Curiosity, Kindness and Bravery
Matters of the heart are some of the rarely discussed topics in the software industry. I believe that the proverbial heart powers like passion and dedication are the main drivers of so many innovations in our world today.
In this article I will be discussing the three main heart powers every software engineer should have in order to create something worth its while in our industry today. But more importantly these very powers can be the drivers for so many other innovations beyond our industry. These powers shall be the true guarantee that anyone — no matter who they or what they do — have the foundation to create something that would directly contribute to the survival of the humankind, it’s evolution and inevitably it’s fulfillment.
Throughout my 20 years in the industry, I have realized that those who could change the world are those who three main powers in their hearts. These powers enabled some of the most popular innovators out there rise and shine and change our world as we know it forever.
Let’s talk about these powers and their impact in our physical world.
The most obvious of them all is curiosity. One can never achieve anything in the software industry if they are not curious by nature. Curiosity is the main driver of innovation. It’s the fuel that boosts our brains to continue to think beyond its limitations.
When I sat down with the inventor of the C# programming language Anders Hijlsberg, I asked him several questions and some of these questions were about what the driver of his continuous innovation in the industry was. He said: “Follow your curiosity”.
Curiosity comes from an urge to question and explore everything around us, and everything that we are yet to witness. Curiosity is our continuous belief that there’s more out there. There’s more to experience, learn and do. Curiosity is the reason why we have so many inventions in our world today, from electricity, to transistors to the very internet we are using today to read this article at this moment!
But curiosity as a topic isn’t very foreign for innovators and scientists to talk about. Albert Einstein says: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.”.
For software engineers that understand our eternal universe requires continues modeling and simulation to apply the modern rule of quantum physics and explore the unknown, these engineers know that an ongoing continuous innovation fueled by curiosity is the only path forward to ensure the survival, evolution and fulfilment of the humankind.
Someone might say, how can I become curious? What does it take to establish the power of curiosity in one’s heart?
Curiosity is just like every other aspect of our existence it needs nurturing and investment. Active investment to ensure it continuous to fuel our efforts to change the world. Some people may mix the side of effects of curiosity with curiosity itself as a power. You may have heard someone saying: “Ask more questions” — but asking more questions originates from curiosity not the other way around.
Curiosity is a heart power — a feeling, a desire and an urge that drives our minds and bodies to continue to seek answers. Curiosity is a child of passion. And passion is a child of love.
All our heart powers, including fear comes from love. Loving to help our world, humanity or simply just loving our own children and families. This love is what drives us to continue to move forward. We fall in love with computers and software because they continue to surprise us with what they can do! But when that love turns into passion, it gains a purpose and a direction to contain the immense power of love and directs it toward a specific purpose that may or may not be a good one.
Our passion for anything drives us to learn more about it. Question everything and anything even slightly related to it. Even more to make what we are passionate about even better. That drive is curiosity. This is where our curiosity comes from.
One can never find curiosity without loving something. Being passionate about it. And as we all know love doesn’t really have a logical equation. Because love doesn’t originate from the mind, but rather from the heart and soul. Which we know not much about.
Someone might say, then how can I find my love, passion and purpose?
The most common way for someone to find their love is to continue to search. Experiment and examine everything around us. Is flying my passion? Is it reading? Or maybe its architecture? That stage in anyone’s life is what an engineer like me would call: “Scanning”. You are scanning the universe around you seeking the answer to your purpose in this vast universe.
The scanning period has no timeline. It has no age-limit either, and it shall never stop. We are all multi-purposed. It’s very naïve to think that one has one and only purpose. Even the greater purpose of them all is broken into three parts: survival, evolution and fulfillment. Imagine how many aspects of each one of these parts can be one’s purpose?
One can be a loving parent, a supporting friend and an innovator all at the same time. Driving survival and evolution and fulfillment in so many ways.
In the software industry, curiosity can result in inventing a new pattern, a new programming language, writing research or a blog post that opens people’s eyes to a certain finding or an issue that needs be solved.
Curiosity is looking for trouble. Looking for problems in our world that needs to be solved. Then looking for solutions to these problems.
Curiosity can be summoned in the simple question: “What’s out there?”
The other proverbial heart power every engineer should have is kindness. Let’s talk about that power.
Kindness is the main distinguisher between man and beast. Kindness is the reason why our world still exists today. Without kindness our world would’ve been torn apart with wars and conflict.
Kindness is our ability to empathize for one another. Our selfless willingness to give while expecting nothing in return. Kindness has no specific agenda but to bring happiness and prosperity to others.
But kindness doesn’t just mean helping others. It can also mean being considerate of others. Being considerate of other people feelings, thoughts and physical conditions. Kindness in general is a recognition of others with selfless love that wants nothing but their happiness and prosperity and success.
These very meanings of kindness are what makes it a powerful force ensuring the highest of goals and purposes which is the survival of humanity. It’s evolution and ultimately its fulfillment.
Someone might ask, where does kindness come from?
I’d say from the very same source where curiosity came from. Love!
Loving others will compel us to translate that into kindness. Kindness drives every act you see in our world, from the mail man who takes a way a piece of trash in the driveway to the biggest innovators who want to make humanity an interplanetary species. Kindness is the meaning of it all.
Kindness is fatal to selfishness, personal agendas and greed. Kindness can not be bought, bullied or pressed into a corner. Because kindness is the spark of hope that lights up our world with a vision for a better tomorrow.
In the software industry, kindness can be mentoring, supporting others in whichever way they need or selflessly dedicating some of your time to make something better.
Every line of code you type can be shared and purposed towards an act of kindness. If you make every line of code, you write as an engineer a multi-purposed act of kindness you would have achieved the true meaning of kindness.
When you pair with someone to show them how to write code. When share your code in an open-source project. When you record what you’re doing and share it with the world. And when your code itself is targeted towards building something useful for those who can’t do it themselves. These levels of kindness in every act you take as an engineer translates to kindness in the software industry!
But kindness and curiosity alone makes a big noise that may attract some unwanted energies around you as an engineer. You’ve got to be prepared to defend what and who you believe in to ensure your progress in fulfilling your purpose isn’t interrupted!
This is where bravery comes in! Let’s talk about that.
Bravery is our ability to take on challenges, psychological, mental or physical and attempting to overcome them. Bravery is our ability to stand strong for what we believe in and see it though towards the end of the path we’ve embarked on.
A kind soul with knowledge may be as good as none if it wasn’t brave enough to establish what it believes in in our physical world today.
But where does bravery come from?
You might have already seen the pattern by now. It’s also love!
Loving others and dedicating yourself to them selflessly will compel you to defend them. Protect them from any harm. Loving what’s right for everyone will compel a soul to stand and speak up and fight for what’s right. No matter what it is or where it is.
Bravery is the force that protects innovation, evolution in every industry today. Whether it’s the investors who dedicate their time, money and efforts risking everything to take the leap. Or those who create new patterns knowing they may face a strong backlash for what they believe in. Bravery is the reason why we are as advanced as we are today. It’s because some innovators sacrificed everything to take humanity forward to the next level.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen in our industry today is the lack of bravery. I’ve seen some of the smartest engineers in the world being afraid to speak up to an ignorant power and establish what’s best for themselves, for their business and the industry.
I’ve seen a combination of bravery with no kindness or curiosity, and kindness with curiosity but no bravery. That combination is the source of every physical, mental and spiritual loss you can imagine today.
Our world could’ve been much better today if those who knew the truth and what’s right spoke and took actions on what they believed in. And yet everyday we hear about those who decide to take on the mightiest of powers everywhere to send a message and vanish honorably for their cause.
Bravery is to have dignity. Is to refuse that someone else could enslave your mind, body and soul.
There are many stories about bravery throughout history that we wouldn’t have heard of if the scientists who have driven these innovations didn’t speak up and face the ignorant powers of their time. One of my favorites of them all is Galileo’s bravery. It was a confrontation between creativity and innovation and the traditions of an ignorant establishment. A lot of people have blamed Galileo for not being so “diplomatic” — but these are just the excuses of those who lacked bravery at a time, and wouldn’t be able to afford it now to speak for what they believed in.
One can never become a force of good in our universe today if they lack any of these three powers. You can drive good if you are not kind. But kindness without curiosity is ignorance that can result in evil. And both kindness and curiosity cannot survive with bravery. Without a heart willing to jump off a cliff facing the unknown for the greater good.
Our survival relies heavily on our bravery. Our evolution depends on our curiosity, and our fulfilment can’t exist without kindness.