Luckily, the benefit of having monkey brains that often let us down when we most need them is that they’re relatively easy to hack. You can train yourself to remember people’s names, for example, by using some simple mnemonic devices. You can subtly influence your own actions and those of others with material priming. And you can learn to make better first impressions just by changing the language you use.,While emotions don’t reflect our reality, they play a big role in the way we perceive it, and our actions reflect that. So if you’d like to try making a Japanese breakfast, don’t be intimidated. It requires a bit of forethought to bring together the variety in colorful vegetables and small plating, but it can be achieved, without much stress or time.,“First impressions…are tightly connected with the enduring biases subjects bring along,” write Schiller et al in their 2009 study on a neural mechanism of first impressions.,Especially as a junior dev, I sometimes felt under pressure to make use of fancy new components and libraries that would wow my colleagues. But this leads to overthinking and will affect your current tasks and potentially those in the future if you take too long and eat into sprint time.,Another study in 2009, conducted by Maria Richter et al, described similar results. They explain that the presence of negative words like “disgusting,” “grueling,” and “dirty,” cause stress in the moment as well as contributing to long-term anxiety. Positive words, like “refreshing,” “celestial,” and “warming,” conversely, decrease the expression of stress hormones.,They describe how simply focusing on positive words can cause short- and long-term changes in our frontal lobe, while negative, fear-inducing words increase activity in our amygdala, the fear center of our brains.,The problem, as a lot of us will recognize, is that when humans get put under any kind of pressure conversationally, we don’t tend to make good impressions. We’re prone to talking too much about ourselves and forgetting the names of those we speak with.,In software development, the inertia/resistance involved in starting to create a new feature usually manifests itself in a number of ways: having to go through lengthy SDK documentation, understanding what exactly the business requirements are, or even trying to figure out which dependencies are needed.,Authors Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman tell us that “…a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress,” in their book Words Can Change Your Brain. That’s a lot of responsibility for just some words.,I then realised that if I had used a separate feature branch and then handed it to the testers, I would have saved myself and the team a ton of energy and time. Always aim to keep new code on a separate branch as long as possible until it’s been thoroughly tested. This will allow you to make fixes faster and isolate fatal bugs from production builds.,Imagine if you knew exactly how to introduce yourself in a way that would leave an amazing first impression. It’s the kind of minor change that could have serious ramifications on the rest of your life — after all, first impressions count more than any future impressions you’ll make in a relationship.,One thing is constant whenever anyone starts something new: inertia. We all experience it in many ways. When we need to get out of bed, our body behaves like an unresponsive blob. When we want to learn something new, we can’t get ourselves to join a course. When we want to diet, we get bogged down in the details of what we should eat, how often, etc.,The more complex tasks you undertake as a dev, the more likely you are to introduce fatal bugs. And as is the nature of fatal bugs, they may not appear until your work has been merged into the master branch and is being tested thoroughly.,I was excited when I got my first major dev task: refactoring a feature to use MVVM and be written in Kotlin. However, I wasn’t experienced enough to know how to properly test my own code, and so I sent it to be merged into master while it was buggy as hell. A couple of days later, the testers on my team were in a furor and I had a flood of bugs to fix for two straight weeks. I was holding the team back because I was too lazy to properly test my work, and since all my changes were merged, there was a real possibility that the next release was going to be delayed.,Mornings don’t have to be rough and unproductive. By doing a few focused things when you wake up and knowing what not to do, you can set yourself up for more productivity throughout the day.
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