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Good people with bad habits

In professional relationships..

Bad people with bad habits: it’s easy to catch early and filter them out.

Good people with good habits are too rare. They hardly come by.

But good people with bad habits are more common.

These are the people whose enormous potential is being blocked by some self deceptions going on in their minds, that they don’t see, but others around them can tell. As always, those around us know a lot more about us than we ourselves (though 99.9% of the times we think it’s the other way around).

So what to do?

It turns out that good old objectivity is our best friend.

Consider a programmer I used to work with. He was an honest guy with good intentions to do a good job. At the end of the day however, he would live up to 40% of his potential. But he felt enormous stress in accomplishing even that. Worse yet, he thought he was giving his 100%.

How could we tell it was only 40%? We counted the number of lines of code he wrote, which averaged no more than 30 per day. Now a programmer working 8 hours a day, was then writing 5 lines of code per hour. Discounting research time and reading code, that was still a very humble contribution.
We also surveyed his customers and his peers, counted the number of tickets he closed and the number of software packages he produced over time.

So while this good guy was stressing out to the maximum of his energy, his performance was bad, and he didn’t even know.

Our mind plays various tricks on us. But our best weapon to catch them is objectivity