« All Episodes

Friday Refill: Inviting Growth Into Your Regular Schedule

Published 5/21/2021

Humans have the unique ability to intentionally practice and better ourselves. What makes you grow? Are you inviting those triggers and contexts into your regular schedule? How are you making time for growth?

Join the Developer Tea Discord community here: https://developertea.com/discord

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Happy Friday everybody, this is another Friday refill episode of Developer Tea. In the last episode of the show, we talked about self-coaching. The idea that you can ask yourself questions that provoke thought. This is a unique thing that humans can do, that we can inspect ourselves. We're aware of our own selves. And what that means is that we can, in a way, escape ourselves and work on our own improvement. We can practice. This is one of the most important things that humans can do, that most other animals do accidentally. The process of practicing for most animals is to find some kind of reward and provide it based on particular actions. And as the animal improves at those particular actions, they get rewarded more. And over time, the mechanisms have to change to keep the animal motivated. It's important to understand this picture. It's a very rough picture, by the way, not all animals respond to rewards. And not all animals can improve at various skills. But the principle remains the same for humans, that we can find intrinsic rewards. We can build those rewards in a psychological realm, rather than it being some kind of physical need being met, avoiding pain or seeking a particular kind of pleasure. And because we have this ability to practice intentionally, we have the opportunity to grow. And in today's episode, I want you to focus on one very simple idea, one very simple question, what makes you grow consistently? What activities, what kind of people, what kind of practice, what kind of regimen, what kind of habits, what kind of learning and what kind of media, what are the things that make you grow? For some people, growth comes as the result of a trigger, and it can be something that they can consistently reproduce. For other people, growth is largely part of their environment. But regardless of what your particular needs are for growth, I want you to try to nail down as much as you can, a list of three to five things that, as you look back over your career, they can say, yes, that particular thing, trigger growth for me. And here's the important part. If we only have those moments by happenstance, if we only have growth by the result of randomness, or if we only experience growth because we are subjected to something that we didn't choose, then our growth is going to be inconsistent. By the way, when I say growth, I essentially mean your betterment. Most of that is going to be in the form of learning. And very often, what makes us grow isn't necessarily going to be comfortable. This is a principle that holds true in a lot of different areas. Like growth requires some kind of adaptation, something that needs to change. We grow out of necessity more often than we grow out of striving. And so, as you look back over your history, and particularly your career history, but also your personal history, think about the times when you grew the most. Some of those are going to be uncomfortable, certainly not something that you would want to simulate on a regular basis. But instead, when you find, for example, that you grow in uncomfortable situations where you're stretching yourself, this is probably a pretty common answer to this question. When you're stressed in a positive way, that's the kind of place that you might grow. Then you need to understand that your future growth, your consistent future growth, is dependent on you, inviting that stress, inviting that stretching, that uncomfortable reality on a regular basis, scheduling it in, making it a part of your routine or making it a part of your pursuit of your intention. If you only experience this kind of stretching, this kind of difficult moment in time by happenstance, then it's not going to be consistent. You're not going to grow consistently. And it's not just uncomfortable situations to be clear. There are other things that can help us grow. For example, we can grow much better when we have extended periods of rest. This is an important part of the growth process for most people. You have to decide for yourself and everybody is different how you grow most consistently. Write those things down, figure out what those things are for you, and then ask yourself, how am I making space for those? How am I inviting those kinds of interactions into my regular schedule? How do I grow intentionally? This is a unique advantage that we have as humans, the ability to intentionally practice, to bring ourselves into situations that will adapt us. I want for you to grow and the only way you're going to be able to do that consistently is to invite those things to be a part of your regular schedule. Thank you so much for listening to this Friday refill episode of Developer Tea. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it was inspirational, if not a bit challenging today. Of course, we're going to be back with three more episodes of this show next week. So make sure you subscribe and whatever podcasting app you're currently using. If you want to have conversations like these on regular basis with me and other software engineers who are on that pursuit of growing with you, then join us in the Discord community. And over to developertea.com slash Discord. We have a lot of things going on in there. Most of it is pretty low key. That's one of the things I really like about our Discord community. We are not overbearing sending a thousand messages. You're not going to feel like you're missing out on a bunch of stuff. The conversation is relatively mellow. Surprise. This show is relatively mellow. So the community kind of reflects that. It's a group of people who are looking to help other people and looking to grow themselves. So we have things like a book club. And the first book that the book club is reading is thinking fast and slow. No surprise there. If you want to read that book and have some commentary discuss with other engineers who are improving in their careers, then join our Discord community. That's developertea.com slash Discord. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. And until next time, enjoy your tea.