefits rather than in terms of what they're craving. And the power of questions has been studied. We've talked about it before in the show, but asking questions can have a profound effect on people's behavior. So with this in mind, and since you're always answering questions with your actions and by the way that you're operating in the world, what if you were to choose some explicit questions to ask yourself? That's what we'll discuss right after we talk about today's sponsor, Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean right up front is going to offer you a free $100 credit. Hopefully I got your attention. Digital Ocean is the easiest cloud platform to run and scale applications from effortless administration tools to robust compute storage and networking services. Digital Ocean provides an all-in-one cloud platform to help developers and their teams save time when running and scaling their applications. Digital Ocean has predictable and affordable pricing. You can leave complex pricing structures behind and you'll always know what you're going to pay per month with industry leading price performance ratio and a flat pricing structure across all global data center regions. Now let's return to the beginning of what we were talking about. $100 worth of credit. On Digital Ocean you can get started with $100 free credit by going to do.co-t. That's do.co-t-e-a. Digital letters do.co-t is in Digital Ocean. Thank you again to Digital Ocean for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So what are some of the explicit questions that you can ask to completely change your mindset in a given day? For example, you've heard me talk about my morning journaling sessions and one of the questions that I ask in my morning journaling session is what am I grateful for? What am I grateful for? I write down three things that I'm grateful for. And what this does is it cultivates this habitual sense of appreciation. And this isn't just anecdotal. I didn't just pick this off the shelf and decide to start doing it. There are some studies that show that expressing gratitude intentionally can have a positive effect on someone's well-being, right? So or at least the sense of well-being, happiness. So I want you to think about the questions that you're asking yourself. Maybe they aren't explicit. And perhaps those implicit questions that you're asking yourself, maybe they're having a negative effect on your mindset. Are you asking yourself, for example, when am I going to fail again? When will I stumble on the next bug? When am I going to get fired? When am I going to have a negative performance reviewer? When am I going to take the server down? Or when will all of my coworkers find out that, you know, I don't really know a lot about this programming language or this framework? When will I be exposed as a fraud? You may be implicitly asking yourself these questions. These may be fears that you're unwilling to speak out loud, but implicitly your brain is actually processing this. And when you process all of these incoming kind of bombarding questions, especially ones that you don't have control over or have answers for, that can increase your anxiety. They can kind of have a detrimental effect on your state of mind. So I encourage you to cultivate good questions. For example, what was the best part of my day yesterday? If you focus on this in the morning, then perhaps you can start out with a positive perspective of what happened yesterday. What am I looking forward to today? What strengths do I get to use in my job today? What capabilities do I have that I get to exercise today? What do I plan to learn today? Of course, all of these questions have been pointed at yourself, but I highly encourage you to point these questions towards other people. Who can I help the most today? Who can I give a positive compliment to? Whose day can I make better today? Now, it's completely fair for you to feel a little bit awkward asking yourself these questions. But I encourage you to try this in some way that is doable for you, whether that's a journal, or even if you're just thinking through it, if you want to talk to yourself in the shower or something, right? Any way that you can ask these positive questions explicitly, I think you're going to benefit from them. I know I certainly have in my own journaling. And even when I practice this with my wife, we talked about things that we appreciated about each other. This was such a good habit. It cultivated a positive sense in our relationship. So I encourage you to try this in your own career. Now, why does this matter for developers? Well, part of the reason is, developers have an unusual amount of negative information that is constantly being fed to them. Most of our work is working through things that are not working. We're either going from a state of nothingness, right, and trying to forge a new path, which has a lot of adversity and a lot of pain and struggle and a lot of negative feedback that we're receiving from whatever we're building, or we're fixing bugs. We're fixing problems that other people are having with our software. We're constantly facing this negative sense. And so it's important to create this kind of counterbalance for developers, especially, so that you can have a positive question, a positive outlook that you are kind of systematically introducing into your day to day. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed this episode. Thanks again to today's sponsor Digital Ocean. You can get $100 worth of credit by going to d-o.co-ta. Thank you again for listening. If you are enjoying this episode, make sure you subscribe and whatever pie-casting app you use. That will ensure that you don't miss out on future episodes, just like this one. Thanks so much and until next time, enjoy your tea.