Developer Tea

Focusing On Improving One Value At A Time

Episode Summary

In today's episode, we're talking about how we can practice values and stay focused without overanalyzing every detail.

Episode Notes

If you were to list your values today, it's likely that the list is not simple. There's a lot to understand when we try to explain what we think and our place in the world as we see it.

In today's episode, we're talking about how we can practice our values and stay focused without overanalyzing every detail.

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Episode Transcription

If you were to list your values today, if you were to take out a piece of paper or your journal and try to explain all of the things that you believe and feel and would like to kind of act out in your life, the kinds of moral duties that you feel are necessary or ethics that you think should govern your behavior, it's likely that the list is not simple. It's probably long and filled with caveats. There's a lot to consider. There's a lot to understand when we try to explain what we think about the world and about our place in it. So we have to find some kind of resolution, some way of practicing our values while also not becoming paralyzed by just how many values we have to consider for a given action. In today's episode, we're going to talk about how you can practice your values, not just your values, but how you can practice really anything as you're learning to become a programmer, how you can stay focused without having to over-analyze every little detail. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal in this show is to help driven developers find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. We start each day from a position of limitation. This isn't something that we choose. It is a simple fact, a reality of our existence, that our time is limited. The number of interactions that we can fit in a given day is limited. We all have different limits as to what we can do within that time, but we do have a limit. If we are to try to enact our values, then it would make very little sense to try to enact all of those values within those limits. In other words, to view a single day as some kind of microcosm of our whole lives. Theoretically, we want to follow all of our values and use them to drive all of our decisions, drive all of our actions in a given day, but practically, practically, when we try to use all of those points of information in order to balance all of our actions, we end up forgetting. We end up not optimizing for any one of them, not really producing a particular strong push towards any one value. There is a need to pair down what we are trying to focus on for a given day. There is a need to do this when we are learning. For example, if you are a brand new programmer, it doesn't make sense to try to learn 15 or 20 things all at once, but it also doesn't make sense to just learn one thing at a time. The best research on learning shows us that if we learn a couple of things at a time, that one thing kind of enhances the learning of another thing. So we can imagine that our brains have some kind of threshold where the lower bound is not the most optimum way of thinking or learning or operating, and then the upper bound is certainly also not the most optimum way of thinking or learning. We actually have to live somewhere in the middle. We are going to take a quick break and talk about today's sponsor, and then we are going to come back and discuss ways that you can practically apply this. How do you balance? Somewhere in the middle. Today's episode is sponsored by Vetterie. Maybe you are focused on finding a job, and you've probably figured out that there's so much out there. There's so many different ways that you can seek a job, but you don't have time to try to focus on all of them to the point of this episode today. You can only focus on a subset of those pathways. So how can you make sure that you're focusing on the right ones? Vetterie is an online hiring marketplace that is specific to the tech space, and access is exclusive. It's only software developers, only data scientists, only product managers, people in the tech space, and access is exclusive. It's not everyone out there who wants to be on this platform. That means that that signal to noise ratio is much, much better than it would be on just any old job platform. So once you're live on the Vetterie marketplace, top employers can view your profile and extend interview requests via email. And who are these top employers? It's over 20,000 companies from innovative startups to Fortune 500 firms across the United States, Canada, and the UK. Now, it's not just every company that's going to see every single candidate. Instead, you can set kind of a filtered set. So it's preferences for desired location, top skills, your background, your years of experience, even your salary requirement. So you're going to be receiving interview requests that match you best. Vetterie is free to join, and on top of that, you can get a $300 bonus if you end up accepting a job through Vetterie. Head over to slash Developer Teathat's V-E-T-T-E-R-Y. slash Developer Teato get started today. Remember, if you use that link, it helps support the show. Thanks again to Vetterie for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. If we're talking about ways of practicing all of our values, then we have to understand that we have this kind of mental bias of thinking about trying to do everything within one day. We want to practice all of our values every single day. The truth is that we can't really practically do that. That's what we talked about so far on today's episode. How should we practice our values? Just because we can't practice them all in one day, it doesn't mean we want to drop them. It doesn't mean we have to cut them down. There's some kind of false narrative in our minds that says that we have to find a way to shove all of our values into every single day. That's simply not true. How can you find the right balance? The truth is there is no single right answer. Some people have ups and downs. They have bad days. They have seasons where a particular value goes kind of dormant for them. To be clear, when we talk about values, we're talking about things that individuals care about that might be different from other individuals. These are not necessarily differences in ethics. These are not necessarily differences in how we believe the world should be. It may simply be something like the types of hobbies that we appreciate. There's all kinds of values and there's values have different impacts on our lives and the people around us and the world around us. In order to stay functionally operable, in order to be able to operate in our world and actually get things that we care about doing done, we should be able to focus on a subset each and every day. If you're listening to this podcast, you are probably hoping to grow as an individual, perhaps all the way throughout your life. It's a never stop growing. If you're looking at that long list of values you want to improve. You want to improve the way that you practice those values. Improvement is unlikely to happen across all those values at once. Instead focusing on a subset means choosing a value. Choosing a specific value that you want to improve on today. Here's the caveat. Here's where people get lost on this particular idea of choosing a value. This doesn't mean that you drop all of your other values for the day. It doesn't mean that you operate in opposition to your other values. It doesn't mean that you have suddenly lost some arbitrary number of points, some kind of point system in your value set. That's not what this means. Instead, what it means is in the extra kind of intentional improvement energy that you spend, it's going to be in that particular direction. Here's what I recommend in addition. There are some values. There's going to be some subset of values probably in that space of ethics that you never want to compromise on. This is how you can improve in all of the other values. You have some subset of values that are ethics that you never want to compromise on. Then you have other values that you always want to be improving on, but you may not necessarily intentionally improve on them for weeks at a time. For example, you may value staying in touch with your distant family and the way that you practice this might be to visit them on a monthly or even on a seasonal basis. This doesn't necessarily mean that the times when you're not visiting them that you don't value them. That might feel obvious in that kind of scenario, but in the same way, you could consider a value like collaboration. If you didn't put energy towards being collaborative today, that doesn't equate to you no longer valuing collaboration or you not practicing the value of collaboration. Instead we have to reckon with our limited energy. We have to recognize that our values are something that we develop over time and visiting each one individually. Maybe the best way that we can start to build more intuition for how to practice those values so that instead of taking our energy to improve on them all at once, we can improve on one at a time and build up our good habits, build up our heuristics so that we automatically practice those values in the future. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you Ian, to Vetterie for sponsoring today's episode. Head over to slash Developer Tea. That's all one word. That's slash Developer Tea. You'll get that $300 worth of bonus and remember that helps support Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening. Today's episode wouldn't be possible without A wonderful network head over to to find other shows that can help you improve as a designer or developer in your career. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.