Every now and again, you need a little push to get you moving in the right direction. Who pushes you?
Several times in my career as a software developer I have become complacent. I had been using the same tools, ideas, and processes, for so long that I felt completely satisfied with the way things were being done. I felt confident that the way I was doing things was ‘good enough’. And then somebody pushed me.
They challenged my belief system and questioned what I was doing. Or they asked questions I had never thought to ask. Or they made me aware of facts that I had never considered. My first reaction to being pushed was to push back.
I like to debate things and I think it is a healthy activity that everyone should participate in. In the software development industry, you are in a constant state of learning. Having debates over ideas, approaches and techniques is how we learn and grow. It’s how we become better at what we do. But no one likes to be told they are not doing something correctly. And the natural reaction is to defend yourself.
But more often than not, for me at least, the debate finishes and I have a time to reflect. I’ll recognize the ‘push’ that I was given was a good thing. I’ll be able to see the other person’s point of view a bit better. I’ll recognize that my way of thinking was not ‘good enough’ and I need to do better.
This ability to reflect and be more self-aware is something that has improved with time. As a younger developer, I was very pig-headed and would very rarely accept other’s advice or alternative approaches. But as I’ve gotten older I have been able to (hopefully) be less arrogant and more accepting of what others think.
When I am ‘pushed’ to do better I find it an irresistible challenge to learn. When someone challenges me with new ideas or techniques, I want to dive into the learning process and find out all I can. I want to be able to incorporate all this new insight and knowledge into the way I do things.
These ‘growth spurts’ are incredibly helpful. You can be driven by a lot of emotions. You can be passionate about a topic of idea and dive into it out of joy and excitement. Or you can be afraid of losing out and drive yourself to reduce the risk of that loss occurring. But being ‘pushed’ to do better is a good mixture of passion and fear. It motivates me like no other factors do. And the resulting increases in understanding and knowledge have a hugh influence over my career. I have always benefited from being pushed to do better.
So who pushes you? If you don’t have anyone around you to push you then you are never going to be as good as you could be. So find people to be that source of growth. Find someone capable of show you your complacency. These are the best people to have around you.
The next time your ideas are being challenged, remember that being pushed to defend your way of thinking is going to lead to growth, learning and improvement. So don’t shy away from it. Seek it out.
Who Pushes You?