On occasion someone comes across something I have written and completely misses my point (despite covering it in often more ways than one). That person completely misses the attitude and approach I use. That person thinks I am either a hypercritical hard ass, unappreciative consumer or worse, a hypocrite. So often I have to clarify and correct whatever false assumption they made in order to get the point across.
When I tear apart a program or site and call it on its BS, I am also thinking that I should avoid those problems or errors in my own endeavors. Or I am recollecting memories of a time I did the same thing, and how it was now filed under “learning experience.” Also, people think that I do not look upon my own work with the same unforgiving eye for detail that I use when evaluating a piece of software or hardware. Sorry, wrong again: I am my own worse critic. When someone points something out that they think is stupid, I will either explain why it really isn’t because of X,Y and/or Z, or do something a lot of people have a hard time doing: agree with them whole heartedly, call myself a moron, and fix it if I can.
Hey we aren’t all perfect. And that’s another thing: I realize that no one is perfect, and when I point something out, I do not want to use it as a jumping off point for a person’s defense of themselves. I want to signal “hey this is good, but what I think would make it better is…” As a matter of fact, there is another post in the pipe about having to write verbosely (Mode Verbose) in order to prevent misunderstandings. It is about how writers often have to straddle, clarity and conciseness. If you detect a lot of wordiness and over explanation in my writing and do not see why I am beating a dead horse, than I apologize for wasting your time. I just do not want an expression of an idea to turn into a flamewar or dismissal (thus, missing the point) because I didn’t qualify a statement, and someone with less comprehension than you misunderstood. It is also one of the reasons I try to avoid making blanket statements and over-generalizations, such as prefacing or peppering my comments with words such as “the best,” “every,” “all,” “none,” and “never.”
Last, I tend to treat my opinions like science treats its theories: subject to change upon receiving new good information. I think this flexibility allows me to alter course quickly if I am about to make a mistake (If I see it in time). Some people think those that change their minds about something are weak-minded, and this might be true in some cases, but in mine and many others, I see it as a sign of strength. For some weird reason people think someone has to exhibit perfection in order to maintain credibility and confidence. That is not true: A person who is not bound so tightly to their beliefs, and doesn’t cling to them to give them a sense of self, has a stronger sense of identity. Think of it. Do you know who you are and only feel secure if your world is one defined by external forces, knit into one stable zeitgeist? Or do you define yourself, and revise that person daily to adapt to an every-changing worldview? I fall into the latter category because there is also such a thing a professional and social Darwinism. That is why when I make a mistake, I tend to find out what I didn’t see, why I fell into it and how I can avoid it in the future. So, call me hypercritical if you wish: I call it being mindful.