January of this year, I decided to enroll into Dev Bootcamp (DBC). I completed my 9 weeks of prep and 9 weeks of the core curriculum. I am now a DBC graduate and ready to begin my lifelong dream career as a full stack web developer. While it’s true that I walked out of DBC learning the basics of web development, I gained much more than I ever expected.
Whats the difference between a kitchen and a restaurant?
My idea of school used to be: go in, do work, teacher grades work, go home, repeat, profit. At DBC, one of the first things we were all told was the “kitchen vs restaurant” ideology. At a restaurant, you pay for your food, you are served, you eat, you leave. DBC is not a restaurant. DBC is a kitchen where you learn to cook your own meals. You pay for access to the kitchen, you get your hands dirty, burn yourself a few times and learn from your mistakes. In the end, you create some beautiful food. This reminds me of the old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”.
Then there was the EE (Emotional Empathy) classes. Once every week, we’d all get together as a cohort and expose our emotions in a safe environment. So “what does ‘a safe environment’ mean?”. We all agree on some terms before having emotionally heavy topics; one being that everything that is said inside EE stays in EE. One cannot speak over the other or interrupt someone while speaking and probably the most important rule, if you are giving feedback on something someone said, make sure that it is kind, actionable feedback. Furthermore, if you disagree with someones opinion, let them know in a kind, actionable way. So rather than tell this person “No, what don’t you understand? are you stupid?” and so on, you can say something like ‘The things you said made me feel like I’m not expressing myself clearly, could you please tell me what you think I said?’. A statement like this to a rational human being, 9/10 times will comply. This made a normally difficult topic a little less chaotic and more transparent.
I must say, I’ve learned a lot about my fellow cohort mates because of it and they about me. I’d dare to say my cohort knows me better than some of my closest friends. As a side effect, I think i learned a little bit more about myself too. This helped me in my personal life as well as my career bonds.
One of DBC’s required reading in phase 0 is a book by Chade-Meng Tan called Search Inside Yourself . In this book, Chade-Meng speaks about the happiest man in the world and how he achieved happiness through meditation. He speaks about teaching the world about the benefits of meditation and his ideals to find the conditions to achieve world peace in his lifetime. Not a book I expected to read in a bootcamp for software developers.
Compassion is the happiest emotion a person can experience.
Scientists found a means to calculate happiness in the brain. They measured many peoples happiness before reading Matthieu Ricard . Matthieu’s readings were off the charts! This earned him the title ‘the happiest man in the world’. Ironically, this title irritated him. So what was Matthieu thinking about when the scientists were running their tests? Compassion. Yes, according to Matthieu Ricard, the happiest state of mind is a state of compassion.
Thanks to all these contributing factors, I no longer allow my emotions to manipulate me, nor do I ignore them; I experience them. Emotions hold vasts amounts of information, they are very important. When you do feel a surge of emotion, I ask you to wait, take one deep breath and give it the attention it’s asking for and then react in a kind, rational way. So the next time you’re cut off by someone on the road, before you flip this guy the bird only to arrive to work and realize that this guy is your new project manager; take a deep breath and begin living a happier life.