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Day 14: on divination

Posted on 3 mins read

That’s a problem for the Daniel of the future.

A friend of mine use to say that a lot and for some reason it resonated with me. Deeply. To this day, it’s one of the first things I tell myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Its meaning has changed a bit though, and now it’s more of a reminder that I don’t need to be in control of everything all the time. Some problems need to be solved when they become problems. And sometimes, that happens in the future.

Divination

Also known as the art of seeing what is yet to come. I’ve found out that as developers, we sometimes believe it’s real and that we’re prime practitioners of the art. Who hasn’t been in a room where a system is being discussed and phrases like “we might need that” or “it’s important to be ready when the time comes” start flying around? I haven’t. I’ve said them. Because when we’re in control of something, it’s easy to think we have all the answers. Too easy to believe that we know what’s going to happen and we need to be on top of it. But is any of that really true?

We can’t see the future. No matter what we trick ourselves into believing, divination isn’t real. So when I say That’s a problem for the Daniel of the future what I’m really saying is: I have no idea how to solve that right now, it’s not really a problem at the moment and I REALLY hope I’ll be prepared to deal with it when the time comes. It’s complicated. What if we misjudge the nature of the problem? What if it truly is important to find a solution right now? Are we just using this idea as an excuse for our laziness and lack of thoroughness? The phrase implies that if nothing changes in myself between now and then, nothing will change as to my ability to solve that problem.

For me, the important thing is to remember this when I’m prematurely worrying about things. Sometimes there’s just nothing we can do right now to directly address a certain task in our future. But I like to think that as long as I keep track of where my mountain is and keep my feet on the road that leads me there, I’ll be prepared to face that task when the time comes. Everything that happens between now and then is part of my preparation.

We can’t always know everything. And agonizing over it will only slow us down in the present.

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