Category Archives: Human behaviour

Thank you. You are too kind

So. Here I sit. On the train. Typing on my traveltop; that’s my netbook, I call it that because I normally only use it when I am away on holiday. I am not on holiday today. Today I just wanted to write. I’ve been wanting to write for some time but just haven’t sat down to do it, until now.

There’s quite a lot I wanted to write about. One of the topics being my adequacy as a developer and the adequacy of myself in general. But… I mostly forgot what it was I wanted to say. I know when I originally thought it, it was stunningly profound.

Something else I wanted to write about was the duality of self, of my self. I read in Stephen King’s book, On Writing, that you should not use language that does not “fit” you. I believe I follow his advice in most cases when I write. What I’ve noticed that the words that “fit” when I write are different to the words that “fit” when I speak. I would never verbally use the word vocation but when writing, talking about my vocation feels natural. It’s interesting that my vocabulary should change depending on the medium of communication. Then again, the more I think about it, considering the little I’ve learned about brain function, it seems perfectly normal that your vocabulary should change when medium of communication changes.

I remember now what it was I wanted to say. I constantly battle with myself and my self, trying to figure out if I am good at what I do or just above average.

I have always thought of myself as being bad at things or at least not good enough. And when I do get complements, I frequently brush it off because “they don’t know what they are talking about as they are laymen” or if they do know what they are talking about, “they don’t have enough specific knowledge on the niche area of the subject that they are somehow misinformed” or even simply “just mistaken”. Take an example, being a developer, Dev Leads, Tech Leads, peers, even a few Technical Directors have told me that my skills are valuable. And the vast majority of every company I have worked for has asked me to come back and work for them again, stay on longer or asked me to come on full time. Some of those companies are even well known for having a really strict hiring policy. Somehow even after all that positive affirmation, I still don’t think I am worth my weight in salt (I wonder what I would do with 80kg [£69.34] of salt).

Anyway, I realised something the other day. I’ve always compared myself to people better than me. I’m not sure if all people do this, but with me, I only compare myself to people better than me, or at least people who I think are better than me or have a skill I want or am envious of. If someone isn’t better, they won’t feature on my personal scale of comparison. I am generalising but do you realise what that means? On my scale, I’m always worse than everyone else. If the scale was based on 1 – 10, I’m always a 1. How crazy is that shit?

I think it’s sad that this is how I choose to define myself. Now that I know about it, I think I can change this. I don’t know if this is normal. Is this normal? I don’t think it can good for the self-esteem. It does explain some aspects about myself though. For a start, it explains is how I am unable to accept a compliment: If in the past I received a complement, in my head I appreciated your kindness anyway and thanked you, almost always in an awkward way.

How do I fix this? How do you change a mindset? Is actively knowing about it and being aware enough?

Update: I saw this online today, looks like it’s a part of the human condition.

aBqoY

 

Comment Spam

I have been seeing an evolution of comment spam on here. It’s become really interesting watching it. At first it started off as gibberish: “Buy neat watches” with a URL included. Then over the years the content has been increasing in sophistication.

Hmmm… I forgot what I was saying… anyways… so yeah… some of it’s been getting really sophfisty. It’s been really well written with next to no spelling errors and almost even coherent. Something like this: “As a internet resource for organizations and technology enthusiasts to stick to the newest and greatest developments in Unified Communications, IP Telephony, Hosted Communications and VoIP” and of course a URL is included. So stuff like this, if it’s not caught by the spam filter I would spam anyway. I might let it pass if the comment was on topic which in most cases would mean the person was real.

The most recent type I have been getting is this: “It appears that you’ve put a lot of effort and hard work into your article and I require more of these using the net currently. I sincerely got a kick from your post. I don’t really have much to speak about in response, I only wished to comment to reply wonderful work.” A URL is also included. How am I supposed to Spam that? It’s validating my ideas, telling me I’m worth my salt, the spelling and grammar is impeccable (if it’s not, it’s much better than mine). The meaning is not fully there but I understand what they are trying to say. My ego wants me to approve it, it wants me to show you all: “Look, look! Someone thinks I am awesome. Look at my badge of awesomeness given to me by a unknown third party… which makes it more valid than when my mom tells me that I am cool… or when I look at myself in the mirror and say: ‘you are awesome’.”

I spammed it. The URL they included was to a halitosis clinic in Germany.

Ye Olde Rapture

No idea why I titled the post that.

I came along this image on twitter:

Donate

I had been thinking something similar the whole week.

I was just about to retweet it and spread this message when I started thinking how stupid people actually are. I thought about it some more.

Is it irresponsible to tell people who believe the rapture is happening to donate all their stuff to charity…? I agree with the sentiment… put your money where you mouth is if you believe it that much. And sure, it would be funny to see those people after asking and pleading with god why he is testing them… but do they deserve the suffering that might come from their act of charity just because they are stupid/gullible?

As someone who thinks many people need a wake up call, I would love to do this and sit on my high horse of smugness but I don’t think the lesson should be taught so harshly?

 

Boycott all you want, I’m gonna have fun.

These posts: Boycott left for dead 2, Talk of boycotting Modern Warfare 2. I am pretty sure there are more of the same on the internet, but they all talk of boycotting some of the biggest games to come out. And the people behind them are serious. I understand what they are trying to do, trying to make a statement using the language large companies understand, the consumer’s spend. But come on, Modern Warfare 2? Left for Dead 2? Are you kidding me. I promise you, as soon as those games come out, half of those considering the boycott will be buying it. If you are passionate enough to want to boycott it, the moment the games comes out, I assure you, you will fucking frenzy. Yes motherfucker, I used frenzy as a verb. Because that’s what you’ll do, fucking frenzy. And if you do happen to hold out, myself and the rest of the world will buy it and tell you exactly how awesome it is. In which case if you continue to hold out, and you really are that passionate about the game, your emotions will drive you into insanity.

Boycott all you want, I am gonna have fun. : )

Update: Now that the game has come out. I just wanted to say: “This game is fucking awesome”… but I suppose you already knew that.

On expectation, but not really

I am trying to figure out if having expectations of something is a good thing. Doing something and having an expectation of how it is going to be can really detract from the enjoyment of the experience. For me the most common form of this is watching movies trailers. A lot of trailers have spoiled movies for me. They either hype the movie up into something it’s not, or they show all the good bits making you expect more good bits when you do actually watch it, only to find you’ve seen them all.

Heh… the word trailers made me think back to my youth when I first used that word. I remember back in the day my family used to call them shorts. The shorts. “Do you want to fast forward past the shorts?”, I would ask. It’s interesting to notice how and why vocabularies change. I have lived a life where I frequently needed to cross the boundaries of vocabularies. By vocabularies I mean slang, colloquialisms or more generally a subset of words. I stayed in a coloured area and probably had only coloured friends at the time. At about 9 years of age I went to a white school. Not sure if “white school” was the correct terminology for it at the time. I don’t really know what the history of the school was up till that point. Perhaps private school is better. A private school with 99.9% of the children being white. A boarding school. Myself and the kids there pretty much got on like a house on fire. So as one does when one becomes part of any group, I picked up a lot of terminology, or slang. I also picked up some nuances of pronunciation as well as an accent.

I find it interesting that the words I picked up and used was conscious process. It’s also interesting to note that I could have attempted to introduce the other kids to the words I grew up with but rather chose to replace those words for their local counterparts or even omit them from interactions altogether. Right at the beginning when all these colloquialisms were new to me, I would incorporate words that would ease communication or prevent me from having to explain what I meant if I had used my own word.

The other interesting thing was that I found nuances of pronunciation and the accent I picked up were not a conscious process. I only noticed I had one when I visited my grandmother on a holiday a year or two later. My grandmother asked me, I can’t remember the exact words but it was something like: “Why do you talk like you are white?”. As I said in the last sentence, I don’t remember the words exactly but I do remember disgust in her voice. I was taken aback. From the tone of her voice I could tell my accent displeased her and in that one comment made me feel as though there was a chance I could no longer be trusted because I no longer speak like her people. My response was, “I don’t talk like I am white?” and immediately forced myself back into rolling my Rs.

From then on I became conscious of how I spoke. It carried on this way for a long time. I’d have a different accent for school and a different accent at home. To this day actually… I still do it. Around my family I can have a different accent than what I normally do. And what’s worse is that often around coloured people, I force my coloured accent. The problem is that this isn’t how I talk anymore so I don’t get practice using the accent anymore also I never really had the opportunity to study it so I can’t even mimic it that well. If that was not bad enough I also find myself using a half forgotten, dated version of the coloured slang I knew when I was 9. So interactions in this mode feel so fake for me. I feel like every word I say is a lie. Which it is. Even though I am telling the truth, the sounds the words make when they reach my ears feel to me as if they are a lie. Anyways I am in the process of fixing this. I am in the process of merging my accents into one.

So yeah, as you can see, I got horribly distracted. My original article was meant to be on expectations. I wanted to talk about expectations because of the hot-cross buns you get in the shop. Eating them (the experience) is never as good as they smell, or half as good I remember them (the expectation). So, I may start a new quest. I may just take up baking to create a hot cross bun to rival the flavour of the ones in my memory – the perfect hot cross bun.

Happy Easter.

Different

I’m a strange person. I believe in fate but I also believe that there’s no such thing as fate. I believe that some people are lucky but I also believe people make their own luck. As far as I can tell, I modify my beliefs so that they benefit me. As an example the number 13, widely believe by the superstitious to be unlucky, just so happens to be my lucky number. In this case I modified the superstitious belief to work in my favour. It’s actually just one of my lucky numbers. I have a few: 7, 11, 13, 27, 121. I am not sure why 13 got into that list, possibly to tempt fate, or maybe just to be different.

Different. This brings me to my core topic. For a long time I was obsessed with normality and trying to be normal. At some point in my life at least 80% of the people I know have told me I am either weird, crazy or insane. I made up the 80% figure, but enough people have made mention for me to take notice. For me, the strange thing is that this usually happens when I am doing or saying something that I think to be completely ordinary. I would then ask: “What makes you say that?“. I would probably ask this so that I may learn to fit in better. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure of my motivation. I know that at times I do like it when I appear eccentric to others, so another reason could probably be the desire to be able to control my ability.

Anyways, the answer to my question: “What makes you say that?“, would normally be: “No reason, you just are.” or “… in a good way” or a combination: “No reason, you just are… in a good way“. Generally an answer is not gathered. There was the time about 2 years ago, when actually listening to what I had just said, I didn’t need an answer. In that case I had said: “Do you ever look at your hands and think: ‘Are these my hands?‘?“. In my defence, that day I looked at my hands and noticed they had aged a lot since the last time I actually last looked at my hands. They had looked like my older brothers hands. His hands are 4 years older than mine and his skin is a lighter complexion. So too was the complexion of my skin because at the time because I had been living in sunless London for a year already.

Anyhow, these experiences have shaped my personality to a large extent. Well, not my personality, just how talk to people I don’t yet know. I am very restrained. Often I will not say anything for fear of what I might say and how it will be recieved. Also it’s probably affected what and how I say things to the people I do know. But I know that everyone says different things to different people, so that’s nothing to be concerned about. So yeah, it’s made me not say or not do things I might normally have said or done. But, the thing is… how do I know what the normal way to behave is? How does anyone? Yes, there are societal norms. For example not flinging your shit at people. This societal boundary that most people know it exists. And I, like most people, am aware of it. It’s also worth noting that I have no conscious desire to cross this boundary.

The same goes for other societal norms. I know my eccentricities are well within the societal boundaries I know to exist, so what do I have to fear? Surely the concept of normal is not only a societal one but also an individual one? How would anyone know what they would normally do if I they have not previously behaved in that way? Surely the way they are at that point is their normal state? Surely this is the individual normality I mentioned.

Anyhow, from this I’ve learned that there is probably no such thing normality with reference to living your life. I’ve given up on this quest. This is probably a good thing if only to conserve future wasted effort. Rather I have embraced the eccentricities I may have and now relish in the fact that I see things differently to other people. I’m at the stage where I accept that and am now learning to use it to my advantage.

The ideas of eccentricity and using it to my advantage could potentially lead me to another post I want to write entitled: Delusions of Grandeur. However it is almost 23:00 and nearly time for me to go to bed.

Good night.

Wolf in wolf’s clothing

It’s weird, I am sitting here waiting for my food in the oven. I sit here wanting to write, but in my head I keep telling myself that I have nothing to write about. I know this to be a lie because I have at least two things that I can write on. Mathematics tells me that two ideas is not the same as zero ideas. So, why is it that I am trying to convince myself that I have nothing to write on?

I actually already know why this is, I figured it out a while ago when trying to write down some of the ideas I said I had previously. I usually only write when I have something on my mind that is bothering me. In this case, I want to put this down here just as a reference.

Anyways, like I said, I was trying to convince myself I had nothing to write about. Why is that? As far as I can tell, the reasoning for this is that I posted this site on a few social networks recently. I did this not really expecting anyone to take any notice. As it turns out people actually read it. I even got some comments, one of them actually came from a person in real life. And on the whole they were rather positive. This was a bit shocking to me. Like I said in my first post on this site, this is my second attempt at trueform. The first attempt was similar to this, the only difference being that this time I wasn’t expecting an audience. So now, what I write about is more real whereas on the previous version I’d write down things for shock or entertainment value.

A day or two ago when trying to write an article I noticed, I slipped back into trying to be entertaining. There is nothing wrong with writing for entertainment, infact (the dictionary is telling me in-fact, I like my way better) I do that on one or two other sites. The thing is that this is not how I want to use this site. Essentially, when I have a problem, I find that when I write out my thought process, I usually come up with a good solution. So that’s how this site was reborn. Partly  also because this girl I used to work with wished she knew what it’s like inside my head. Between this and Space Panda, I think she is 80% there.

Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked. The problem being that people’s behaviours change when they know they are being watched. There were actually a few studies done on this. This is the only link I could find on it though. From what I gather, there is a related phenomenon in quantum mechanics called the observer effect. The explanation being that by watching something, you change it. So my fear is that if people read this, I might not be as open or as truthful as I need to be for it to be useful to me.

Having said that, I am going to try. I think I can be quite closed off anyway, so doing this might actually help me open up a bit. I don’t think I did too badly this time. I did this by knowing that I would change my behaviour, then tried to keep an eye out for the change and stop it if I noticed it. So, don’t feel that I am chasing you away. I really do benefit from doing this and if others can benefit or get something out of it, all the better.

I was just about to end off when I came to a realisation. My problem has nothing to do with people watching/reading me. I can say this with confidence because right from the start, I put this on the internet. What does that tell you? If you think about it, anyone could have stumbled here without me posting it on social networks. My problem is not the observer effect. My problem relates to the saying that says “People are often more open with a stranger than they are with friends or family”. As far as I am concerned this is much easier to deal with than the observer effect. I just have to be slightly bolder and say what I want to say. This is good practice anyways.

To be honest, I am a little disappointed with myself because in my heart I knew the observer effect did not explain the problem, but yet I tried to convince myself it did. Then again, I can’t be too disappointed because it was the process that got me to the true cause.

That’s it for tonight I think.