“Achieve! Achieve” But Why? – An Invited Article

human machine

Discussions on productivity just sound like another form of the litany “ACHIEVE! ACHIEVE” to me. This voice only grew louder and meaner as I found myself unable to continue in the corporate and academic world and was left wondering – “So then, now what?”

So what if I get 78 on 100, or 85 on 100 in a subject at school and not 92? “She is so intelligent but… “, that is what each teacher told my mom at the parent’s-teacher-meeting each year for ten years. “Can do better”, “Can do better”, every teacher wrote these same three words in the comment section of my report card. And I was left wondering silently, “So? So what if I did not get those few marks more? How does that matter?” I never got an answer. This standard feedback slowly translated into the litany inside “Achieve! Achieve!”, a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction with myself. Each time my inner voice demanded “Achieve! Achieve!”, my being with quiet innocence asked, “Why?” – and an answer was not forthcoming…

Dear Reader,

I was invited to contribute an article to an ongoing collaborative blog project called The Human In The Machine – articles on productivity written mostly by people in the software world. My article titled “Achieve! Achieve!” But Why? was published today.

The above was an excerpt from the article. Here is another –

“Work is love made visible”, says Khalil Gibran. That rings true in my being. However, to do that, one first needs to connect with the love within, which can then get expressed in the work we do. Some people know from early on which kind of work is “love made visible” for them. Maybe you do not know what it is for you. For the longest time I did not know. Now I sense that I am nearing the answer.

To find what you naturally like to do, which can be of worth to the world, can be a process of elimination for some people. It has been for me. This can be extremely harrowing and can batter one’s self esteem. You try one thing and find that is not the answer. You try another. That too is not the answer. And the only way you can know if something is or is not the answer is by doing it. And each time your self esteem dips a bit further. Self-doubt and the sense of failure tighten their grip. Nevertheless if this is the only option you have, then it is the only option you have. This search requires patience and faith. Even then, while being harrowing, this search can be exhilarating too.

Each doing and undoing leaves some clue in its wake. “Feeling” data points accumulate, the feeling that each activity, each engagement aroused in you. This “feelings database” that you create in your heart makes for exotic intuitive data analysis, if you let the pattern and answer reveal itself…

I invite you to please visit this project “The Human In The Machine” and read this human’s whole article here.

If you would like me to write for your publication, please email me at vani.murarka@gmail.com

song of the software developer – 1

dear faceless bro of mine
i talk to you silenty
through the software
that i write

dear faceless bro of mine
i talk to you silently
through the software
that i write

i strive to reach silently
to you through the
code i write

at times i swim in one small box
a pixel high a pixel wide
and i am lost
semi lost colon lost
dark color coded screens
breaks in code
error screams

i forget

there is a human on that side
my bro my user
he gets lost
from my mind

UI UX they remind
and i rewind

why am i doing this?

to be one
with you faceless bro of mine
to be one
an interwoven world divine
to be one
with my own soul that shines

~ vani murarka

The Apprehensions and Satisfaction of Contributing

On the psychological experience of contributing one’s effort in another’s initiative.

Recently I contributed a few changes to two technical initiatives / GitHub repositories. Huh what?

GitHub is a place where people can collaboratively build code and content. Kind-of like Wikipedia but these are creative initiatives (as compared to information). It is a service used by software developers to maintain and build their code together. The together can be with just about anyone anywhere on the globe (human beings, dolphins not supported yet).

I have been using GitHub for a few months now to maintain my code of OurLib and Geet Gatiroop – but recently I made a few contributions to other peoples’ repositories. The process was psychologically rather interesting (rewarding).

The Apprehension
Am I doing it correct? Am I doing it in keeping with the creator’s overall style of work? It was quite fascinating watching these concerns in me as I went about offering a tiny addition to the technical documentation of a software I have come to admire. It also felt like I am butting-in into someone else’s work!

So one just tries to do one’s best. Observe what is already there and try to offer the change in keeping with the overall approach taken. Then the creator of that initiative can always accept/reject that contribution. Absolutely no hard feelings whatever. How beautiful.

The Satisfaction
It is subtle but immensely satisfying – to have the means to directly help improve a human initiative and make it that tad bit more beautiful – and to go ahead and do it. Then if the offering is accepted, it is a wee bit more satisfying – but the bulk of the satisfaction comes from the doing and offering itself.

One does not have to be perfect. If there are errors (or room for improvement), no issues – someone else can always come along and improve upon your tiny bit.

This is what we are all here for. To hold hands and be one. The साथी हाथ बढ़ाना (saathee haath badhaanaa) ethos.


Image credit: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection website.