Monday, June 25, 2007

Living By Design or Losing By Default

Being the CEO of a company means you have to have control over everything. Everything. Being the CEO of your own life requires pretty much the same thing. That’s where my problems begin. I’ve grown old wielding the philosophy that I only need to keep my focus on a handful of things. This is what keeps my life simple: I don’t sweat the little stuff. And for the most part this has worked for me. I mean, I’m here, aren’t I? Still alive, still kicking.

But I’m nowhere close to where I want to be, to where I know I can be. And that’s precisely because I don’t sweat the small stuff.

Some years back, I read somewhere that a good program operates by design, and not by default. Extending this wonderful bit of wisdom, a good programmer, then, attends to the design of his program, and does not rely on the defaults set by the environment.

We, as programmers of our own individual lives, and as coders of our own successes, would do well to keep this in mind. In many instances, I have swept aside the small stuff, smug in my belief that the universe will always take care of the loose ends for me. Is it any wonder, then, that many of my undertakings have somehow fallen short of expectations? Why am I surprised to feel as if I’m trying to climb out of a hole I’m sinking deeper and deeper into when I take on a project?

Now I know why. Or at least I know what a big part of the reason is: I’ve relied on the default, rather than impose my design.