I Have Nothing Left To Say
I Have Nothing Left To Say
This being my 500th blog post here at Think Different, I’ve been looking for something profound, insightful, earth-shattering and above all useful to write about. In that search, I’ve come to feel that, actually, I have nothing left to say.
I’ve written many posts on my experiences, on my thoughts, and on the ideas I’ve come up with to make software development and the business of software development better. I’ve clarified many of my thoughts through writing them down. And folks tell me I’ve entertained and intrigued in maybe equal measure with my different, generally contrarian take on conventional wisdom. If you’re at all interested in any of that, the archive has 499 other posts to delve into.
And now I feel have nothing left to say.
It’s not like any of my ideas have gained any traction in the world. I see and hear of no FlowChain or flow-based initiatives out there. Nobody seems much interested in the effectiveness of their organisations or in improving (Rightshifting) that effectiveness. Nobody seems much interested doing much about the role of the collective psyche, or in treating it. In fact, very few seem to have any interest in improving things, be that in their workplaces or in their wider lives. Few again seem interested in applying emotioneering to the design of their products. And few see the need to act on the idea that attending to folks’ needs would bring more joy – not to mention progress – into the world.
In brief, I’m finding little joy in continuing to sow my ideas in rocky places, along the paths, or amongst thorns. Maybe there is good soil somewhere, but I have yet to find it. And I have yet to see any seeds even come up, let alone produce and multiply.
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
~ The Bible, Mark 4:3-8
And yet, I persevere. Continuing to help one person at a time. I find joy in that, every time. It all seems so futile, and yet something keeps me going.
Except now I feel have nothing left to say.
I have over two hundred part-writtten and unpublished posts in various states of completion. And precious little enthusiasm for publishing any of them. After all, the emotional return on publishing even one seems so…minimal.
And so I accept that I have nothing new to share, and nothing left to say.
And even if I did have more things to say, I’ve come to believe that’s damn futile, too. Folks so rarely act on what they hear, or read, or see. Just one more reason I have nothing left to say.
For my friends and dedicated readers, fear not. I have no intention of stopping writing this blog. Just don’t expect future posts to have much to say.
Bob, please don’t give up on us! We are an ungrateful bunch in general because we never feedback to you how much we appreciate your writings. To be sure change it is very difficult to implement the pearls you cast amongst us and even in tiny micro companies (where one would think it was easy) it is a real challenge.
Your writings do make a difference, if only in the fact that they remind me that I haven’t done anything yet! It will be trite of me to say this, but remember Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Keep your spirits up, we are still reading!
I met Carina Zona last month when she spoke in Edinburgh. She campaigns to help raise awareness of gender imbalance and in particular at tech conferences. You may have heard of @CallbackWomen. After I thanked her for all of her efforts and for her support promoting Lean Agile Scotland to the female speaking community she told me a story.
For three years she had publicised CfP’s for conferences who had reached out to her sharing her concerns around gender imbalance. Throughout that time she received very little feedback, wasn’t sure her efforts were making any difference. Then when standing in line at a European conference, she was speaking at in September, she was told be another female speaker that her work had led to that speaker being there to speak at a tech conference for the first time. The other speaker was overjoyed to have met Carina and thanked her for the difference she had made in her life.
When Carina was introduced before her talk she received a standing ovation.
Till that point she had little insight into the effect of her work.
Without doubt you, through this blog and your community contributions, are making a difference. FWIW you have helped change my view of the world. Thank you!
Ah, keep going Bob. It can be a challenge to work without feedback, but lots of people hear you and appreciate your insights. It is also not about changing the world, as the world does not like being changed. How seeds sown grow is often indirect and surprising, an no less important for it. As someone who writes little, I admire your productivity, especially in the high quality you maintain over so many post and such a length of time.
Awww bob, I love your blogs – Even though I’m a relative newcomer I’ve taken a lot of value from them. Are you OK? Don’t like to see you feeling this way! Jon
“Expectations are resentments under construction.” —Anne Lamott
Write not for results, but only because you must. You may change others, you may not. It’s quite likely you are changing yourself, and that cannot help but have an impact on those you come in contact with. I enjoy reading you, and you do sometimes shift my thinking. Do I always act on it? Do I ever…? Maybe not, but I am a little richer for it.
Bob, your writings have influenced and inspired me for over 5 years. It feels good that you are out there!
Are you looking to feel some external support for continuing to write here? I’m guessing not. So here isn’t any. 😉 I can attest that what you’ve already written has helped folks, and though we haven’t met, it seems awfully likely that you’ve helped (and continue to help) folks through other forms of interaction. So if you feel you’ve run out of things worth saying here, okay. And if you later feel some of your needs would be met by saying things here, still also okay.
Bob, would be sad day if you did stop writing. I do value what you write. It makes me think about things from new perspectives. You might be surprised how much of what you write comes out in my conversations. Change takes time. You are contributing to a better “us”. Take a break, come back when you have the desire, but please, don’t stop. There are a number of us that learn from your writing.
Hey Bob, I _always_ appreciate your posts and the effort you put in to them 🙂 It’s actually been a while since I’ve read your posts as I’ve been moving and transforming from the UK to Australia (boy it’s nice being back :). I’m now going to gradually (I like to savor good, new content) go through your posts – good to see you’re publishing some stuff after this one. I totally get where you are coming from with the frustration as it actually showed when I read some of your stuff before (last year). Being an Architect, I have fought some notionally similar battles in this space but on a much smaller scale. I had a number of facepalm moments, especially after a number of activities where it seems “no one has a clue or is even near getting it”… and I think it’s a quite natural reaction to SCREAM “WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON!!!???” (or whatever the British equivalent is 😉
I can’t really imagine how hard it must be to get traction with your work as in the Architecture space, even when I go “out on a limb” with concepts like Incremental Solution and Enterprise Architectures, it’s all based on so much precedent and more a synthesis of existing approaches which may not be commonly used together. This work is not a paradigm shift however. By your own model, you’re trying to show people who have made one step (at best, to Agile) what is 3 steps down the road for them, which is a wickedly complex task. From your new posts it seems like you are certainly refining and re-explaining some of your concepts.
And maybe that’s it – you had gone to the edge of your (current) “known universe” and are now setting up some “Stargates” for the rest of us to use, or at least pop out of and check out a new world. Looking forward to some new Gate Addresses…