In my post on startups, I started out with an idea of mine that needs further expanding. It is simple, but its impact is profound.
The more ubiquitous a principle is, the more people find it to be true.
Hypothetically, let's say I took a poll of random people on a random street. I asked them one question like, “Which is more important: eating organic foods, or showing compassion towards others?” Or another question along the lines of, “Would you rather go bobsledding or give money to the poor?” There may be a few outliers, but I’d wager most people would go for compassion and alms giving than organic foods and bobsledding.
Organic foods and bobsledding are typically not very high on a majority of people’s priorities. They may like to shop at Whole Foods or watch the Winter Olympics, but when presented with the questions above, there are some fundamental ideals that most people would rely on.
Showing compassion towards others and giving money to the poor are principles that are universally agreed upon to be true. Having principles ingrained that deep into the collective consciousness allows people to have a consistent base level, regardless of a specific context or situation.
People like being consistent. Observing someone contradict themselves is like nails against a chalkboard. You just want to reach out and shake them to make them realize they’re contradicting themselves. The desire to be consistent is one of the most fundamental desires I know of in the human condition.
That is why we, whenever possible, should strive towards finding consistent, ubiquitous principles. This is especially true for software developers. Too often, I’ve seen young developers veer off course because they don’t have a grasp on fundamental truths when it comes to coding. They mull around in mediocrity until someone helps them out.
I try to put things on this blog that can be applied with as little regard to context as possible. Obviously there are things you need to explain to a junior developer that can be omitted for a senior developer. The things I put on here are areas where developers in general can improve themselves.
Always keep in mind the principles you yourself stick to. Are they things that can apply to other developers or just you? Are they things you openly talk about? How can you positively impact others by giving them principles and ways of thinking? These are questions I ask myself every day.
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