What do you value? Values aren't always easy to find. In today's episode, we talk about using the lens of fear to understand our values better.
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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What do you value? The answer to this question is different for everyone who is listening to the show. Some people will have similar values. Many of us do. Some people will have totally different values, polar opposites it may seem. And determining your values is not necessarily as simple as it seems. If you try to answer this question based on your gut, you might say that you value family. What does this mean exactly? Do you value simply having a family or are you expressing something deeper that you act on behalf of that family? Your values typically are the things that you're willing to, in one way or another, make a trade-off for. It doesn't necessarily have to be a difficult sacrifice. For example, many people value having great friendships and to have those great friendships, they may sacrifice not having great friendships. It seems like the more enjoyable option to follow that value. But typically the values that actually define us, the values that are unique from another person that are not really universally shared or largely shared by a big number of people that you know. These values are often more difficult to discern. And not only are they more difficult to discern, but usually they require different decision-making than someone who wouldn't hold that value. In today's episode of Developer Tea, we're going to talk about a different angle that you can use to look at finding your values. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. Developer Teaexists to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. And the reality of values is that we all have survival instincts. We all have shared needs. Most humans have not only just survival needs, but also some higher level human needs, like the need for acceptance. And arguably all of these needs go back to some kind of evolutionary reason for that need to exist. For example, acceptance is likely good for your health. But it's also likely that at one point acceptance meant that someone else would protect you. They would look over your shoulder. They would tell you when a predator was sneaking up on you. So there are a lot of needs that we all share because they've kept us going as a race. But we're not all the same. We all have different reasons for doing the things that we do. And wherever these reasons come from, whether it's our upbringing or maybe something in our DNA, our surroundings, or maybe it's something that we don't totally understand yet, that we can't put a label on necessarily. These are the things that define us, that define us and make us unique from each other. And we have to inspect our own values if we want to really work from them. If we want to make decisions based on those values. And this can be really helpful. If you make decisions based on your values, not only are you likely to make decisions that you don't regret, for example, but you're also making more intentional decisions rather than accidental decisions or impulsive decisions. As we've talked about plenty of times on the show before, we don't often agree with ourselves. In other words, we have a lot of worrying and conflicting ideas in our heads about what we should do in a given moment or in a long-term scenario. This is why we ask others for advice. It's also why we have to make resolutions to change our habits. There are things that we say that we want or that we kind of slow down and we can write out who we want to be or how we want to be. And then there's our actual actions. And we have to actually do that first part, understanding who it is that we want to be, the kinds of things that we want to do with our lives, with the time that we have. And if we don't have those things figured out, then often we can make decisions blindly, we'll walk down the path of that decision just to realize that we didn't really want to make that decision in the first place. But finding your values isn't as simple as asking yourself, what do I like? Values and preferences are not the same thing. And in today's episode, I'm going to provide a different lens, maybe an inversion that can help you find your values in a little bit of a different way. Before we do that, I'm going to talk about today's sponsor, Discover.bot. Discover.bot is an online community for bot creators. It's designed to serve as a platform-agnostic digital space for bot developers and enthusiasts of all skill levels to learn from one another, share their stories, and move the conversation about bots forward together. Web.bot is built by Amazon registry services incorporated. So, Amazon's very serious about bots. Hopefully, you knew that by now. They regularly publish how-to guides on the latest bot-building resources. So for example, how to design a bot's personality or how to stop shopping cart abamment with your bot. In the community, you'll also see more expert advice. Like, for example, why are emojis breaking your bot and how can you write an engaging chat bot dialogue? And if you're new to bots, this would be the category that I'm in. There's a beginner's guide to bots article. This guide will teach you how bots were invented, the basics of how they work, and what they can do. Go and check it out head over to Discover.bot slash Developer Tea that's Discover.bot slash Developer Tea all one word to get started in this community today. Thank you again to Discover.bot for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. And today's episode of Developer Tea, we've been talking about finding your values. This is something that's very hard to do, and it's very hard to even nail down exactly what a value is. So you kind of have to have a working definition to really have a conversation about it. And today's episode we said that values are kind of the things that make you unique. It's not just a preference, and it's not something that is shared by most of humans. Like for example, having a value that is your family is probably not something that you can really strongly wrap your decisions around. You have to dig a little bit deeper and decide what specific values do you have for you and for perhaps another group of people like your family, your contribution to those groups of people. So, you know, it's difficult to dig this up because they aren't just printed in our brain somewhere. A lot of what we have to do is observe the past, observe our own behaviors, our own feelings and emotions. And this can be really difficult to do. Something on events that have occurred in the past is difficult to do because we don't have a perfect record of it. Our memory is spotty, often we fill in details that weren't necessarily even there to begin with. And we have to do this. Our brain has to do this to make sense of the world. But we don't remember our feelings very well, and we also don't predict our feelings very well. So one piece of advice if you're trying to uncover your values is to keep a journal, keep a very simple journal that you write down especially moments of strong feeling and do this regularly. The idea here is to capture the things that cause you to feel strong emotions, whether those emotions are positive or negative. Something as simple as a daily check-in kind of journal where you write down on a scale of 1 to 10 or maybe you use a better scale like 1 to 5, how do you feel today? And then you provide some justification for those feelings. And this can be a valuable way to explore your values and the problem that you're going to face is that it takes a little bit of time for you to uncover these values. So another signal that you can pay attention to to kind of uncover your own value set is to look at the inverse of your values. What things do you anti-value? Now what does that mean? Well, you can probably find your values by looking at your fears. In most situations we are responding to some kind of fear. Whether that fear is small or maybe it's overtaking everything that we can process in that moment, a lot of the time the emotions that we have could be traced to some kind of fear. Even positive emotions could probably be linked to the absence of something that we fear. Many times the more complex emotions that we have like impatience or anger, those can be traced back to some kind of fear as well. Let's take a very simple example. You're impatient with a coworker. Let's say you're on a team with someone and they're writing code very slowly. And you're impatient with them. You wish that they would move faster. So let's try to uncover what fears might be behind this impatience. Perhaps you are afraid that the other person is going to drag the whole team down. And even though you aren't necessarily at fault, you will have to carry their fault. Or maybe you're afraid that since the other person is slow, your manager or somebody is going to rely on you to pick up their slack. Or maybe you're afraid that if this person is slower than me, but they're still getting promotions, then I'm going to be treated unfairly. And I don't want to expend more energy for the same level of appreciation. So that fear would be the fear of being in some kind of unfair situation to you. There's a lot of fears that you could attach to almost any example here, but if you can find those fears, then often the value is the inverse of that fear. If you fear either being in or creating an unfair situation, not everyone necessarily shares that fear. Some people are actually okay being in unfair situations or creating them. But if unfair situations in general make you very uncomfortable, you fear them, you avoid them. You want to create the opposite of that. Then perhaps one of your values is equanimity. Maybe the value is justice or maybe you want balance or transparency. There's a lot of values here that could be on the other side of that fear. If you have a very strong fear of not being liked by your colleagues, again, this is something that many people have, but many people don't. Perhaps one of your values is harmony with the people that you work with. If you have a fear of being seen as lazy and maybe that's driving you to work very hard, maybe your value is effort. Not that you are overworking, that's not necessarily your value, but you want others to see you as a dependable, hard working person. There's a whole host of these values that you can uncover by inspecting, by being aware of not just the things that you like and appreciate, but the things that you fear. And often our fear is more expressive. So I encourage you to dig these up for yourself. Try to figure out, for example, your ideal scenario. What are some of the characteristics of your ideal scenario? Some of these are going to be hard to predict. So use previous scenarios and aspects of those that you liked. Take a moment to write down how you feel more often. And then when you have a reasonable number of those records of how you felt over the past couple of months, for example, it may do you good to go back and look at those. And you can uncover your values little by little. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I'd love to hear from you if you are uncovering your values. Or if you found something in this episode particularly enlightening, please reach out to me and you can find me on Twitter at Developer Tea. You can also leave a review for the show and iTunes. There's a link in the show notes to do just that. Thanks again to Discover.bott for sponsoring today's episode. Have it head over to Discover.bott to join a community of bot developers and enthusiasts that are looking to share information with you. Thanks so much for listening. Today's episode wouldn't have been possible without spec. To find other shows that are designed for people like you, you'll find tons of awesome content on all kinds of topics that are relevant to designers and developers who are looking to level up their careers. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.