ℹ Describing oneself.
📅️ Wednesday - December 17, 2014
⏰ 4 min read ∙ 735 words
explored in the early hours of 12.17.14
inkling here meaning a slight knowledge or suspicion of mine
usually explored through long prose or rants, whichever is more suitable
1.1 How does one describe themselves?
Here’s my take on it: give concrete examples of who you are, because everything else bases itself on perspective and is therefore relative and interchangeable.
For example, in my case I can use the following terms to describe myself:
* atheist * vegetarian * female
These kind of descriptions can’t really be disputed, unless perhaps you’re some kind of religious, food, gender, or age extremist; in which case, I suppose everything is still up for grabs. These terms are pretty clearly defined and up for little dispute about what they can imply.
An atheist is simply one who does not believe in god, a vegetarian is one who does not eat meat, and a female is one who is not a male. Pretty obvious to anybody who comes across these terms about what they imply.
On the other hand, if I used the following terms to describe myself:
* ambitious * dog-lover * good at programming in [so and so]
Well, then, it’s not very clear how each term is being defined.
Ambition is always defined by the person and their own ambitions and the adjective ambitious is relative.
Dog-lovers - well there are extreme ends. There are those that claim themselves dog-lovers and like to think they love dogs but to others they are not even very capable of raising a dog. I remember a neighbor coming up to me when my dog, Nefer, was barking outside while I was with Nefer and since I like hearing my dog bark sometimes, I didn’t really stop her from barking. The neighbor told me that wasn’t the way dogs ought to be raised and that if I loved my dog, I would train her better. So perhaps to her, I wasn’t the definition of what a dog-lover is. An exaggerated example of this is calling someone who eats dog a dog-lover. In one sense, it’s fair to say they are dog lovers because they love eating dog. In another sense, it doesn’t make any sense at all and actually makes me want to tingle in utter repulsion. Ahhh, perspective.
Good at programming — well, that’s just a loaded phrase. Okay, first off, who’s really good at programming anyhow? The only thing I’ve learned for sure in my experience with technology and development so far is actually a concept somewhat outside the realm of technology and that is the Socratic Paradox - knowing ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing’ - BAM.
I suppose, yes, you could apply the Socratic Paradox to most fields, but with technology, this idea just slaps everybody in the face all the time. Technology is this ever-changing catalyst of change in itself (which is just a silly phrase, I know) and by next year if you haven’t committed yourself to continuously learning, you’ll simply be left behind. That’s what I love about the field. No one can really say they’re a pro but if they are in fact considered to be a pro, then they still have to constantly develop themselves to keep that position.
And it’s this mentality of being addicted to constant improvement that I feel is very celebrated among great developers in general too.
I mean, how many new applications have you found out about this year alone? How many of them do you now use on a daily basis? It’s probably at least a few (for me, it’s a lot). And inevitably, all this information is just going to keep increasing around us at this exponential rate and it’s weird and scary, but it’s mostly just amazing. This is old repeated news of course but hey.
Hmm, so I realize I’m going off a tangent here…
So in conclusion…
When you’re describing yourself in non-concrete terms, make sure to show why you’re so and so and not merely proclaiming it. If you believe yourself to be ‘humble’, define what humility is to you and how you’ve been humble in a certain life situation.
It sounds like common sense but there are those that find it ideal to spew a bunch of random adjectives without giving much meaning or background behind these adjectives and that in itself is just not very ideal.