The Power of Coding with Emotion

What can we learn from high performers in other disciplines?

Paul Singman
Feb 8 · 4 min read
Photo by Evgeniya Litovchenko on Unsplash

You have a burning passion inside you.

The beauty of this passion — with it, you are capable of great things.

“The emotions you are feeling at this very moment are a gift, a guideline, a support system, a call to action. If you suppress your emotions and try to drive them out of your life… you’re squandering one of life’s most precious resources” — Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within

Keeping the flame alive

For a musician, it could be imagining an on-stage performance in front of a thousand screaming fans or simply captivating a room. For an athlete, maybe it’s pretending to shoot a game-winning shot for the state title, while in an empty gym.

For a developer, the big moment is…

Releasing a beloved new feature. Speaking at a conference. These are generic answers — but think back in your own career. What were the most exhilarating moments thus far?

It can be hard to come up with a comparable moment in the typical life of a developer to the musician or athlete. But perhaps there is something to emulate.

“The same barrier that kept me out of pain also kept me out of pleasure. It barred me from solutions and sealed me in a tomb of emotional death…” — Tony Robbins

No, you won’t ever be coding in front of a thousand screaming fans.

But I also do not believe that choosing software development as a career means sealing yourself in a tomb of emotional death.

Finding Emotional Clarity

For example, take speaking at a conference to a roomful of attentive faces. How would you feel at that moment? A combination of animated, nervous, playful, connected, proud, and finally — sweet relief.

What moments can you more practically aim toward that can summon the same sort of feelings? Now start doing whatever work is required to get you there.

Remind yourself daily of the emotions you aim to generate and review your schedule each day to figure out what meetings or tasks they could be cultivated in.

“If we decide to think, feel, and act as the kind of person we want to be, we will become that person.” — Tony Robbins

Practical Solutions

You may be fortunate to have an integral role on an exciting project that’s meaningful to you. Other times though, there’s no getting around an arduous busywork task or project that you have no choice but endure.

Here are some tips when in the latter situation.

1. Pair Programming

2. Staying Active in the Community

Call it vain, but these small dopamine hits can be the little extra boost to get you out of bed and going early. Now, working on a task at work isn’t just to complete it, but also to give ideas for future content and conversations with others.

And who knows what the future will hold.

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Whispering Data is a Medium publication for all the data & productivity secrets you wish you knew years ago!

Paul Singman

Written by

DevRel @lakeFS. Ex-ML Engineering Lead @Equinox. Whisperer of data and productivity wisdom. Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Whispering Data

Whispering Data is a Medium publication for all the data & productivity secrets you wish you knew years ago!

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