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Letter: "I'm sure they wish that they didn't have to tell the computer things in an obtuse language..."

Sam DeCesare and I continue to have smart exchanges over email. He's kindly allowed me to share another set of his thoughts -

On an unrelated note, I just realized that you wrote the Defecting by Accident article. I've noticed the same behavior among technical people. It's interesting that someone will accept that to get a computer to do what you want you have to tell it things in a very specific way, but won't accept that you have to do the same thing with people. I'm sure they wish that they didn't have to tell the computer things in an obtuse language, but they don't refuse to learn how to program because of it. Computers just are that way, there's nothing to do but deal with it. People are the same; we're just wired to respond positively to sincere praise and kindness and respond poorly to insult and criticism. I suspect the problem is that we tend to blame and condemn people when they do things we don't like, and the purpose of blame is to make yourself feel better and absolve yourself of responsibility. If it's other people's fault that they don't respond to your frank style, then they need to change, not you. As it happens though, blame is completely unproductive, no one's ever gotten people to change by blaming them. So the frank and direct person never makes any progress with people.

Really, that whole excerpt is brilliant, and I'd recommend you re-read it thoroughly if you're skimming. This was the biggest insight for me -

"It's interesting that someone will accept that to get a computer to do what you want you have to tell it things in a very specific way, but won't accept that you have to do the same thing with people. I'm sure they wish that they didn't have to tell the computer things in an obtuse language, but they don't refuse to learn how to program because of it."

Sam and I previously had a little discussion on the topic of, "How much do people make their own decisions?"

On Being Psuedo

On Imported Blog

My life philosophy is "Don't be pseudo."

It can be applied everywhere--school, work, relationships, productivity, and health.

It may not be the key to success (this philosophy tends to rub the masses the wrong way), but it's the only way I can live with myself.

I'm not saying I'm any good at my philosophy. People constantly applaud me for being real, brash, and outspoken, but honestly, I'm still constantly pseudo.

I tell myself that I'll do the work today, or that I'm reading a lot, or that I'll start an exercise habit, or that I've been grooming myself daily, but the truth is, I'm not. I'm still a failure.

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