Life’s a journey, learn from the ride

A collection of some of my thoughts and life lessons, distilled into some short and sweet value statements

Nicki Watt

4 minute read

Over my years of consulting and working with people, building, and developing stuff, I have inevitably built up some views over what I feel works, what doesn’t, and, more often than not, come to understand that things don’t quite work in the way I thought they did!

Initially centred around tech and development, but evolving to include general life lessons as well, I decided to share some of my realisations in the form of some short and sweet, value-based resolution statements for this inaugural post. If you are reading this and you are not from a techie background, then some of the statements may not make much sense – apologies for this but this did actually start as a technical post first! Feel free to skip to the end if you simply want to see the statements, or carry on if you are interested in the background on how I arrived at them.

One of my 2015 new years resolutions was to stop procrastinating and actually get my blog site up and running. Better late than never, and tick for me – this one is now done :) However, I sometimes find that new years resolutions tend to focus on a single narrow particular outcome. One of the lessons I have learned is that more often than not, the value is in the journey itself, where hidden gems (not Ruby) and underlying principles are there to be mined and extracted if you look carefully – often yielding more fruit than the single end outcome itself.

So, below is a short and sweet, A-Z listing of some of my value resolution statements laid out in a manner not dissimilar to that of the original agile manifesto. As per the spirit (but not necessarily the implementations) of the agile manifesto, it is not to say that things on the right are not important, but rather, through time and experience, I see evidence of those on the left bearing better fruit and value in the long run. And of course in the spirit of agile, I reserve the right to change my mind as I learn and discover more! So without further ado:

Life’s a journey, and thus far on my ride, I have come to value:

  • Automated Testing over Ad-hoc testing
  • Building Bridges over Building empires
  • Challenging over Conforming
    • There is a reason why square pegs do not fit in round holes
  • Data Consistency (eventually) over Data Cleansing
    • Think before you drink your data, as it may have bad consequences for you later down the line otherwise
  • Engaging over Emailing
  • Face-to-face friends over Facebook friends
  • Guiding over Guarding
    • Being taught how to navigate a situation is immensly more beneficial than being prevented from ever making a mistake and not being able to learn from it
  • Holistic teams over Hand-offs
  • Integrity over Intellect
  • Jumping in over Jumping out
    • When the going gets tough, the tough will jump in, rather than out, to help
  • Knowing how something works under the covers over Knowing how to merely operate it
  • Load Balancing over Load shedding
    • Inspired by a recent trip to South Africa, but the general principle remains – do something before its too late and drastic action needs to be taken!
  • Mentoring over Managing
  • Nurture over Nature
    • Relying on raw talent alone will only take you so far, but hard graft and access to a good mentor can often take you further
  • Offer over Obligation
    • Offer yourself or your services before it is asked or demanded of you
  • Proposed ideas over (waiting for) Perfectly thought out ones
    • Ideas are seldom right when you first start out, but its generally only by sharing and bouncing them off others that they become well formed
  • Questioning over Quietly trying to work out what’s going on by yourself for hours
  • Re-use over Re-invent
  • Simplicity over Smart and super cool, but complex
    • My own personal motto is “Strive for simple when you can, be pragmatic when you can’t”
  • Teaching over Telling
  • Uniqueness over Uniformity (when innovating) BUT
    Uniformity over Uniqueness (when maintaining)
  • Viral over Virus
    • Make an impact, but just ensure it’s a positive one!
  • Wisdom over Wealth
  • X-Factor over X
    • Because sometimes it takes something uniquely different, or someone with that unique perspective, to be able to shift you from your default position
  • You as-you-are over Yet-another-clone
  • ZX Spectrum over all other 1980’s personal home computers
    • Z is not an easy letter to find comparisons for, and well, as the ZX Spectrum was my first computer which helped usher in my tech beginnings, and, valuing challenging over conforming to the status quo, I break from my own self imposed format and give it a special mention!
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