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Introspection: comparing myself to others, glorifying the past

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This article is about: personal

This post is a little bit of introspection for me. I’ve recently been given a bit of time to think about certain things, and I’d like a make a note of them for my own personal growth.

If this isn’t the kind of article you’re looking for from me, feel free to skip this one.

Drawing personal comparisons #

I find that I often spend time thinking about who I compare to other developers, especially those on my team or within my organisation.

This helps me sometimes because once I’ve identified who I think is a better developer, I tend to watch their work more closely. This is because I’d like to pick up some of the things that make them so effective at their jobs.

However, I’ve also noticed that sometimes it leads to bumps in the road of my relationships with that person. I sometimes have a tendency to say things like “oh, you’re a much better developer than me”, which (a) puts them on a pedestal, and (b) sometimes annoys them.

It puts them on a pedestal because really what I’m doing is being a bit envious of that person. I’m never happy with myself, and sometimes value myself very poorly. But sometimes that means I value others too much.

It annoys my colleagues because once I’ve told them I think they’re a better developer than me, they have to find some way of shifting the rather uncomfortable focus either back to me or onto something else. For some people that’s a frustration they could do without.

How am I going to tackle this? I’m going to try to remind myself that a team is made up of a spectrum of skill sets and abilities. There are no super chickens, and everyone is of value and creates value for the organisation.

Glorifying the past (or not) #

I used to often imagine myself living in some era of the past. Especially in England during the early 1800s, when John Keats was walking the Lakes or composing his best poetry. I enjoyed thinking of the “simplicity” of the age, in terms of there not being nearly so much commercialism, lack of common good, and general trust between individuals than perhaps there can be in todays’ world.

However, somewhere in the past 10 years I’ve stopped doing that.

I think I finally decided that although those times in the past might have had some advantages, there were no doubt many hardships and disadvantages that caused a huge amount of suffering. Generally much poorer and less available healthcare. Rampant racism and sexism. Even perhaps a sort of brutality that our current age doesn’t demonstrate so readily.

But also, I stopped reading. I’ve simply had no time available to do so.

For both of these reasons, I stopped imagining myself in those past times. But the result of that is that I’ve felt more adrift.

Having that imagined world to think back on helped me to retreat away from some of the more uncomfortable realities I faced: disappointments, difficult and long commutes, the times I didn’t enjoy my home life or work.

I wonder if I should bring back at least some of that imagination. I definitely want to bring reading for pleasure back into my life. It’s going to be quite a challenge with my schedule though.

How am I going to tackle this? I am going to try to spend an hour a week reading, hopefully that’ll give me a little more “scope for the imagination” back into my life.

Conclusion #

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“Wisest are they who know they do not know.”

— Jostein Gaarder