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The value of diversity

So I learned something today: other people have things to teach me! Haha. It's not a new lesson of course, but there is always the euphoria with having a revelation, even if I've had the same revelation many times before.

There's a guy at work I dig into a lot, he was the subject of a previous post. I was looking at some code I had written and discovered he had refactored it. (Non-techies, this is improving the code.) Even though the code technically belongs to the company I work for there's a sense of personal ownership: I wrote the code. So when I saw he changed it I was teed off and immediately set about changing it back because I felt I had already written it good.

"How dare he improve upon my work! That's simply not possible!"

After I was done I took a step back and wondered if I was fossilizing, becoming resistant to new ideas; maybe I should investigate the worth of what he had done I thought. So I did. Went on Google, Stack Overflow, and other sites to get different opinions on code styles, asked someone at work who likes to talk about these things. In the end I kept some of my old code style, but was open to adopting the new one this other guy had done. As in many things software related each code style has merit beyond style, which is why I didn't wholeheartedly adopt the new approach. But still, it was a revelation of sorts: this guy I always believe I'm superior to actually has things to teach me if I would lower the ego a bit and actually listen.

As a side note. There's another friend at work who's been teaching me some different lessons, non work related, in regards to relating to women and really people in general.

When I say teaching I don't really mean these people are sitting me down on a stool and saying, "See this here? This is important." No, what's really happening is they're just living their lives as feels natural to them, completely oblivious to the fact that they're teaching me. It's my response to seeing such different behavior to what feels natural to me that prompts me to go into study mode. I'm probably going to get a bit more direct than I usually get in stating my world view, but these other people are like mirrors. Me viewing different aspects of myself made manifest in others. It's really amazing that I can think of myself as complete in certain ways but yet come upon moments where I realize how incomplete I am. Were I to only develop software in a way that feels natural to me, it would take an extraordinarily long time to come upon an equally worthy style that someone else feels is natural. Similar to being open and friendly to other people. Being able to watch this behavior so effortlessly flow out of another greatly speeds my acquisition of such behavior.

Truly it could be said other people are catalysts of ourselves. Catalyst in the truest biological sense. Noun. Chemistry. A substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.

Posted: Thu, Dec 23 2010 9:16 PM by Humpty
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