Feelings are messy and uncomfortable, why don’t we just ignore them? Because ignoring them destroys our ability to code. We can’t think as well. Increasing emotional mastery can have huge impacts on our careers and productivity. We’ll talk theory and practice for healthy emotions.
Your Emotional API
How to be a better developer by being a better human
⚡ Lightning Version ⚡
…and now for something completely diﬀerent.
I’m here to talk about emotions, and how they can aﬀect you as a developer.
CTO and Co-Founder at Data Simply
Architect at Privia Health
I’m John Sawers
I’m the CTO and Co-founder of Data Simply
And the Architect at Privia Health
This is where to ﬁnd me online.
Emotions just make so
much sense to me
—No One Ever
Given the fact that almost no one understands emotions,
I want see what we can learn by modeling our emotional system as an API
post ‘/feels/anger’ do
post ‘/feels/sadness’ do
post ‘/feels/fear’ do
post ‘/feels/shame’ do
post ‘/feels/joy’ do
post ‘/feels/love’ do
Here are our core API endpoints.
They handle all our basic emotions.
It’s not that simple
delete /job/1, 301: /feels/sadness
put /events/mother/visit, 301: /feels/anger
put /baby/new, 301: /feels/fear
post /people/co-worker/comments/asshole, 301: /feels/anger
get /people/boss/compliment, 301: /feels/pride
There are hundreds or thousands of aliases that redirect to those core endpoints
Things like losing a job, or having a baby can really hit you massively.
It’s not even that simple
Method bodies can be complex and trigger massive traﬃc to that core API as well.
And there’s some bad news.
The Bad News:
It’s a public API
Any person, event or situation can call any of these endpoints at any time.
The Good News:
You have complete control over implementation
How you react to a feeling is up to you. But it takes work to undo habitual responses.
First, let’s talk about how your feeling server works in general.
How Your Feeling Server Works
(hint, not very well)
When one of the endpoints is hit, the download starts, but the server is ﬂaky and cannot tell the size of the payload.
As a feeling is happening to you, it seems like it will go on forever.
When The Big Feels Hit
Many of us have had the experience when a big feel comes in, that if we let it out, it will never stop.
If I express this anger, I will never stop yelling. If I express this sadness, I will never stop crying.
But here’s the thing
20 Minutes Max
Experts and my own experience have shown that feelings only last 20 minutes.
If you express the feeling at 100% intensity it’ll be gone in 20 mins or less.
You don’t have to,
But you can control where
and when you express
So, when do we do this ‘100% expression’ ?
We get to decide, because we have a queue
Our delayed_job system, allows us to choose the right time and place.
• Alone in your house
• In the wilderness
• With a safe person
We can do it alone or with a supportive partner.
So, what does expressing these feelings look like?
I’ll give you a few examples, but there’s much more to it.
• Throw a ﬁt
• Move your body
• Say the words you’re dying to say:
• “I feel so angry that…”
Let’s start with anger, which is usually the easiest to start with.
Toddlers are brilliant at this - they just lay down and kick and scream and cry. They’re done in 5 minutes.
Use your voice and body to get the energy of it out of your body.
To get started try saying “I feel so angry about…”
• Shudder and shake
• Say the words you’re dying to say:
• “I feel so afraid that…”
Again, physical movement is key, but diﬀerent.
Even if nobody is with you, say the words that describe the feeling
One thing is for sure
You will feel incredibly stupid when you ﬁrst try any
of these things.
You will feel like a Class A idiot when you start doing these things.
Because we’re often so go good at avoiding feelings, the trick is to start doing those actions before you feel it.
But keep going and it’ll come.
That sounds really messy
Why bother with all of this?
• Poorer Executive Function
• Poorer Short Term Memory
• Lower ability to handle stress
Unprocessed feelings make us feel powerless, and feeling powerless aﬀects our thinking.
When we handle feelings well we feel powerful, and we reverse these deﬁcits.
• Express your ideas better, without baggage
• Help others with their emotional challenges
By making your self better at feels, you make everyone
around you better at it.
If you know your own feelings, you’ll be able to understand other’s feelings
You can choose how your own feelings aﬀect your life and the lives of others. You can choose constructive responses, not
What do I mean by better developer?
If you’re emotional state isn’t aﬀecting your cognition
If you’re not distracted by diﬃcult family situations
If you can handle problematic team mates
If you can banish your impostor syndrome
If you can handle hiring, ﬁring and job interviews, giving talks
You will be a better developer and a better team mate
What do I mean by better human?
What I mean by this is that you become better at being a human. You’re going to have emotions, you cannot avoid it. So why not get better at it?
When you do - everything gets better.
I’m just scratching the surface of all of this
• Mailing List: http://emotionalapi.com
• Twitter: @emotionalAPI
• Talk to me in the hall!
I’ll be giving the full version of this talk at the
August 18-20 in Pittsburgh PA