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Values, Beliefs, Green Civics and Programming

I’ve written before about how your beliefs impact your behavior as a programmer in several previous articles:

In fact, many of my post that don’t address a programming skills directly, tend to deal with why we do what we do (or not) as programmers.

But one question I’ve never asked is this, “If what we believe drives what we do, what drives what we believe?”

As it turns out, this is an even more important question than, “what do you believe?” because it also makes you ask follow-up questions that may make you uncomfortable.

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Self-Help Gets a Bad Reputation

I have, for most of my adult life, looked down on “self-help” books as largely a Godless attempt at solving problems only God can solve.  At the very least, they are solving problems I’ve been taught that God is supposed to solve. But, as I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that I may have been mistaken.

Maybe you have looked down at this genre of books too for the same, or different reasons.

Of course, most of the self-help surface material does damage to otherwise legitimately helpful information.

For example, maybe you’ve heard the “Law of Attraction” explained something like this:

If you want to be rich, just start visualizing being rich and riches will start flowing to you.

And anyone with half a brain is going to look at that statement and think, “Are you kidding me?!”

But, when you really start trying to understand what these people might be trying to convey, you realize it is really more like what I would call the “Green Civic” phenomenon.

Green Civic Phenomenon

What is the “Green Civic Phenomenon?”

I’m so glad you asked.

The last car I purchased (1994 if anyone is interested) was a Green Civic.  Prior to purchasing my car, I didn’t notice any Civics on the road at all.  But, the day after I got my new car, Civics were all over the place.  And Green Civics were even more noticeable.

Did everyone purchase new Civics on the same day?  Of course not.

What happened then?

Well, simply the fact of my purchasing the car told my brain that Civics were important and I started noticing what was already there.  In self-help speak, I was “attracting” Green Civics.

And that’s just one place where I’ve been wrong.

Can N People Be Wrong

Well, yes.  Yes they can. But…

I have learned, over time, that if a book is REALLY popular or a guru is really popular, he’s probably just saying what people want to hear.  So, I’ve avoided reading some really popular, and probably really helpful, books simply because I want the truth, not simply something that feels good.  So, you can excuse me if I’ve avoid a book that I should have read a really long time ago.

But, a couple of things happened recently that got me to take another look at a particular guru that I have been avoiding.

The first is that John Sonmez recommended one of his books, “Money Master of the Game.”  Since money is something I’m interested in, I got the audio version of the book and started listening.  I may speak more about that particular book at some other point in time.  But, while I was listening to that book, I heard him talk about things I’ve already mentioned to you in previous blog post.  That what we do is controlled by what we believe.  I can’t remember exactly what he said, but there was enough there that my brain said, “Maybe this guy isn’t quite the wacko you’ve thought he was.”

I also started hearing his name and work show up on several podcast I listen to.  All favorable.

OK, OK.  I should at least see what he has to say!

The Book I Thought I Would Never Read

And so, I picked up a copy of “Awaken the Giant Within.”  I’m a bit past half way and the first half of the book confirmed a lot of what I’ve been teaching others, and speculating on my own behalf, about how behaviors are formed.  How to use some thought tweaks to get yourself to quickly change your behavior.  But it is the second half that has started to move me into a new level of thinking.  Not only does what you believe impact what you do, but what you believe is controlled by what you value.  And, if your values aren’t in line with each other, you will find yourself conflicted about what you want to do.

This has, obviously, got me thinking about what I value.  Why I value it.  And, do I want to continue valuing it?  It certainly explains areas in my life that I struggle with, both professionally and personally.

Like,

  • Why is TDD still a struggle for me, even though I strongly believe in the practice?
  • Why was it so hard to quit good activities that I’m done with?

I had been thinking about this stuff prior to reading the book.  But this is how the “Law of Attraction” really works.  Because I was already thinking in this way, I was primed to notice and be receptive to this information.  Just like my Green Civic.

 

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About Dave Bush

Dave Bush is a Full Stack ASP.NET developer focusing on ASP.NET, C#, Node.js, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, BootStrap, and Angular.JS.Does your team need additional help in any of the above? Contact Dave today.