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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, What Are Yours Saying?

Published 12/31/2020

Your actions speak louder than words. You already know that. But have you asked yourself what your actions are saying about who you are?

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hello everyone and welcome to the last episode of Developer Tea for this year, the year 2020. When you hear the year 2020, if you're like most people, it comes with a lot of mixed emotions. And I want to take some time today to encourage you and to hopefully inspire you to move into 2021 with a kind of positive outlook. Okay. So I'm really excited to talk about this because 2020 is one of the hardest years that we've faced as a collective species, as humanity. And that's true for almost everyone universally. And we've talked recently on this show about how we shouldn't view that as a binary truth, how it's easy to classify something as either good or bad, that 2020 was a bad year. And yet there are so many good things that each of us most likely have experienced in 2020. For example, even though you may have not gone into an office for months on end, perhaps you had a chance to reconnect with the people that you live with, if you live with someone or maybe you had a chance to actually spend some time thinking on your own. And while it may be uncomfortable to not be around people for extended periods of time, you may also be helpful, helpful to see your reality from a different perspective. And so I want to encourage you, first of all, to not paint the entire year of 2020 as one broad stroke bad year. Certainly every year has its ups and downs. But I want to encourage you also to look forward into 2021 with a positive outlook. And I'm going to give you a good reason why before we get into the main topic that I want to talk about today, the good reason why you should look into the future with a positive outlook. It's very simple. Okay. But I want to make sure that we dispel the idea that positive thinking somehow manifests positive results. If anybody tells you that they are lying, it doesn't manifest anything. Thinking doesn't really do much of anything in the real world, but it does change your brain. Thinking changes your personal experience. Now, the truth is that we will all wake up on January 21st and nothing will have changed necessarily. January 1st, the world will still be in the midst of a pandemic. On January 1st, all of the things that happened on December 31st will probably carry forward. It's easy to live under the illusion or maybe the hope that with the new year, something will change automatically. That the calendar flipping over has some effect on fate or a larger scale thing. But really, all the calendar is, is a bunch of labels that we put on time. And so as we move into the new year, those labels matter, by the way. It's very clear that we shouldn't discount this. There's a lot of psychological effect on the different chapters, the way that we view time as humans, the way that we kind of put time into containers especially. So it's important that we respect that reality. But it's also necessary for us to recognize that the fate, if you want to call it that, what's happening around us in reality is not going to suddenly change purely because for the passage of time and certainly not overnight. But there is something critically important about thinking positively about the new year. Okay? So here's the simple reality. The good things that come about as a result of our action or inaction, right? The things that happen in the world that we have some effect, some influence on are greatly determined very often by our intention. And it's not just about intention, it's also about direction and it's about energy and all of these other things. It's about having the right information, it's about pushing in the right direction. All of those are true. But very rarely do we randomly succeed. Very rarely do we randomly happen upon a positive event. It's very hard, okay? It's very hard for something good to happen on accident. It's very hard for us to see the world in a negative light and then go out and work for something good. And it's not about seeing the world through a pessimistic or realistic viewpoint, both of which can be helpful. But instead, it's about what you believe about the world. Do you believe that you have the opportunity to make positive change? If you don't believe that, then it's very difficult to find the motivation, to find the energy, to find the time, to find the conviction, to go and try to actually do something. If you didn't believe that, let's say, you could become a programmer, would you go and spend time practicing programming? Probably not. If you truly didn't believe it. But if you did believe it, but you were skeptical about how good of a programmer you might become, interestingly, that might actually spur you forward, right? You might actually become a better programmer because of your skepticism tied with your actual belief, your skeptical that you're going to become a very good programmer, but you also believe that it's possible you could become a good programmer, right? It's this kind of marriage of understanding reality or coming to terms with the difficulties of reality, but also having some level of optimism, right? So this is a mix of optimism and realism, having some level of optimism about what is possible. If we shut down our minds about what is possible, if we allow all of the negative events of 2020 to convince us that 2021 is not worth investing in, then it's very unlikely that we will accidentally succeed that we're going to accidentally become a good programmer. It takes effort and time and it takes belief that those things can occur. And we aren't just talking about fluffy belief, we certainly aren't talking about positive psychology, right? We already mentioned that positive thinking doesn't just manifest the things that you want to be true in the world. That doesn't happen. But what it does do, what positive thinking does allow for is it allows you to experience the effect of something that isn't actually true yet, right? So you can imagine that something is true and experience some of the same emotions as if it was true on the opposite end of the spectrum. Okay, on the opposite end of the thinking, changing your experience spectrum is the experience of anxiety. And many of you have experienced this. You fear something that isn't actually real. Some future event or maybe even a current event that something is happening right now or something is getting ready to happen that isn't actually happening. And you have no evidence to believe that it's happening or maybe you have very little evidence to believe that it's happening. And the more rational side of your brain says that it's not going to happen or that it's unlikely to happen. And so you are believing one thing, but you know something totally different. And the experience of anxiety will remind you, if you've ever had this experience you know the experience of anxiety is very much as if it was really happening. You feel the sense of fear that some impending doom is coming true before your eyes, even though it's not. And so we have this experience on the negative side. We can have a very similar experience on the positive side. We can imagine what it's going to feel like, for example, when we are arriving at some destination that we set out for ourselves and our learning journey as a software engineer. We can feel the experience, the positive experience of what it's like, what it feels like to reach a particular goal with our health, for example. So there's all of these things that we can imagine and that feeling that we can feel the quite literal feeling we feel is simulated. Our brains can't really tell the difference. It's a very interesting phenomenon, but what this provides is an opportunity for you to get some kind of fuel, some motivation to actually make that thing that you are imagining to be a future reality. To actually make that into a current reality. So that is my kind of logical reasoning for having positive thinking about the upcoming year, for having a positive outlook in general, not because it's going to manifest all the things that you want right away, but because it will give you the motivation and the likelihood the higher possibility of those positive things occurring. I hope that you will join me in thinking and believing in positive outcomes for the upcoming year and then going and actually working to make those happen, not letting our thinking and our hopes be where everything ends, but actually putting our feet on the ground and doing something about it. And in today's episode, I'm going to talk about one of the things that you can do, one of the things that you can do to improve your chances of positive things happening in 2021. Before we do that, I want to talk about today's sponsor, Linode. I'm going to tell you upfront that Linode is going to give you an incredible deal. Alright, an incredible deal as a listener of the show, $100 worth of credit. We're going to talk about how to get that here in just a second. If you haven't heard of Linode, then you probably haven't been listening to this show. And the reason for that is because Linode has been around sponsoring Developer Tea for quite a while now for many years, actually. And that's because of Linode. Number one, they're a sustainable company built by developers for developers, but they also want to invest in you. Alright, they want to invest in software engineers in the long haul. They're wanting to give you the tools that you need to build incredible things. And that's exactly what Linode does. And it's a very simple model because Linux is very powerful. And if it runs on Linux, it runs on Linode. Linode has data centers around the world with the same simple and consistent pricing, regardless of location. You can choose the data center that's nearest you or maybe nearest to your customers to lower the latency time between their computer and your server. You also receive 24, 7, 365 human support with no tears or handoffs, regardless of the plan size that you choose. So you're going to get the same level of support no matter how big or small your project is on Linode. You can choose shared or dedicated computants as this or you can use that $100 in credit on S3 compatible object storage, managed Kubernetes and more. $100 can take you a long way on Linode. And once again, if it runs on Linux, it runs on Linode. Now about that $100 in credit. To get that, you just head over to linode.com slash Developer Tea and click on the Create Free Account button to get started. That's linode.com slash Developer Tea and click on the Create Free Account button to get started. Thanks again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So we've been talking about making resolutions, making changes, planning for the next year. And there's a lot of ways to do this. We've covered a lot of ways to do it in previous episodes, previous years of this show. But I want to give you something to reflect on today. On New Year's Eve, the day before the New Year begins. There are a lot of heuristics that we can use as humans to understand a little bit more about ourselves, about others, about the world, about reality. These heuristics, they give us some way of getting a handle on the subject, right? On whatever it is that we're talking about. And in today's episode, I want to talk about one of those heuristics that you can use. And it's a very easy one to remember. Because it comes with this overused phrase that actions speak louder than words. We've all heard this a billion times in our lives. And speak louder than words. And the idea of this is very simple that our actions, whatever we do is perhaps more important or more telling or more true, more effective in the world than whatever we say. But I want to take this one step further. Because if actions are speaking, what are they saying? This is the question I want you to ask yourself. If actions are speaking, if my actions could speak, what would they say about who I am? That's the critical question for you to write down in your journal, put on your Apple notes, whatever it is that you use to mull things over again as you're planning out this year. Think about this question a little bit deeper. If my actions, if the things that I do could speak, what would they say about who I am? And there's a few very simple ways that you can kind of learn about this, that you can explore this question more actively. Because it's easy to answer this question with words, right? It's easy to just say, oh, my actions would say that I am what I think I am and everything is perfect. Okay, this is very rarely do our actions line up with our self-perception. And this is why this is such an important saying, or perhaps an important idea that our actions are not lining up with our words. What we say we are or what we say we want to be is not always in line with our actions. And this is problematic, right? It's problematic that we want to be one thing, but our actions carry us in a different direction either. So one of two things must be true. Either we are not aware that there is a difference there, right? Or we are unwilling or unable to close that gap. Or both of these can be true. There may be more of a gap that we then we think there is, right? So we're aware of a gap, but we're not realizing how big that gap is between what we want, what we say we want and what we are doing in order to achieve that. So here's what I want you to do, all right? There's a couple of, like I said, a couple of exercises you can do that can help you tease out what your actions would say about you, about who you are, about what you care about. Imagine that you take your calendar. Look at your calendar for a given week. What does your calendars say about what your priorities are? If you're using time as a kind of currency to understand, you know, what should I say about you? I'm going to look at the way you spend your time. I'm going to look at the way you spend your money and I'm going to look at the things that you talk about. I'm going to look at the kind of last five conversations you've had. Maybe I'm going to look at the people that you surround yourself with. And I'm going to look at the things that you are interested in. These are all ways of understanding who is this person before you ever say something about who you are, start at these things. So start with your calendar. What does your calendar say about what you care about? Don't try to wrap it in some narrative. You could literally just say, okay, I'm spending, you know, this many hours on this thing. I'm spending this many hours on this other thing. Because if you say that you care a lot about, let's say, fitness, but you spend a lot of time doing things that are unrelated to that, then there is a gap, right? Maybe you spend a lot of time sitting on the couch watching TV. Maybe you care more about TV than you do about fitness. Now, that's not to say that you should shame yourself through this, through this process, but rather you can understand yourself better. There's nothing wrong, necessarily, with caring about one thing over another. But it helps us to understand what we care about so we can optimize our lives and optimize our actions around those things. If we cognitively and emotionally care about one thing, but our actions are carrying us in a different direction, they aren't proving that we care about that thing, then perhaps we can inspect that gap for ourselves. So what does your calendar say about who you are? Now the thing that you can look at is what do your messages to others, the things that you say, the words you use, the things that you talk about, what do those messages say about who you are? Right? If you're spending an inordinate amount of time talking about a particular subject that you don't really care about, why are you spending that much time talking about that subject? These are very simple, heuristic ways of inspecting the things that you actually care about. Now here's the recommendation coming out of this. And I want to keep this part light because it's going to be different for everybody. There is no one that have right way to respond to whatever it is that you find when you do this self-reflection and inspection of the gap between who you are and what you say. But I do want to provide you a little bit of advice as you move forward. Much of the time we build our calendars, we build our schedules, we build our time based around response rather than intention. We're responding to the need to go to work because we're responding to the need for money, because we're responding to the need to eat food. And if we continually build our entire schedules out of response, then much of our identities, the things that we care about, the things that we want to be intentional about, are going to get covered up. And the way that you can kind of see this happening, the language that you want to watch out for is, I want X, but I have to do Y. I want to spend time doing this other thing, but instead, because I have some obligation that I've put on myself, I have to do some other thing. And many of the obligations that we have on our lives are not actually obligations. These are responses. And if we were to imagine coming at it from the other angle, imagine doing something, it's kind of the opposite. If we imagine that our intentions can take care of our responses, rather than our responses, having to move out of the way for our intentions, we can imagine accomplishing those things that we need to accomplish for our obligations through our intentions. So this is a very simple concept and is more difficult in reality. We can't just say, well, chase your dreams and everything is going to fall into place. But there are ways that we can, instead of having to kind of, you know, leave the smallest margin for the things that we care about the most, we can leave the largest margin for the things that we care about the most, and then respond to all of the things that we have to respond to the obligations that we need to fulfill, once we've taken care of those intentional things first. So putting your intention first, rather than your response first. And there's obvious examples of this. You know, of course, if your children are your priority, then perhaps it makes sense to wrap your schedule around time with them rather than fitting in time with them around your schedule. And there's a thousand more examples of this. But the important part here is to change the way you think about it. Your schedule may end up looking kind of similar. And that's nothing to necessarily be ashamed of. You shouldn't try to force something that isn't possible to be possible. But changing the way that you think about it will change the way that you respond when things get stressed, right? When things change around your schedule, what will you prioritize? If you are prioritizing your responses over your intentions, then very often your intentions are going to be left, by the way, said all together. Here's the kind of where the rubber meets the road. When your response is override your intentions so much that you have no space for your intentions, then something needs to change, right? You need to inspect those obligations, inspect whatever it is that's causing you to not be able to do the things that you intend to do. What do your actions say about who you are? That's the question I want you to ask as we move into the new year. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. A huge thank you to today's sponsor, Lynne Ode, our final sponsor of this year head over to Lynne Ode.com slash Developer Tea. Get started on a brand new project as you kick off the new year with $100 worth of credit. Click on the Create Free Account button to get started. That's Lynne Ode.com slash Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the show. As we already talked about on the previous episode of Developer Tea. Spec our podcast network, our beloved podcast network, we've decided to shut spec down. It's been a something that we have all loved to invest our time in and we've chosen to shut this down and pursue other ways of doing podcasting other things entirely for some folks at spec, including the producer of this show, Sarah. And I just want to take a moment to say a huge thank you to Sarah for all of the work that she's put in on this show. This show wouldn't be what it is today without all of the incredible work that she's done over the years. So huge thank you to Sarah Jackson. She has been a lynchpin for the success of Developer Tea. You have also been a lynchpin for the success of the show. You the listener and I want to thank you at the end of this crazy year. And I'm sure you've heard that a thousand times, but it is very true. This show wouldn't exist without you being the listener and I'm just just so incredibly grateful for that. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Until next year, enjoy your tea.