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ICYMI: Emergency Confetti

I’ve often described a career in IT as “long stretches of soul-crushing depression, punctuated by brief moments of manic euphoria, which are inevitably followed by yet another long stretch of soul-crushing depression”. How do we, as IT professionals, remember to (as the old song goes) “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mister In-Between.

In this next episode, Doug and Leon explore how our religious/moral/ethical POV offers ways to help keep us positive in our work lives; and how our tech experiences tell us when we hit a rocky stretch of road in our faith journey. Listen or read the transcript below.

Intro (00:01):

[Music]

Leon Adato (00:32):

Welcome to our podcast, where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT, we’re not here to preach or teach you our religion. We’re here to explore ways we make our career as IT professionals mesh, or at least not conflict, with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.

Leon Adato (00:53):

I’ve often described a career in IT as long stretches of soul crushing depression, punctuated by brief moments of manic euphoria, which are inevitably followed by yet another long stretch of soul crushing depression. How do we, as IT professionals remember to, as the old song goes, accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mister in-between I’m Leon Adato. And the other voice that you’re going to hear on this episode is my longtime friend and partner in podcasting crime, Doug Johnson.

Doug Johnson (01:24):

Hey, how you doing?

Leon Adato (01:26):

I’m doing okay. Um, and before we kick off this topic, which I am really excited, I’m celebrating the chance that we have the fact that we have a chance to get to this. Um, I want to do some shameless self promotion. So Doug, bup bupa! Yes, exactly. Again, celebrate. So Doug, why don’t you kick it off? Who are you? Where can people find you? If they want to know more about

Doug Johnson (01:48):

I’m Doug Johnson. I am the chief technical officer for a company called wave RFID, which is my side gig, actually becoming a real company. We hired our first employee. Oh my gosh.

Leon Adato (02:00):

Celebrate!

Doug Johnson (02:00):

I’m going to have to be an. Whee! Okay. Uh, I’m also a web developer for Southwestern health resources. My day job. Uh, you can reach me on Twitter’s at Doug Johnson. That’s D U G J O H N S O N because there are so many Doug Johnson’s in the world. I had to drop the O, that’s just the way it is. Uh, you can a website way by rfid.net. If you want to hear what we’re doing and I’m an evangelical Christian, but not one of the crazy ones.

Leon Adato (02:28):

Got it. Okay. And, uh, just to close the circle, I am Leon Adato. I’m a head geek. Yes. That’s actually my job title at SolarWinds, a company that has nothing to do with solar or wind. It’s a monitoring software vendor, uh, based out of Austin, Texas, you can find me on the Twitters at Leon Adato. I haven’t dropped any letters. It’s all the way it sounds. My website is a Datto systems.com where I wax philosophical about things, both technical and religious. I identify as an Orthodox Jew and occasionally my rabbi even admits to knowing me too. Um, now if you’re scribbling that stuff down, stop it, put your hands back on the wheel, pay attention to the road. Uh, we will have show notes out and all the things that we talk about, the links, even to the lyrics for accentuate, the positive are going to be in the show notes. You can find them there so you don’t need to write them. All right. So I want to frame this topic before we get started, there was a tweet that came out as tweets do a little while ago from Anna the distracted gardener. She’s actually taken it down. I think it created so much, uh, uh, traffic that she needed, muting wasn’t enough. She deleted it, but, uh, it reads like this. My eight year old in the car today said, do you want me to throw the confetti in my pocket? Me; No, not in the car. What? Wait, why do you have confetti in your pocket? My eight year old. It’s my emergency confetti. I carry it everywhere in case there’s good news. So reading that just made me think, yeah, there, there are unexpected moments where we have to celebrate things. And what if we’re not prepared? Now, perhaps carrying a bag of emergency confetti around in your pocket is a little extreme, but yes, I actually do now have a bag of emergency confetti in my pocket.

Doug Johnson (04:17):

I may have to do this.

Leon Adato (04:20):

I have it, I can’t wait till we start traveling because going through TSA is going to be a really interesting conversation.

Doug Johnson (04:26):

That will be interesting.

Leon Adato (04:28):

sir. What is this? What is it? It’s my emergency. Confetti. Your, your what?

Doug Johnson (04:34):

Oh, man.

Leon Adato (04:36):

Do you want to keep it? Yeah, I kind of do like I get, I’m just, I’m waiting, right? It’s either going to go wonderfully gloriously fun, or it’s going to be the reason why someone has to post bail for me.

Doug Johnson (04:46):

Exactly. They’re going to smile or I’m going to have to come down to the airport.

Leon Adato (04:49):

It’s going to be a cavity search. It’s going to be something like that. Right? So, uh,

Doug Johnson (04:54):

Ooh! You need to eat confetti before you go that way.

Leon Adato (04:56):

Oh man. No, no, no, no, no. Okay. This took a weird left turn. Um, so there was, that was part of it. The other part, I was listening to an episode on NPR. And once again, we’re going to have links to the episode in our show notes, um, where they interviewed Lee Horton, how he and his brother, uh, were released from prison after 25 years, uh, having been wrongly accused. And he had said some really amazing things about just the experience that he had being out of prison and having just typical experiences day to day. And so we’re going to play those clips. Now,

Lee Horton (05:36):

When we got out, just to tell you this story, we went to the DMV a couple days later to get our license back. And me, my brother and some and another man, man, who was committed, we stood in line for two and a half hours. And we heard all the stories that everybody tells us the bad things about the DMV we had the most beautiful and all the people were looking at us cause we were smiling and we were laughing and they couldn’t understand why we were so happy. And it just was that, just being in that line was a beautiful thing. It was a wonderful thing. I mean, I was in awe of everything around me. It’s like my, my mind was just heightened to every small nuance and having an onion just to cook your food with becomes priceless, just having a stove and to be able to just look out of a window, just to walk down the street and just inhale the fresh air, just to see people interacting. We, I didn’t see children for years, no children. And then I see a little boy running down the street and, and it, and it woke something up in me, something that I don’t know if it died or if it went to sleep. One of my morning ritual is every morning is I sent a message of good morning to every one of my contacts. And that’s like 42 people, family members. I sent them good morning, good morning, good morning, have a nice day. And they’re like, how long can I keep doing this?

Leon Adato (07:16):

And all of those things really got me thinking about the nature of joy and celebration. And, maybe that we overlook opportunities to celebrate that, that we might be, you know, we might be missing and, and we might be not, we might be worse off for it. So I wanted to talk about all of that. Um, that was really where the whole idea of this episode called emergency confetti came from. Um, so Doug, I wanna, I want to hear your thoughts about what needs to be celebrated when you celebrate, you know, all of those things.

Doug Johnson (07:51):

One of the big problems that I had when I saw this, I was like, I thought, Oh, what a cute little girl, that’s so great. And of course I immediately thought about confetti out, glitter all over the inside of the car and all that kind of stuff. And the problem, and the problem is for me is that my, uh, general take on the universe tends to be that it’s all gonna go bad. Um.

Leon Adato (08:14):

Right.

Doug Johnson (08:15):

Well, I mean, I do have history, but remember that, you know, I’m, I’m a tech, chief technology officer. I’m also a web developer with, uh, for the marketing department, which means I’m the only person in my department that has any tech chops. And so I, most of my job, my life is spent anticipating disaster. Um, you know, I mean, I get to create good things all the time, but, but the reality is I’m the one who has to figure out what’s going to go wrong. That’s what they hired me for. And so I’m always looking for something to go wrong. Years ago, I was a camp director at a, at a boys camp up in Canada, 25 years of this stuff. And I eventually had to stop doing it because I used to love it. And then I liked it less and less because I was spending my whole time trying to figure out what could go wrong. And when you’ve got a couple of hundred boys, a lot can go wrong,

Leon Adato (09:08):

Basically. Yeah. They’re basically mistake generators. I mean, when the concept of chaos monkey came from somebody who was a director at a boys camp, somewhere in upstate Allegheny forest or something like it has to be.

Doug Johnson (09:20):

It doesn’t. But the problem is over a period of time, when you really, after you’ve spent years doing this and you really are looking for people to really get in trouble, it really sucks the joy out of it for you.

Leon Adato (09:33):

Yes.

Doug Johnson (09:33):

And that’s why I ultimately stopped doing it. But, you know, it’s like things and things do go wrong. It’s not like you’re just being a nervous Nellie. It’s like, things really do go wrong. I’ve got stories. Believe man. You know what, um.

Leon Adato (09:47):

When the story ends, when the story in the middle of this story says, and then we got the epi pen.

Doug Johnson (09:52):

Yes.

Leon Adato (09:53):

Like, you know.

Doug Johnson (09:55):

Bad things are gonna happen. You know, that the kid that the ADD kid that was sent to camp without his Ritalin, because his parents were hoping that it would help him straighten out.

Leon Adato (10:04):

Yes.

Doug Johnson (10:04):

What could go wrong?

Leon Adato (10:05):

Because Summer camp is also therapy. Exactly.

Doug Johnson (10:08):

Yeah. But, and they didn’t tell us either.

Leon Adato (10:11):

No, no, why would they do that?

Doug Johnson (10:13):

They didn’t want so, so here’s the, Oh, nevermind. In any case. So.

Leon Adato (10:17):

That’s how double blind studies are done.

Doug Johnson (10:20):

Exactly. Well, we were doubly blind and boy, we eventually got the information and it straightened out, but geez, some low wheezing. I mean, usually using us as an experiment was not all that great. And it wasn’t good for him either, but you know, and there’s, there’s the whole thing, like, uh, in, in the world of programming, would you, would you rather have an optimistic programmer or a pessimist program?

Leon Adato (10:41):

I just, I’d never thought of it that way, but yeah. I really want, I want Abe Vigoda as a programmer. Like I really don’t. Okay. I just dated myself. I know. Look it up. If you don’t know who Abe Vigoda is.

Doug Johnson (10:53):

He’s still alive too. Isn’t he? Or did he finally, I think he’s still alive. I didn’t get, well, we’ll let you look it up. All the talk. Okay. But basically what it comes down to is everybody sells the optimistic program because you make all these wonderful things happen. And I go, no, you want a pessimistic programmer? Cause he’ll find the error. But he doesn’t think that’s the only one he’ll keep on looking till he finds all the errors that he could. He’ll still know that there’s more. So if you want something to work, you don’t want an optimistic person. You might want an optimistic architect, but you don’t want an optimistic programmer. You know, it’s like one of the reasons why I love QA engineers, uh, regular programmers, they’re all like I can make that work, QA engineers. I can break that. Right. They’re great. You know, and, being a dev, I love my, my QA guy is my safety net because he’s gonna, he’s gonna break my stuff. And I thank him every time he does. So, and everybody knows about demo gods, everything works perfectly. You do a demo and it blows up. Right

Leon Adato (11:52):

Right, right. Okay. So I got, I got to ask just as a side note. I mean, because again, there’s, there’s concept of, of, of celebration or at least giving thanks and things like that. For people who’ve never seen it at certain types of conferences, I’m thinking like Dev Ops Days specifically, there is an actual shrine off to the side of the stage where people give their talks and demos and people will routinely bring offerings and place them on the shrine. They’re placing an offering to the demo. God, whether it’s USB sticks or CD rom drive, I’ve seen people leave AOL CDs as like, you know, very, very retro kind of things. And I’m always as a, as a religious person, I’m a little conflicted because this is really on the, I mean, I get it. It’s a joke. Right? I don’t think that anybody really thinks that there are demo gods, but I just like the image of an Orthodox Jew on a stage with a shrine to the demo gods off to the side is always just a little like.

Doug Johnson (12:51):

It’s on the edge. It’s right there on the edge. It’s like, I want one of those happy cats that raises their hand up and down all the time. But those are, those are like a shrine also. So you just, it’s just, you know, you want to be careful. I, I am a, uh, I am a minister in the church of the flying spaghetti monster. I am, I am somewhat conflicted only because now the church and the flying spaghetti monster does not make you give up your main religion, but every now and then I’m like, I just wonder if I should pull out this card at church and see what the pastor has to say about it. Because I just found out that I actually, I could do weddings if I actually went and registered with my County, I could do weddings. Wouldn’t that be weird with a pirate hat?

Leon Adato (13:36):

Okay. In any case. Okay. So,

Doug Johnson (13:39):

So in scrum retrospectives, right? I mean the whole point of scrimming retrospectives is you’re supposed to get together and, you know, look back at the last two weeks and talk about everything that went well. And they all 99% of the time, they’re always here what went wrong. It’s always, it’s rarely celebration. It’s almost always let’s fix what went wrong, no matter how good it was. So again, so my default is things are, I assume things are going to go badly.

Leon Adato (14:10):

Right? So I was thinking about this as you were talking about it. And, and the, the thing that came to mind was the character of Leonard snort, who in the Flash, uh, mythology on comic books is, uh, captain cold. And he was famous, at least on the TV show, the CW TV show of the flash. He would say, make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, throw away the plan. And I feel like this is what you’re talking about is it’s not that, you know, everything’s going to go to hell and a handbasket, so why bother even trying like, no, you make a plan, but you also have a healthy dose of, you want to say cynicism, you want to say pessimism, but you have a healthy dose of whatever that is to know that things are not going to go as expected. Okay. But we’re talking about a celebration. We’re not talking about regret, which is a whole other episode that were going to get to.

Doug Johnson (15:02):

Oh yeah. But so the, the same, the same attitude though, can carry over into the spirit world. I mean, you know, it’s like, so here I am, I’m a Christian. I know I should pray every day. I know I should be doing, I have really good intentions and yet I don’t execute all that. Well, in fact, most Christians don’t, um, you know, and Christianity is based on the fact that we’re all have a sin nature so that we’re, you know, even with Christ as our savior, we are constantly battling against this sin nature. Even though, you know, we, we have victory through Jesus and I can sing the song. The fact is we are still have the sin nature. And all you have to do is just look around and you can go and see the, all the leaders that are going. Uh, I mean, there’s just a lot of stuff happening in the Christian world right now. Uh, that’s just really down. It just shows that even the, the main guys who you thought had it all together, they don’t either. And it just, you know, it just, it, it, it can be depressing.

Leon Adato (16:03):

Yeah, yeah, no, no. I can see that. And so, so obviously this is a, a big, um, deviation from, uh, Jewish thought where, uh, there isn’t that original sin or sin nature that, um, the, the challenges that we face the, the idea of free will and the idea of, um, the challenges to ourselves are more like hurdles. They are more like, um, the, the, what we are on earth to do is to improve ourselves perfect ourselves. That does not mean that we reach perfection. It just means that we are continually trying to make ourselves better. And the only way that you do that is by facing challenges. And sometimes you’re going to trip. Sometimes you’re not going to make it. Um, and I think that feeds into the overarching concept that we’re talking about today, about celebration, but it is one of those theological deviations between Judaism and Christianity is that, um, it isn’t, it isn’t written into the software that sin is the default setting. So, um, I can see that, but okay. I still want to get to like, where’s the happy stuff? Where’s, I got this, the confetti. I’m ready to go.

Doug Johnson (17:12):

Okay. Okay, good. Glitter, glitter, glitter. Okay, here we go. Work. Guess what things actually get accomplished? We actually make stuff. Are you ready for this one? This Friday? After several months of working through this whole thing, I took code live. And when I got up on Saturday morning, because it processes overnight, it didn’t work. And when people went and checked it, they said it, it worked. So I didn’t have to fix it because it worked. And I

Leon Adato (17:47):

Want to just emphasize for people might not have heard that you pushed to production on a Friday.

Doug Johnson (17:52):

Oh yeah. But I do that. I do that anyway, because I’m the, see, I’m the only one. So the, so the reality is I would I push on a Friday after hours because that gives me all of Saturday and Sunday to fix it. It’s just me. I’m the only geek.

Leon Adato (18:10):

Okay.

Doug Johnson (18:11):

No, I, I know you never push on Friday.

Leon Adato (18:13):

No, I was going to say that Charity Majors, who’s the CTO of honeycomb, honeycomb IO. And again, we’ll have a link is a big proponent, you know, push, push any day. It doesn’t get, why is Friday different than.

Doug Johnson (18:25):

Right.

Leon Adato (18:26):

Another day. If you’re not comfortable pushing on a Friday, you shouldn’t be comfortable pushing on a Tuesday either.

Doug Johnson (18:30):

True. Yeah. I never pushed code except for after hours because I’ve just, I’ve had enough things go wrong in my life that I want at least a few hours to fix it. When nobody’s watching.

Leon Adato (18:40):

There we go, ok.

Doug Johnson (18:40):

So there you are. So, um, you know, but so it worked and, uh, wave RFID. We have happy clients. They love us. They think that the stuff that we’ve done for them is great, you know, and we’re getting,

Leon Adato (18:52):

They pay you.

Doug Johnson (18:52):

And they pay us, right. They, they not only give us money, but they tell us they like us. I’ll take as long as I get the first one. I’m okay. But boy, getting both of them is nice, you know, and sure. Uh, when I push code and things go, well, guess what? My coworkers are happy. They’re like, thank you for making this happen. I’m going don’t thank me. It’s just my job. And they go, but I want to thank you. It’s like, Oh, I’ll fine. And then,

Leon Adato (19:17):

Because you are still a curmudgeon.

Doug Johnson (19:20):

I mean, I was just, yeah, they know that. And, and, and, and finally, you know, we get to, we have a chance to do good things. We just hired our first employee. This is the guy that we wanted him a few years ago. He screwed up, he went to prison for awhile. We just got him. We’ve gone through a lot of work to go ahead and be able to take care. But we’re, you know, his wife keeps sending me emails, like, thank you for doing this for him. I’m like, he’s going to make our job better. Believe me. It’s like, you know, but you know, and so, yeah, it’s more work because of the, you know, I had to put some guard rails in place on his computer use and some stuff like that. But the reality is he’s happy. He’s not, he was working as a janitor since he got out of jail. He’s perfect. He’s really happy to go back to working with, uh, computer code and stuff. So that works out and, and, you know, in the church realm, guess what people really are trying to be better. I mean, just as you said, you know, most people aren’t sitting there going, Oh, I’m sinning I might as well just keep on sinning. Some do. I mean, you know, but,

Leon Adato (20:18):

Right.

Doug Johnson (20:18):

But, but most Christians really do want to improve and if they can stop beating themselves up, then they can go ahead and, and do that.

Leon Adato (20:27):

And do it even faster. Right.

Doug Johnson (20:28):

Right. And the nice thing is that in the bounds of all that stuff, there’s work, that people do that to help other people, the youth group was raising money, so they could all go to camp. Right. So they came to buy every year. Well, it’s supposed to be twice a year, but they come, you can hire them for 4 hours. They’ve never done two. So this year I hired two teams for 4 hours, 8 hours of kids coming here so that my yard, my garden could be set. And as I’m sitting there telling them how much this, cause my, my strength and that is not what it used to be. I, I, I can’t do. And I just telling them how, how great it is that they’re coming to do this for me so that I can do this gardening, which I, I love gardening. I mean, I got a fan test and, but I couldn’t do it if they didn’t come. So they get a blessing and I get a blessing and they get money and I get to garden. And it just, every time I told these crews what they were doing for me, I would end up, you know, tears coming down my face. I’m going, they must think I’m a crazy, really crazy old guy, but it’s just, it’s right.

Leon Adato (21:29):

And they’d be right.

Doug Johnson (21:30):

And they’d be right. But yes, but they don’t know how. Right.

Leon Adato (21:34):

Right, right. But the other thing I want to underscore there is that, you know, I think thinking back to, you know, teenage years, there’s a lot of work that you do that, you know, is just, you know, forgive me, but it’s, it’s shit work that somebody made up just to keep you busy.

Doug Johnson (21:49):

Yup.

Leon Adato (21:49):

Like really, you know, it’s, it’s useless and it’s, it’s really, they would be better off just to hand the money to the organization as a donation. Then you coming out and doing this completely meaningless, pointless stuff, but to come out to somebody who says, no, no, no. The thing that I want to do, the gardening is you are enabling that this is the part I couldn’t do. And very clearly letting them see that means that there is not just work and not just payment, but purpose.

Doug Johnson (22:19):

Yup.

Leon Adato (22:19):

And that, that is huge for a lot of people, let alone kids, but it is a really big deal for, for folks to know that the work that they’re doing is meaningful work, that it has an impact on somebody. So, yeah. I mean, when you say blessing, it it’s really, you know, the full meaning of that word. Yup.

Doug Johnson (22:41):

Yeah. I mean, and that’s true back in the worker. I mean, how, I’m sure you must’ve had at least one job in the past where you wondered why the hell you were doing it

Leon Adato (22:51):

Occasionally

Doug Johnson (22:52):

Once in a while, but you know, but it’s nice having work where you’re sitting there going, I know why I’m doing this. I’m the person to be doing, you know, I’m, I am overpaid where I work, uh, for my day job. But the reality is for the kinds of things that I’ve had to fix over this last year, I may not have had to work really hard, but they couldn’t have found one person that knew all of the different things that I knew to fix all of the stupid things that they came up with this last year, I’m going, you know, so they might have

Leon Adato (23:22):

Been paying for the hours, but they were paying for the experience.

Doug Johnson (23:25):

They sure as heck got that. It was just funny. Like every time I’d feel bad about, I really should be working harder. They’d come up with something, Oh, we need this website up in, Oh, let’s see a week and a half. Uh, and it has to be match all. And I’m like, okay, well, guess what, I can do that for you. But so, uh, it’s, it’s been pretty amazing, but so big, big blessing in the spiritual world with Christianity, we get to start all over again anytime. Well, we did, we did the whole, the whole thing. We confess our sins and we get, we, we get to go back to ground zero. Got it. Not quite like not, not, not the Catholic, you know, every week kind of thing, but again, still it’s, it’s all built in there. Right,

Leon Adato (24:07):

Right, right. I think there’s, I think many faith traditions have, I know Judaism does has a, the ability to, let go of the past too. Um, it’s not quite wash yourself of your sin of your sins, you know, so to speak, but to, to be able to make a fresh start unencumbered by the mistakes. There’s, you know, a lot of people think of heaven as a zero sum points game where it’s like, well, if I’ve sin twice and I’ve done one good deed that I’m still negative one or whatever it is. And that, that really isn’t how the calculus works. It’s, you know, there’s, there’s this concept of taking the things that you have, where you’ve missed the mark, which is a better translation for the Hebrew word of a Chet or a sin, and really transforming them into a blessing like double because it, the, the, the time that you missed the mark actually drove you to do the good thing. Had you not miss the mark, you would never have been driven to do this, this, um, positive thing. And so it, it actually retroactively makes the quote unquote sin a blessing also. So you get to rewrite the past in a way and Recode it, to something positive, even though it wasn’t at the time.

Doug Johnson (25:36):

Yep. And yeah, and it just comes down to things that look bad today. You may look back and say, that’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. All right. You just, you, you don’t know.

Leon Adato (25:47):

Right. Right. And I find that faith does a really good job of framing that, um, there’s a lot of stories of, you know, the quintessential, like I was stuck in traffic and I was swearing at the person ahead of me and whatever. And I was half an hour late. And what I found out was that had I gotten there on time, you know, fill in the blank, there was an accident, there was a robbery, there was a, this or that, or the other thing. And although I’m telling the story in broad brush stroke, that makes it sort of apocryphal. Um, the reality is that people have experienced that all the time where, you know, I missed my flight and then whatever I’m, you know, not necessary to say. Um, so we have lots of those stories where a, a seeming inconvenience at the moment that we are cursing about turns out to be a blessing, in fact, because it saved us from something much worse or, or horrible or whatever it is. And so again, I think faith helps to reframe that. The other thing that I think faith offers, and this is one of my questions for people who, um, you know, I don’t, I don’t believe in anything. I don’t need any of that, whatever it is that faith offers, if nothing else, it offers a structure, it offers a protocol to handle things. Now, of course, grief is one of the first things that comes to mind. Cause when we’re wracked by grief, when we’re in the middle of a real crisis, the last thing that our brains can can do is say, well, just do whatever feels right. Do whatever comes to you. You know, no, that is not the moment that we need that. And, and so that’s there, but again, because we’re talking about emergency confetti, I also think that faith offers us a really interesting structure to process joy in the sense that it tells us, you know, when to celebrate what to celebrate, how to celebrate it. Um, and the secret, I think for faith is that it’s in the small moments, not the large ones, um, big moments often just take care of themselves. It’s your birthday, your anniversary, whatever you again, you know, I just, you know, you just go with what you feel it with. Feel like, you know, it’s, it’s a big moment. Okay. But you know, Judaism looks at moments like waking up in the morning is a cause for celebration. You actually say, before you move, as you’re waking up, there’s a blessing that you say, you know, thank you God for letting me wake up and getting out of bed and going to the bathroom. Okay, Doug, we are men of a certain age and man, you just need it not to work once to realize that all of that working the way it’s supposed to is absolutely a cause for celebration, crack out the confetti because whew, everything moved, you know, it’s great. In fact.

Doug Johnson (28:39):

He’s going to hate me if I start doing that.

Leon Adato (28:40):

Right.

Doug Johnson (28:43):

Excuse me, Doug, what’s all this glitter all over the bathroom floor. Well, I had this conversation.

Leon Adato (28:51):

Right. Celebrate the small moments. Celebrate the small victories. Right. Um, so Judaism actually looks and says, you know, you should say at least a hundred blessings a day, a hundred, thank you a hundred moments to, to celebrate. And when you think about saying, you know, a blessing for every, you know, every piece of, bit of food that you eat, and again, you know, the different things that you go through the day hitting a hundred, actually, isn’t that hard. Um, but the underlying message is that these are moments worth celebrating that I going back to Lee Horton, you know, he, he said, just having an onion to cook with was a miracle. And I don’t know that a lot of people think about that. They like, Oh, well, thanks. I’m so glad I had that onion ready, but they don’t think of it as a miracle. But when you hear him talking, you know, he means it. He means it sitting, standing in line at the DMV was a joy, a real joy being with friends, having time like it. I think that faith gives us the recognition that these are moments that are definitely worth celebrating, not for weeks and weeks. Again, they’re small moments, but there’s still good ones. And I also think that faith puts boundaries around the big moments. Yes, there are big moments and they’re worth celebrating, but, uh, it, it reminds us that there has to be a beginning and an end to even those celebrations that you have to move on if for no other reason than to make room for the next celebration. The next thing.

Doug Johnson (30:23):

It it’s a lot of people get, they’ll get caught up in their one success. And then, you know, when the next thing comes is not a success, then they’re disappointed. And then it starts to spiral down and they can never move on because again, they just, they went, Oh, that was my big shot on it. I had my big deal. And that was it. And nothing else, you know, it’s, it’s a lot of what Christiana does talks about being, you know, again, the same thing that you’re saying gratitude for everything being grateful, uh, it, there’s a, in everything give thanks, uh, is in the new Testament and just, it’s hard to do, uh, you know, rejoice always pray constantly in everything. Give, thanks for this is the will of God for you through Christ. Jesus. All right. That’s what you’re talking about. Yours is a little, a little more systematic and that’s, I kind of, I like the idea of actually building some of those reminders into place. Like when you get up and doing that. And I, I may add this to my, uh, my, my list of things that I’m taking away from this, but yeah,

Leon Adato (31:23):

I will make sure that there are in the show notes, there’s a link to the English, uh, English version of those. Because they really are. I mean, some of them are, are interesting. Like, you know, thank you God for giving the rooster, the, the understanding that it needs to crow in the morning, which is really saying thank you for, for putting boundaries on the day. Thank you for creating natural rhythms to the day that helped me fit into those rhythms. And I think especially after the last year that we’ve had where the running gag is, time has no meaning. I don’t know what day it is. I don’t know what you know. Well, yeah, but the rooster still knows to crow in the morning to wake everyone up. Like there’s thank you for putting those structures in place.

Doug Johnson (32:05):

Of course, when I had chickens, we would pick which roosters to put in the pot based on how early they got up. So.

Leon Adato (32:13):

That’s just natural selection.

Doug Johnson (32:17):

The one rooster we had at the end, he’d get up around noon, light a cigarette and go, [coughing], but Oh well. In any case.

Leon Adato (32:30):

Um, just, uh, you know, in terms of, yeah, those sell it, making room for celebrations and otherwise you get caught up in the last thing and it wasn’t as big as the, the other thing Elizabeth Gilbert gave a Ted talk a few years ago now, after she’d written eat, pray, love, and the pressure was on for her to write something else. And they said, well, you know, what, if it’s not as successful as eat, pray love. And she has this whole wonderful Ted talk again, it’ll be in the show notes that talks about inspiration and that pressure and the idea that, you know, somehow if, if you don’t continue to build on, it has to be bigger and better than before. No, I’m sorry, but it can be the same as before it can be smaller than before and still be worth celebrating, still be worth the joy that it brings.

Doug Johnson (33:14):

Oh, I mean, think about it for being an author. I mean, just any author, most authors that you love have maybe one or two books that were like really great. And then they’ve got, and then you find out they’ve got a whole back catalog that you didn’t even know about. Um, that’s just, and, and some of them are good. Some of them are not so good, but it’s, you know, but the fact is they put their rear in the chair and they went ahead and pounded out the words. And as you say, it’s worth celebrating the fact that they’ve got that they were able to go out and accomplish that it’s an accomplishment, even if it wasn’t death of a salesman,

Leon Adato (33:51):

Right. Or yeah, a New York time bestseller. And the other part about that, and Doug, you know, you’re a writer, I’m a writer. Like we know that, you know, that even the things that were best-sellers may not have been the writing that they personally loved the most, or they personally derive the most satisfaction from it. And one of the best questions I hear people ask authors is no, no, no, I know which of your books I love, but which of which of your works do you love? That’s, you know, when they talk about the writing, that was the hardest to do. And when it finally came out, it was, it was good, but it was such, it was such an effort that when it came out, it was that much greater for it. You know, those are the things, again, the, the moments that are worth celebrating most may not be the biggest along the way. And so I transitioning to the tech side, right? That’s that’s the faith side, but the tech side, I like to think that I try to bring some of that into my technical it sensibilities that when something goes, well, I know that I need to stop and celebrate that that no matter how big or small, you know, I was thinking about the line from, uh, the TV show, Bosom Buddies, and now we do the dance of joy because, and it’s goofy. And, and my family will tell you, cause I work from home and of course it’s been 2020. So it’s been this nightmare hellscape pandemic, but okay. You know, that, there’s a lot of moments when I come running downstairs and I am literally unintelligible. I’m just like, [unintelligible noise example], and my wife is like, good for you, honey. And I go running back upstairs to try to do the next thing, whatever it is. And you know, you’ve got to take a minute to, to just recognize that, um, the other piece that I think I, I get from all of this, that big successes, you know, those, those, again, the book, the, the major program, the launch of the new piece of software, the whatever it is, those are big moments that were comprised of small achievable moments of joy that simply added up, not necessarily sequentially either. You know, it’s not about getting, you know, winning the trifecta or whatever it is. It was just, you know, enough things went right in a row or, you know, at a time to allow this thing to happen. Um, and I’ll, I’ll finish this thought just to mention that right now, I am actually programming something, which is not my natural state of being. And I will continue to remind people that I am not a coder or a dev or a programmer. I am be like a script kitty is probably the most complimentary thing you can say, no one will ever weep with joy at the beauty of my code. In fact, the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about something that I programmed was, well, it ran right, which for litter, because that’s how I feel right now. Like the default state of everything I code is not working. So when something works, when a variable actually is the thing that I wanted it to be, when the page loads, when, you know, I get a number at the end of it, that I was actually expecting, it really is a cause for celebration for me. And it is deeply humbling, but it’s also a reminder that, you know, these, these celebratory moments, these, these moments are really tied up into small things. Not necessarily, you know, again, as I framed it at the beginning long stretches of, you know, soul crushing depression, punctuated by a brief moment of joy. I think the moments of joy are in there. And I think that it’s up to us to, to recognize them and find them rather than just expect them to sort of beat us over the head or, Oh, that wasn’t big enough that couldn’t possibly be settled celebratory again, going to the bathroom worth celebrating. Trust me, anybody who’s ever had gallbladder surgery knows worth celebrating.

Doug Johnson (37:46):

Oh yeah. But yeah, I mean all kinds of how to and, and life hacks in that really say, you need to go ahead and give yourself positive reinforcement. So it’s not, as I said at the beginning, it’s not my default state. Uh, one of the things I’m getting, just having this conversation is it’s going to remind me to go ahead and try and give myself kudos for the small things along the way when I’m working on stuff, because you know, it can get depressing when you’re working on something and big pieces of it don’t work. But when you get that little thing that does, it’s like, it’s hard to remember. You’re going, okay, good. Now I can move on to the next, as opposed to taking that moment to go ahead and say, woo, maybe I’ll get, maybe I’ll do a little glitter.

Leon Adato (38:31):

The other piece I’ll add, there’s a, another writer who said that, you know, basically I think of as a monkey, you know, I’m just a little monkey who needs a lot of rewards. And, the best work I do is in a café where every time I write a good piece of script, I, I will buy myself a cookie every single time. It’s not good for my waist, very good for my output because I I’m so excited for the next thing, the other piece. And I just, I, you know, we’re in the lightning round. So you know, that my last thought is that the same writer said, um, I like to write the fun parts first. I have an idea. This is a, a script writer. And they said, um, I have an image of the high points, the big moments in this script. And I’m so excited about it, that I write it first. A lot of people will tell you, you have to write the story from start to finish. No, I write the most exciting, the most compelling, the most interesting moments first, because then I have this beautiful scene and I’ve got to get there. I have to get the audience from the start of the story, to these moments. And these moments are so exciting that I have to make the whole rest of their journey worth it to get there. So again, by looking forward to the celebration, by looking forward to the thing that I’m already excited about, I make the rest of the journey, which could be again, long stretch of soul crushing depression. No, it is. I’m building up to this great moment and I have to make every moment before worth the journey. So that’s another piece of it. Anything that you want to leave everyone with for this episode.

Doug Johnson (40:03):

Don’t be like me. I’m depressed most of the time. Be happy. Do glitter.

Leon Adato (40:08):

Do glitter. Don’t do drugs. Do glitter that I love it. Yeah. Don’t don’t eat the glitter.

Doug Johnson (40:15):

No, don’t eat the glitter. Definitely do not. No, it’s not. It will not take care of your COVID

Leon Adato (40:21):

No, or anything else. Really? It’s not roughage. It won’t, your didactic. Your digestive tract will not. Thank you or me.

Doug Johnson (40:28):

Although, well, you never know. It might sparkle when it hits the water. Nevermind.

Leon Adato (40:33):

Okay.

Outtro (40:35):

Thanks for making time for us this week, to hear more of technically religious visit our website, technically religious.com, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect with us on social media.

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