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The Reason Mirrors Exist

A couple weeks ago my two youngest (2yrs & 7mo) had hand-foot-mouth. If you have not had the delightful experience of being a caregiver to small children who have this count your many blessings. If you have…why did nobody warn me?

Long story short I had a couple week days and a weekend away from work and my computer. As an avid reader, I began looking for something to consume and was lucky enough to stumble across Register Spill, a newsletter by Thorsten Ball.

I binged the entire back catalog. I wrote up a post discussing this, but what got me thinking was a conversation I had with him later in which he said:

Your analysis of my process and how I changed through the writing is also — I don't know how to put this into words — shockingly accurate? I mean, yes, that's exactly what it is and how I see it, but it took your note for me to realize it in this clarity.

How many times have you been doing something for weeks, months, maybe even years, and it wasn't until someone said something to you that you had a puzzle piece click into place that turned a fuzzy idea into a concrete moment?

It made me realize, there is a reason mirrors exist.

Using more mirrors

When it comes to your appearance how many times a day are you looking in a mirror? We have such a strong model of our physical selves in our minds because it is something we look at every day.

What Thorsten said raised a question I didn't know if I wanted to find the answer to. Why do I not use more mirrors?

Tipping points

When I stop and reflect now it is always because of an external tipping point. The most common one is noticing that my wife is mad at me and realizing…I don't know why. That generally causes a lot of rapid reflection.

But in all seriousness, why does it take that external pressure to hold up a mirror to our behavior?

Are you too busy?

More times than I can count a nebulous opinion on design or engineering has solidified when forced to articulate it. To reflect on why that idea has been floating around and bring forward examples to back up my perspective.

Are you scared of being wrong, of facing a reality you've been ignoring?

There have also been times when forced to answer the same questions I was wrong. The times I have made incorrect assumptions are often more exciting than the times I feel like I have nailed it. Why? The false idea you’ve been operating under has now been brought out into the light and can be thrown away. These are the moments where you can feel yourself growing, but why did it take someone else to force you to articulate it? You need more mirrors.

We spend so much of our time rushing forward without holding up a mirror to where we have been or being too scared to look into one. Mirrors are great. You are going to be forced to look into them your entire career, but my suggestion to you is that maybe we can be more intentional about looking into them before we are forced to.

I hope you enjoyed

There is a lot more coming...

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