Archive for April, 2023

The Principles of Principals

I always get a kick out of seeing my American-born friends often write principle when they mean principal. Another mistake I see is writing recieve/concieve instead of receive/conceive.

I often wonder why such mistakes are so glaring to me. Here’s what I’m thinking…

Sound vs Meaning

When I’m about to write a sentence that requires either the word principle or principal, I’m not thinking of their sound; I’m thinking of their meaning.

Visual images come to mind as I think of their meaning, and they’re often connected to how I’ve learned those meanings in my primary language (Brazilian Portuguese). So if I’m about to write “The kids were called by the school’s principal“, the image in my mind is that of the main person at the school. On the other hand, if I’m about to write “The kids were schooled on principles“, the immediate connection in my mind is a fundamental truth.

Side note: I’ve recently noticed someone using “verses” when they meant “versus” (maybe they should have stuck with “vs”?)

English as Second Language

In the case of words such as receive and conceive, I do believe I’m never confused about their spelling because of their Portuguese counterparts: receber and conceber.

So when I think of the word that means I’ll be given something, the immediate spelling connection starts as “rece…” (from “receber”), and then my mind makes the quick switch into English, “receive“.

Errors and Relatable Mistakes

It’s interesting for me when I’m in a group of people conversing in English, and many members of this group aren’t native English speakers.

While some of our mistakes may simply sound like plain errors to a native speaker, they’re relatable mistakes for me.

For example, I’ve heard colleagues from India and Mexico say a sentence such as “I did it today morning“, instead of “I did it this morning“; I used to make the same mistake many years ago because that’s how the sentence would structurally go in Brazilian Portuguese.

Words, Meaning, Context, Perspective

Words are important.
Their meaning is more important.
Context drives meaning.
Perspectives help identify and understand the context.

It’s interesting to see how the mind makes these connections.

Please share any resources you might know that could help me understand this better.

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JetBrains Rider: Removing “private” from C# code

I prefer NOT to see the “private” keyword in C# code. As a quick update to that post, here’s how to set up JetBrains Rider to not add “private” when it creates code, and also to remove it when using its “Reformat and Cleanup Code” feature:

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Meeting Interesting People

I’m meeting a lot of interesting people.

I’m meeting people who seem to think and talk just like me, even though our mother languages aren’t the same.

I’m meeting former presidents, senators, and their wives. Republicans and democrats.

I’m meeting people who made important decisions and later changed their mind.
People who talk about other people or subjects; sometimes they agree with each other, sometimes they don’t.

I’m meeting poets. Philosophers. People who speak with very polished language, others who have a potty mouth.

I’m meeting people who have never existed, yet, their stories resonate with me.

I’m meeting people who speak to me from the past.
Some have been long gone. Sometimes I wish we had met when they were still alive. Sometimes I’m glad I didn’t.

I met a youngster who translates wise words from the past into words I can understand with my limited command of the language.

I met people who told me a fictional story written in the past, about their future; a future which is my present.
And stories about their future which is also my future.

I’m meeting my heavy metal heroes, and learning about their struggles and successes.

I’m meeting people I haven’t heard from in decades.

I’m meeting extraordinary people who have accomplished amazing things in their life and are willing to share their stories.

People who are able to say so much using so few words.

I’m meeting people who help me ask important questions in life.
People who give me advice I can use in many areas of my own life.
They teach me things in a manner I can relate.

I’m meeting people whose storytelling skills take me on adventures I may never get to experience myself, or maybe I will.

People who are sharing knowledge with me I didn’t even know I’d either need or be interested in.

I’m meeting people I feel compelled to introduce them to friends and colleagues.

I’m meeting immigrants whose stories of proving others wrong I enjoy a lot.

I’m meeting with people to discuss lessons learned from other people we’ve met.

I’m meeting a lot of interesting people.

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Thoughts On Books – A Complaint-Free World

Will Bowen’s A Complaint Free World is among my favorite books read in 2022.

Going through my notes I see that I’ve done a lot of pondering and it still makes me think deeply through many of the points raised.

Here is a summary of some of my thoughts on it.

Best Advice

This piece of advice sums up the book for me:

Don’t hold back, don’t hold it in, just make sure you are stating only the facts, to someone who can resolve the issue.

Don’t cry out. Speak up.

Stop Whining like a Baby

We complain. Too much.

“The squeaky wheel may get the grease. But if it squeaks too much, it ends up getting replaced.”

Brilliantly put. That one stuck with me as it put into words some of my own experiences.


But sometimes we just need to vent a little. Right?

Well, no.

Venting is a form of complaining.

People will mirror what they see. Our words. Our body language.

Complaining is like bad breath…

“It seems that complaining is like bad breath – we notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth but not when it comes from our own.”

As our awareness of our own complaints go up, so does our perception of complaints from others.

I started being aware of things I used to complain quite a bit before, stopped doing that, then got annoyed when others did the complaining I used to, and then found out I became aware of it and learned to smile at myself and move on. Rinse and repeat.

When asking “why me?”

Our complaints are often followed by the question “why me?”

We can also ask the same question when we’re grateful for someone or something.

Using a Jar of Awesome and sharing that Gratitude helps with that.

The fifteenth

The author talks about a friend who had established a practice of having only one day every month when he could complain about something. That day was the 15th.

The point is that, by the time the 15th comes, he had already forgotten what he wanted to complain about.

The practice of distancing ourselves from the things that upset us is one that yields great results.

Focus Beyond the problem

“Not every problem needs to be overcome, just the ones stopping you from getting where you want to be.” – Ann Hill

The book talks about looking through the problem. Instead of talking about or focusing on the problem, switch over to the desired outcome, and only to people who can either provide the solution or help us get there.

Criticism and Sarcasm

Both criticism and sarcasm are forms of complaint.

Criticism: it made me rethink how I conduct code reviews.
Sarcasm: it made me think before I use sarcasm (“what’s the complaint disguised as sarcasm?”)

Summing up

I’ll be revisiting my notes on this book multiple times. There are many other things I’ve picked up from it that I decided to leave out of this post to keep it short. But I want to close this with a great passage about leadership:

Leadership can be a daunting task. The use of criticism is an indication of a leader who lacks the resources to truly lead.
A leader’s job is the careful balancing of inspiration and direction.

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