Code from a place of love.

Posted by swgoodman on May 16, 2018

I heard an interesting idea last week. It is an alternative way to approach work and, more generally, obstacles in life. It boils down to this: Stop working out of fear. Work from a place of love.

This frame of mind immediately resonated with me. I have applied love to my personal relationships my entire life, but I was not doing the same with my work. I answered phone calls thinking, “what did I do wrong?” I delivered products while exhaling, “I’m finally done.” I generally treated bosses and clients only as superiors, purely to be served.

But this idea flipped a switch for me. Everything I do for work should be out of love. Love for clients who have put faith in me to help them realize their goals. Love for deadlines that offer a point of feedback and critical information to improve my work. Love for projects, or opportunities to nurture my own ideas into existence and show them off to the world.

I applied this mindset to my coursework and felt an immediate mental reframe as I stared at a fresh lab. My heart-rate used to increase when I ran “learn” and saw a long list of test failures. Not anymore.

“I can’t wait to love this ‘Tic Tac Toe with AI’ into existence.”

Now I water my code. I give it sunlight and plenty of room to grow into itself. I pretend I am entering my code into an “Elegant Code” contest at the next county fair. I go back and tend to it when I learn new techniques. I do not get as frustrated if it is broken. I’m still human and all this optimism can be a tall ask at 12:30am after working on the same error for 45 minutes… But I try to remind myself that learning and love will fix it. They always seem to do.