« All Episodes

Change Yourself Instead of the World

Published 9/12/2018

What do you need to be happy? Today we're going to talk about finding the things that we need to make us happy in ourselves and where we can put our efforts to continue making us happy down the road.

Today's Episode is Brought To you by: Linode

Instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode Cloud. Get a server running in seconds with your choice of Linux distro, resources, and node location. Developer Tea listeners can get a $20 credit and try it out for free when you visit: linode.com/developertea and use promo code: DeveloperTea2018

P.s. They're also hiring! Visit https://www.linode.com/careers to see what careers are available to you.

Get in touch

If you have questions about today's episode, want to start a conversation about today's topic or just want to let us know if you found this episode valuable I encourage you to join the conversation or start your own on our community platform Spectrum.chat/specfm/developer-tea

🧡 Leave a Review

If you're enjoying the show and want to support the content head over to iTunes and leave a review! It helps other developers discover the show and keep us focused on what matters to you.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What do you need to be happy? This isn't the first podcast to talk about this subject. Here on Developer Tea, we discuss all kinds of things related to psychology. And there are other podcasts that have covered this subject of happiness, some very popular ones. But I want to talk to you about this cognitive distortion, this fixation that we have that prevents us, both as developers and as people, from finding the things that will make us happy within ourselves, and more importantly, where we can put our focus, where we can put our efforts. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to Developer Tea, and my goal on this show is to help driven developers connect to their career purpose. They can do better work and have a positive influence on the people around them. And in today's episode, I want to talk to you about change, and more specifically, why we focus on change as the agent of our happiness. When you think about what's going to make you happy, what are the things that come to mind? For most people, the answer is going to be something along the lines of when I fill in the blank, when I retire, or whenever I work out the interpersonal issues that I have at home or at work or with my kids, still for others, it's a raise or a position or perhaps even a bit of knowledge, some level of intellectual accomplishment. That these are the things that you will finally be able to kind of tick over that last hump from unhappy to happy. And so we view happiness as an accomplishment or perhaps as a state of the world around us. And this requires us to find change that isn't necessarily in line with our current realities. And so for many people, this distant happiness becomes elusive because as we accomplish these things, as the change that we are seeking, as we actually come up on that change, or as we realize that change, or perhaps when we find out that that change will never occur, our target for what it means to be happy with shifts. Let's say that you are 10 years younger than you are right now. Perhaps if you are in your 30s, then rewind in your mind back to your 20s. Of course, if you're in your 50s, rewind to your 40s. And imagine that if someone were to ask you, will you be happy in 10 years? Certainly, most people would answer, well of course. Because our sights are set on something that is not so distant, not so far off into the future that it seems intangible, unreachable. Instead it seems that happiness or the drive for happiness may even have this kind of focusing effect. And yet as we approach that 10 year mark, as we approach today, if you would ask those same people, did you accomplish the happiness that you wanted? Have you arrived at the place that you were going? Many would say no. So this idea of change, of externally focused, changed this desire for our circumstances around us to shift. This is what I want to focus on in today's episode. And more specifically, I want to talk to you about how we can change that focus and perhaps find happiness in a different way. That first I want to talk about today's sponsor at Linode. Linode is returning as a sponsor to Developer Tea and they're providing you a $20 worth of credit, which is equivalent to four free months on Linode's platform. Linode has 10 data centers worldwide and plans start at just $5 a month. They have a seven day money bag guarantee. So if you get started with Linode and in seven days you decide that you're not happy, you can get all of your money back. Of course, you can start for free. So there's essentially no risk. Linode has 24, 7 friendly support and they even have phones, so phone support available. And they have native SSD storage, all of it runs on a 40 gigabit internal network on top of Intel E5 processors. With Linode, you can instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode cloud. You can get a server running in just seconds with your choice of Linux distribution, resources and node location. Get over to linode.com slash Developer Tea. That's linode liinode.com slash Developer Teaall in word and use the code Developer Tea2018 when you check out for that $20 worth of credit. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea and for providing listeners with credit on their platform. So this fixation that we have on change, the idea that once I get something or once something happens around me or once that certain person starts acting in this different way or once I cultivate this particular relationship, all of these things are kind of external effects. They're a state of the world that's outside of us and here's the problem with this. The problem is as we have already mentioned that as we approach that state, things tend to change. We tend to change our definition of what we believe the best state of the world could be and our happiness target kind of moves. So even with a lot of work that we exert on the external world to try to manage it into a state that we want, we often end up not any happier than we were before. And the reality is the difficulty of changing the state of the world around us really can't be overstated. It's extremely difficult to change another person and perhaps even a bad idea, maybe not within our list of responsibilities to incite change in another human being. And if we are always striving for some external set of circumstances, then we also provide ourselves a possibility of severe failure when those circumstances fall apart. So what's a better approach? What can we do as developers and as humans to better manage our pursuit of happiness? Instead of focusing all of our change, energy, all of our efforts on the external world and all of our attention on monitoring the progress of that external world, we could instead focus on the things that we do have influence over. Arguably, the thing we have the most influence over is ourselves. Once if we focused our change internally, then we may be able to approach happiness a little bit differently. And it's not just about happiness, it's also about fulfillment. Maybe our fulfillment in our jobs will change if we focus less of our energy outward and more of our energy inward. And the way that we interact with the world, the way we interact with our jobs with the people around us. The way that we even interact with our money. And instead of viewing happiness as some sort of measure of gratification, this sense that I'm gratified in one moment and if we stack up a bunch of continuous gratified moments, then that constitutes happiness. If instead we kind of decouple happiness from gratification and instead choose happiness as a way of thinking and a way of operating, through instead of gratification something more like acceptance, viewing our position and our path and our current state, where we are now, the problems that we have now and the things that we have to be grateful for today. If we can view our happiness or our kind of fulfillment through that lens, then perhaps our energy will change. What we do with our energy will change. And this isn't at some metaphysical level. This is at a very practical level. If instead of focusing on that raise, you could focus on being grateful for your coworkers. If instead of focusing on all of the things that you wish, your spouse or your kids or your roommates or your friends would do differently, focus on the things that made you start a relationship with those people to begin with. Focus on the positive qualities of those relationships. Instead of constantly looking for the next job opportunity and of course there's nothing wrong with keeping your eyes open for opportunity, but if you're only focused on opportunity, instead of that, you could focus on the opportunity that you have now, the one that you already took. What you'll find out is that the energy that you put into change is actually changing the way that you view your present situation. And instead of feeling that the world around you and perhaps even yourself that you're inadequate or that the world is inadequate for you, now you start to cultivate a sense of gratitude, both for yourself and for the world. Now of course this isn't a magic solution to all of your frustrations. You're still going to get annoyed and frustrated and you're still going to have conflict that you need to work through. And there will still be career aspirations that you're shooting towards and you still need to understand some level of drive, some level of aspiration. But instead of interfacing with the world as if the world is wrong, you now have a new perspective that the world is always changing and everything in the world, including you, is always changing. Your situation will always change. And your targets for happiness or gratification may change. And as your situation's changed, you can choose to accept those situations, to be grateful for those situations, to focus on the job at hand or you can choose to always wish that the world was different. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope this has been an encouraging thought process and hopefully this resounds with you and helps you interface with your world a little bit differently today. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode with Linode. You get SSD storage on top of a 40 gigabit internal network with 10 data centers around the world. They have block storage, they have phone support 24, 7, head over to linode.com slash Developer Tea, use the code Developer Tea2018 and check out. I want to take a moment to thank those of you who have taken the time to go and leave a review on iTunes. This is a super important part of the lifeblood for a podcast because this helps both Apple and Apple know that you're listening to this podcast but also it helps other developers find the show and decide if they want to listen as well. So your voices matter immensely. On top of that, of course I'm reading and responding to your feedback through the show. Thank you so much for those of you who have already done that. If you want to leave a review on iTunes, you can follow the link that's in the show nuts. Thanks for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.