Quick disclaimer: I don’t know whether this post makes any sense. I’m probably using terms inconsistently. But I’m going to post it up anyway. Some musings kicked off by this post of Sacha Chua’s.
I’ve always felt self-conscious and uncomfortable about sharing what I’m thinking or what I’ve been doing. It manifests in lots of ways: not speaking up during meetings, avoiding posting comments, struggling to find an answer to “how was your day?”. It’s frustrating, because I can see the value in sharing. It’s something I want to do well and fluently, and that’s one of the reasons I’m trying to blog.
Anyway… it jumped into my head that there might be some kind of loose analogy between ‘regular sharing’ and ‘test driven development’. Given that I’m not particularly comfortable with the first, and not particularly knowledgable about the second, I don’t know whether this will make any sense, but here goes…
- Both provide you with tight feedback loops — the first person you’re sharing with when you write something up is yourself. I guess that’s a bit like getting a test to pass in TDD.
- Both help you to avoid ‘regressions’ — if you’ve got a permanent record of what you’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t, then perhaps it’s easier to get a sense for when an action you’re considering will cause problems.
- Both offer a form of ‘documentation’. Sharing, for your life: for your actions; for your situation. It shows what you were thinking at the time.
What about the ‘design’ aspects of TDD? What might they mean in this analogy? i.e. ‘writing the tests first’ is much easier if your program is structured in a ‘testable’ way. Similarly, if you commit to sharing, then presumably, it’s much easier if you live your life in a ‘shareable’ way.
- Being willing to share what you’ve been thinking and doing, and finding it easy to do so, suggests that you’ve been deliberate in your thinking and in your actions. It suggests that you’re aware of the context from/in which you are acting or thinking; that you’re aware of how to make that context intelligible to someone else.
- If you know you’re going to be sharing what you’re doing, it means you don’t want to waste time; that you want to make the best of every situation. Everything is an opportunity to learn more and share what you’ve learnt.
- It makes it even more important to avoid doing things that you might be ashamed of; even more important to bring your real self, your public self and your ‘best’ self as close together as possible.
Perhaps deliberately sharing your life and reflecting on that experience ultimately helps you to live a life that’s worth sharing?