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You’re Allowed to Break Your Own Advice, and You’re Allowed to Change Your Mind.

Josh Hadik
My day job is designing and developing websites, but in my off time, I like to build all kinds of things, including Ruby gems, iPhone apps, and Alexa skills.
・2 min read

In a community like this one (or any community), there’s a common fear people have that if they say something, the have to live it.

That if they go out of their way to give some sort of technical advice, they need to make sure they stick to that 100% in all their code across all their public repos.

That if they don’t, they’ll be labeled a hypocrite.

This is a lie.

You don’t need to follow your own advice 100% of the time, and you shouldn’t be afraid to share your opinion if you don’t.

I used to smoke, (and I might still indulge in the occasional cigarette.)

That doesn’t mean if someone asks me point blank if they should pick up smoking, I have to say yes. My answer would be no, of course they shouldn’t! It’s a bad habit that wastes your time, drains your bank account, makes you smell like garbage, and ruins your health.

I can say that even though I still smoke sometimes.

Same thing goes for giving technical advice. It’s ok to speak your mind even if you don’t always do what you say.

No one does.

This is programming for gods sake, most people don’t follow their own advice 90% of the time.

Never feel like you can’t share your opinion if you don’t always stick to it, and never feel obligated to always follow your advice just because you shared it!

Oh and another thing...

It’s ok to be wrong.

And it’s ok to change your mind.

Loads of people who used to preach DRY now preach WET.

And tons of people who used to be zealots about 100% test coverage now say its a waste of valuable time trying to test all those once-in-a-lifetime edge cases.

People learn. People change. People grow.

I hate to think that there’s some of you out there with unique, valuable thoughts, afraid to share them just because they don’t always stick to them, or because they’re not absolute experts on the subject.

If that sounds like you, I’m here to tell you that it’s ok! Communities like this thrive on different people with different levels of experience coming together and sharing their experiences and opinions.

So share your thoughts, no ones gonna judge you if you change your mind!

Discussion (2)

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Josh Hadik Author


Couldn't agree more.

I think the missing piece of the equation is transparency. Just be honest about where you're at. You can still talk about topics you're not an expert in, but there's a right way to go about it and a wrong way. Bring it up in a way that highlights your lack of experience, something like "I've only recently started using [tool x], but something that really stands out to me is..."

I think honesty is the line that separates the hypocrites from the rest.