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Four Questions for the Weekend

Published 3/7/2020

Happy Saturday!

In today's episode, we're asking four questions that cause us to pause and reflect in order to answer.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Happy Saturday! We have four questions for you on today's episode of Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. My goal on this show is to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. Questions are one of the most powerful things that you can use to find motivation and to find novel ways of looking at situations, especially if you can apply questions that are not necessarily already on your mind. Questions that don't come easily, questions that are not obvious. If you can find questions that you can apply to a given scenario, to your life, or to your project that you're working on, those questions can help illuminate different angles on the subject that you were discussing on the subject that you're dealing with. So it's useful to find sources of good questions. This isn't just something that you would necessarily Google. Of course, you may have Googled to land on this episode, but I'd encourage you to surround yourself with people who are willing to ask you questions. And to be clear, we're not talking about simple questions like how long is that going to take or how is everything going? These are questions that you get asked by everyone in your life. Instead, try to think about questions that require a pause. Questions that you can't answer immediately. They take time to consider and sometimes you may not have an answer at all. Because these are the best kinds of questions to ask yourself because the question will linger in your mind. So I'm going to share with you four questions and since we're doing this on a weekend, hopefully you have time to consider these questions to ponder them, rather than being swept away into your daily work, perhaps you can think about these throughout your day today. So let's dive into the first question. What is one thing you've changed your mind about in the last three to five years? And what do you believe today that you're not sure you will believe in 10 years? This is kind of a two-part question, of course. One is backward looking, trying to identify something that you believed before or some behavior that you adhered to before, that you no longer adhere to. And the boundaries that I want you to put on this question are boundaries of perception, something that you expected three to five years ago that has occurred in a different way, for example, or maybe a belief that you held very strongly that now you don't hold at all. And then looking forward into the future. What beliefs do you hold today that you may not hold in 10 years? What perception do you have today that you believe will shift within the next 10 years? And it's important to do it in this order because we are much more likely to identify something that has changed in the past than we are to expect something to change in the future. We believe that we've kind of arrived at our final location, that the beliefs we hold now, we will hold for the rest of our lives. The preferences that we have today will have on our last day. But if you start by priming yourself and thinking about the change that you have gone through recently in the last three to five years, then it should make a lot of intuitive sense that you might experience change in the future as well. What you'll probably notice is that your perspective of yourself three to five years ago may feel like you have a lot of wisdom in hindsight that back then you were silly. They didn't know what you were doing. But it's unlikely that you feel that you're silly today, that you feel that you don't know what you're doing today. That in three to five years, looking back, you might have the same feeling about yourself today as you have about yourself three to five years ago now. And the reason this exercise is so helpful is that it reminds us that our perception, our beliefs and the way we operate in the world is fluid. Our learning and this kind of question reminds us to remain in a position of learning, in a position of flexibility and humility. Let's go on to the second question. What is one thing you expect to try and fail at today? What can you identify upstream from that failure that you might do differently to prevent? For example, let's say you're working on a code base and you've dedicated yourself to actually practicing test driven development. You believe in the merits of this practice and nobody has to convince you that it's a good idea. And yet when you walk into work each day, you feel the pressure to skip, to skip over the tests and write the code directly. This is something that you try to change, but each day for whatever reason you still walk away having not written the tests that you wish you had written. So you may feel that this try and fail pattern is now the norm. But it's worth inspecting what causes this pattern to be repeated. And is there any way that you might interrupt it? The goal of this question is to avoid the mantra of try harder. Trying harder has its limits, not only in the literal sense that there's only so hard you can try to do something, but also in the behavioral sense. A trying harder is very rarely the long-term fix. Most of the time the answer is in your environment. The things that you want to do you are prevented from doing for some reason. You may have sufficient energy, sufficient motivation to do these things, but there's some kind of barrier. So I want you to focus on what barriers, what upstream barriers are you facing to being successful at the thing that you normally fail at? Now to be clear, we're talking about something that you can accomplish. Broadly speaking, we're talking about will power tasks, things that you can do, but for whatever reason, you're not adhering to those things. We're going to take a quick break to talk about today's sponsor, Linode. And then we're going to come back and talk about the other two questions that I have for you today. Today's episode is sponsored by Linode. It's the weekend and you might have a weekend project that you're working on and you haven't decided how you're going to deploy it yet. Whether you're working on that personal project or maybe on Monday, you're going to be managing your enterprise's infrastructure. Linode has the pricing, the support and the scale that you need to take your project to the next level. They have 11 data centers worldwide, meaning latency is going to be basically in the floor, including the newest data center in Sydney, Australia, with enterprise grade hardware, that's three compatible storage option, and their next generation network. Linode delivers the performance you expect at a price that you don't. For example, their Nano plan starts as low as $5 a month. With that, you get root access to a Linux machine in the cloud. And that machine has native SSD storage and it's on a 40 gigabit internal network with industry leading processors. Beyond this incredible hardware that you get access to, you also get access to the tools that Linode provides. For example, their revamped cloud manager built on an open source single page app, go to cloud.linode.com to check that out. You'll also get access to Linode's API that is version four and a Python CLI. So anything you can imagine doing to automate your server management processes, you can do with these these API tools. They have dedicated CPU plans, they have GPU plans as well, block storage, object storage. You can do one click installs for things like WordPress, a lamp stack, game servers. Go and check it out, head over to linode.com slash Developer Tea. Use the promo code Developer Tea2020. That's all one word Developer Tea 2020 and check out. That's going to give you $20 worth of credit if you are a new customer. Go and check it out linode.com slash Developer Tea. Thanks again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. I have two more questions for you in today's episode and hopefully you've enjoyed this kind of taking a step back away from your software development work, thinking about these ways of thinking. Of course, all of this applies to your job on a day to day basis. You can think about the habits that you are forming and the kinds of things that you beliefs that you held about software three to five years ago, the kinds of beliefs that you hold now that you might not hold in a decade from now. So all of this is 100% applicable at a very concrete level, but the wonderful thing about these questions and these kinds of questions is that you can apply them as lenses on almost any area of your life and hopefully over the weekend, as you listen to this episode, you're able to do that. So let's jump into question number three. What moment can you not afford to miss out on today? What moment can you not afford to miss out on today? I've chosen these words very specifically. Recently on this podcast, we talked about your time being an account with an unknown balance. That every day, you are spending at a constant rate. You're spending that time and you don't know when that balance is going to run out. And so it makes sense to ask this question of what moment can you not afford to miss out on? There is going to be a moment today, even if you make that moment happen yourself. That's a critical point. There can be a moment today that is too important for you to miss out on. And what are you going to do about this? If you can identify a moment that you don't want to miss out on, how can you make sure that you are fully present for that moment? We'll ask kind of a bonus question here. This is called three and a half. Question number three and a half. What is most likely to cause you to miss out on that moment? What is the culprit? What is the distraction or the inefficiency? What will take that moment away from you today? When your daily work, this moment might be interacting with a coworker or it might be a moment of intense focus. These are moments that are incredibly valuable as well. So it's important to identify those moments before they happen, if possible, and also give yourself some kind of cue for when they are happening as well. This is in that moment today, what is likely to pull you away from it? What is causing that moment to be shortened or otherwise removed from your life? And finally, we'll come to the fourth question. What is something that you've been putting off that you can take action on today? What is something that you've been putting off you've been procrastinating on it? You can take action on it today. My challenge you even if that action is small, even if it's an incomplete step, even if it's a half step towards whatever that thing is they've been procrastinating on, encourage you to take that half step today. Once again, this absolutely applies in your work life. Maybe you've been meaning to go back and document the weird way that you did that thing in that file or maybe you've been meaning to reach out to a coworker that you feel like is in need of some support. Or maybe this is as simple as doing a chore that you just haven't taken the time to do. These kinds of actions are a type of self-care or mental hygiene. These are things that hang around in our minds and we can easily beat ourselves up over the guilt of procrastination. And if we even take the smallest step, it's easy to feel the opposite of that guilt, a sense of victory, a sense of momentum, but not just because we're addicted to progress. Instead, we're celebrating this kind of momentum, this kind of action that we take because we have chosen to do so. Having a choice is an act of autonomy and having that feeling that you have made a choice that you're proud of can give you a sense of freedom and ease in your life. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you again to Lynneau for sponsoring today's episode. However, to Lynneau.com slash Developer Teato get started today, you can get a $20 credit by using the code Developer Tea 20. That's all one word, Developer Tea 2020 at checkout. I'd love to hear from you as you think through these questions. Over the weekend or in the future, if you encounter this episode and it's not a weekend, no matter what the day is, please reach out and share the kinds of thoughts that you're having in response to these questions on Twitter at at Developer Teaor you can email me at Developer Tea at gmail.com. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.