Emotional Hit & Run

The Beach Story

Imagine this:

You live in an underground city and you’ve heard about a beautiful beach on the surface.

There are thousands of elevators to take you there. They are slow and fit only one person but they are Express Elevators to where everyone wants to go. 

You see thousands of people riding them and you hear enchanting stories from that paradise.

But, there’s a slight problem.

Some people are afraid of riding elevators under those conditions, so every time they want to get to the surface and take the elevator, they start hyperventilating, the heartbeat races, and the hands get sweaty. They start overthinking what would happen if the elevator breaks and they get stuck or what happens if the destination is not as good as people say. In short, their own fear sabotages the situation and in the middle of the ride, they press the panic button, which takes them back to the bottom immediately.

They perform the same scene over and over again for years, not being able to reach their desired destination.

“The Hulk” Alter Ego

Whenever Bruce Banner from Marvel Comics gets angry (…or like me: “hangry”), he turns into a massive green irrational muscle man. This is a XXI Century form of the English story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

In both stories, there’s a catalyst that turns the character into a darker version of himself. Anger is the trigger in the case of Banner, and a potion in the case of Jekyll. 

Those darker versions of ourselves do not necessarily reflect only mad or violent alter egos, they can also be subdued, despondent, over-jealous and needy versions. 

As we mentioned in the story of the elevators above, some circumstances trigger reactions within ourselves that transform us into lesser versions of the rational capable humans that we can be. But, more on this in a second.

The “Emotional Hit & Run”

Through personal experience, it seems that something within me gets triggered when I start to create feelings for a romantic partner. When that blurry line gets crossed, a part of me that is unable to rationalize the situation gets awaken and it starts to hurt the other person with indifference.

I always loved traveling. The promise of discovering new lands and people from different walks of life to interact with gets me high on life. And a few years ago, I was lucky to adopt a Digital Nomad Lifestyle, which basically means traveling the world, working online and chilling. All at the same time.

So, why is this relevant?

A few days ago, after realizing that that dark version within me got triggered again (a.k.a: “Hulk Alter Ego: Activated!”), I decided to look in hindsight to find potential patterns that could show some clues of this behavior.

The research showed that in a period of 10 years, there were at least 8 situations that fit two categories:

1) I got into a passionate deep loving relationship and… I waited for her to move away and then I pretended nothing happened.

2) I got into a passionate deep loving relationship and… I moved away and then I pretended nothing happened.

I call this “Emotional Hit & Run”.

Yes, I know. “What a piece of $!@#%.”. This is exactly what I thought about the guy in the mirror when I realized the patterns. Hurting people emotionally is as bad (or worst) than physically.

Our Values vs Our Biology

The American Author T. Robbins talks about Moving-Towards Values and Moving-Away-From Values. The first ones refer to principles or emotions that a person is intensely attracted to (Unconditional Love, Adventure, Playfulness, Security, etc). The latter ones refer to emotions that we want to avoid like the plague (Any sort of Fear, Stagnation, Rejection, Anger, Loneliness, Failure, Humiliation, etc).

Having our own values clearly defined in each category is great. The problem arises when they conflict between each other. Let’s analyze a few silly examples:

“I aim to become physically fit (Moving-Towards: Health), but… I get frustrated after one month in the gym (Moving-Away-From: Frustration).”

I love traveling (Moving-Towards: Adventure) but I hate to leave the comfort of my bed (Moving-Away-From: Discomfort).”

Neurobiology Intermission

Specifically, let’s talk about the amygdala, a key player of our limbic system and responsible for detecting threat, which ultimately means helping to keep us alive.

This almond shape portion of our brain is the first checkpoint when any stimuli is received. Base on past experiences, the amygdala dictates what is a threat or not. So, let’s say you were bitten by a puppy when you were a kid. Most likely the puppy was being playful and wasn’t aware of his own canine strength, but your amygdala categorized that event as an attack perpetrated by a beast and stored it for future reference.

Years later, when you see a puppy 10 feet away approaching straight towards you, something inside urges you to cross the street to avoid it. When you’re asked why you cannot find a logical explanation for it.

Now, let’s get back to our Values talk. When there are two dichotomous values competing with each other, one from the Moving-Towards category and the other one from the Moving-Away-From categories, I can tell you from personal experience that chances are that the one that is more aligned with your biology (that means, the one that the amygdala advocates for) will tilt the balance in its favor.

So let’s say you desire Unconditional Love and at the same time, you fear to be vulnerable. Which one do you think will win the match?

Beginning to Re-Write our inner programming

It would be great to tell you that I deciphered how to re-write our mental and emotional behaviors to live a healthier life in mind and body, but honestly, I keep repeating unhealthy patterns over and over again.

Now, what I can really share with you are some techniques that I found along my journey. Probably they can help you take back the reins of your inner programming, too. So, here we go:

Journaling and Pattern Identification

Do you recall what you had for dinner on Tuesday three weeks ago? If your answer is “No” (like mine), then we need to start taking notes in a journal, but not any kind of journal, but something that author Jim Collins calls the Bug Book.

The Bug Book represents a form of journaling where we study ourselves as if we were bugs. Taking notes with dispassionate objectivity about the likes/dislikes of our bug.

Practicing it for just two weeks will reveal behavioral patterns that we may not have been aware of in the past.

Asking people for Raw/Honest Feedback

First and foremost, lots of crying (on our side) may happen when applying this approach, because truth hurts and that’s ok.

Now, think about a two or three people that you look up to. …Do you have them? Ok, now ask them to provide you raw/honest feedback about yourself in specific situations. The more unbiased and objective the feedback, the better. Most likely, you’ll discover other patterns that were out of your sight.

Controlled Fear Exposure

Seeking out adrenaline-rushing experiences like bungee jump, rollercoasters or skydiving place us in situations where, even though our biology experiences fear, our conscious mind knows that it’s all under control.

The question is, what if we could simulate situations where, under safe conditions, we could practice facing our fears?

Every human has specific fears that oppress and limit his/her personal growth. But, technology and mental strategies are handy weapons in the battle inside of our skulls.

A few examples to spark ideas on how to promote controlled fear exposure:

  • Ovation or VirtualSpeech, Virtual Reality Training Apps for people with Glossophobia (fear of Public Speaking).
  • Rejection Therapy, by Jia Jiang (TED Talk). In summary, for 100 straight days he put himself in situations where most probably he was going to receive some form of rejection. Basically, he deliberately sought out situations to face his fear of rejection. The outcome was something that no one ever imagined 🙂

Remember: Truths may hurt but facing fears empowers us.

This article presents topics from neuroscience, mental health, technology, consciousness, behavioral therapy and even Marvel Comics. None of that is relevant unless we become aware of our inner mental processes, how they limit or empower us and how they affect positively/negatively our environment.

Only through introspection, we can identify “The Beach”, what triggers “The Hulk” inside of us, and take ownership of the changes that we desire to implement.

So, what is it that awakens your Alter Ego and sabotages your own Dreams?

Keep on learning, and discovering yourself.

Got feedback? Please leave a comment below or let me know at juanjose.ruescas@gmail.com.

Cinturones en DevOps – ¿cuál es el tuyo?

(Este artículo corresponde a la serie dedicada a DevOps)

Así que decidiste poner en práctica la filosofía DevOps. ¡Genial! ¿Pero…por dónde empezar? Thinking Face on Apple iOS 11.3

(Si tu respuesta es: “utilicemos Docker!” , buen intento pero…¡Docker NO ES DEVOPS!Oncoming Fist on Apple ).

Bueno, volviendo al tema, este post te brindará un mapa y compás para saber por dónde empezar y cuales son los pasos a seguir para convertirte en un cinturón negro en DevOps.

Continue reading “Cinturones en DevOps – ¿cuál es el tuyo?”

Continuous Delivery: Partos Sin Dolor

El presentar al mundo nuestras creaciones puede ser uno de nuestros más grandes temores. Publicar una canción, postear una foto en Instagram, poner en linea un Sitio Web o incluso publicar un Blog Post (como este), están cargados de una sentimiento que mezcla temor y expectación simultáneamente.

En el caso de la tecnología, y en específico del Software, los que tenemos el privilegio de trabajar en este arte experimentamos esa sensación en cada ocasión que “nuestros bebés van a salir al mundo”, ó en otras palabras, cuando colocamos nuestro Software en Producción!

Y preguntarás: “Pero JJ, cómo lidiar con esto?”…..¡Qué bueno que preguntas! :). La filosofía DevOps tiene algunos secretos para minimizar el dolor de este “parto”.

Pausa para entender la Jerga DevOps

Product Release = Hacer pública de la versión más reciente de un producto (obviamente, en Producción).

Deployment = Instalar, testear y configurar el producto en un ambiente, por ejemplo: Desarrollo o Pre-Producción. Un Deployment puede realizase incluso a Producción, sin hacerlo visible para el público hasta el momento del Product Release.


  • “Dale, hagamos el Deployment de la versión 2.0.3 a Producción.”
  • “El Deployment del Release 2.0.3. fue un éxito!” (Sí, con un poco de esfuerzo, esas palabras saldrá de tu boca con frecuencia 🙂  )

Ya que tenemos las cosas claras, prosigamos:

Estos son algunos de los síntomas de un Product Release doloroso:

  • Releases poco frecuentes
    • Cuando mencioné “partos”, hablaba figurativamente!. No quiere decir que tienes que esperar 9 meses para tener Releases.Baby on Google Android 9.0
    • Menos de 4 Releases por año es un pecado.
  • Deployments Manuales
    • Los humanos no están hechos para realizar tareas repetitivas. Punto.
    • Tener a un humano copiando/pegando manualmente una App en Producción tiene un riesgo altísimo, especialmente si es alguien que está cansado o distraído (o hambriento! #trueStory).
  • Bugs encontrados en Producción inmediatamente luego del Release.
    • Solo puedo preguntar: “Y….qué pasó con el testeo?” Lady Beetle on Apple iOS 11.3Lady Beetle on Apple iOS 11.3Lady Beetle on Apple iOS 11.3
  • Dev Box: el Ambiente de Pruebas
    • Me dices que el testing fue realizado en las máquinas de los Desarrolladores?Desktop Computer on WhatsApp 2.17 Estas consciente de que ese “ambiente” tiene el mismo grado de higiene que un toilet público en un concierto? Toilet on Apple iOS 11.3
  • Viernes de Release
    • Release en Viernes por la noche …por si algo sale mal“. ¿Realmente tienes tan poca confianza en tu deployment (el cual ya debería estar automatizado) como para darte 30+ horas por si “algo sale mal”?

Si algo duele, hazlo más frecuentemente.

Cuando Martin Fowler dice “Si algo duele, hazlo más frecuentemente1 , se refiere a la búsqueda continua de los estresores que aportan al progreso. Ejemplo de la vida no-digital:

  • Después de un mes de inactividad física, volver a entrenar en el gimnasio causará dolor muscular intenso, el mismo que será reducido considerablemente al mantener una frecuencia de entrenamiento regular.Flexed Biceps on Apple iOS 6.0
  • Al aprender la parte complicada de una canción en guitarra o piano, nuestras neuronas son expuestas a un estrés que, mientras más veces sea repetido – de manera enfocadaDirect Hit on Samsung Experience 9.5– , hará la tarea más sencilla hasta lograr dominarla.Musical Notes on Apple iOS 11.3

A pesar de sonar contraproducente, estas son pruebas tangibles de los beneficios de desafiar nuestros temores e incomodidades frecuentemente. Y, mientras más lo hacemos, más confianza en nosotros mismos tenemos, por ende, pasamos del temor a la curiosidad por saber qué más somos capaces de lograr.

La mentalidad de Continuous Delivery permite a empresas como Amazon ejecutar Releases cada 11.6 segundos. Tal vez tu no requieras realizar deployments a esa velocidad, pero definitivamente quieres utilizar Continuous Delivery para para automatizar aquello que te causa dolor y así evitar problemas y horas extras en el día del Release.

Consejos para lograr Continuous Delivery

Planifica Releases frecuentes

  • La cadencia recomendable de los Releases es entre 2 semanas a 2 meses. Coincidentemente es lo recomendado por Metodologías Ágiles – Principio #3Winking Face on Apple iOS 11.3
  • Si la organización de tu Equipo de Desarrollo está en base a Historias de Usuario y estas no caben en un Sprint, tienes dos alternativas:
  1. Haz tus historias más pequeñas. Siempre hay forma de reducirlas.
  2. Utiliza la técnica de Dark Launch para ocultar funcionalidad que no esta lista.

Automatiza el Deployment al 100%

  • La instalación de Apps – especialmente si es algo tan sencillo como copiar/pegar archivos -, su configuración y verificación deben ser completamente automatizados.
  • No existe una sola herramienta que cubra las necesidades particulares de cada App, pero sí existen bastantes lenguajes de Scripting que te ayudarán a personalizar el Deployment según tus necesidades. Ej: Python, PowerShell, Ruby, etc.

Ejecuta Tests antes del Deployment

  • El proceso automatizado de Deployment (CD Pipeline) es como el muchacho de las pizzasMotor Scooter on Apple iOS 11.3Pizza on Apple iOS 11.3. Si los cocineros preparan una pizza gourmet, el muchacho la entregará rápidamente. Si los cocineros preparan Pile of Poo on Apple iOS 11.3, el muchacho la entregará…rápidamente Confused Face on Apple .
  • No olvides que un Continuous Delivery exitoso va de la mano de Continuous Testing cuando las pruebas están automatizadas.

Utiliza “Placeholders” en tus archivos de configuración.

  • Supongamos que planeas realizar el deployment de un Website, lo más probable es que este contenga un archivo web.config. Puesto que ya sigues la filosofía DevOps y la comunicación entre tus Devs y Ops es fluida, puedes coordinar con ambos equipos para tener “Placeholders” como el de este ejemplo:
    <connectionString Server=”{APP-SERVER}” Database=”{APP-DB}”> 
  • Donde {APP-SERVER} {APP-DB} son los Placeholders que serán reemplazados con valores propios para los Ambientes donde dicho Website vivirá.

Crea un Ambiente de Testing o PreProduccion

  • Ten por lo menos un ambiente sanitizado de Testing o PreProduccion que es una mini-versión de Producción.
  • Como ya tienes tu deployment automatizado y además utilizas Placeholders para personalizar configuración por Ambiente, hacer el deployment en ambientes es pan comido.

Nadie se salva de empezar con Releases dolorosos, esta una especie de de “Bautismo de Fuego”. Siendo así, recuerda que desde el momento que los humanos dominamos al fuegoFire on Apple iOS 11.3, nuestra evolución fue para arriba Rocket on Apple .

Cuál es tu experiencia con Deployments y Releases? Que otras sugerencias tienes?

Deja tu comentario y hagamos que más personas se beneficien.

Keep on learning…and Delivering!

#mayArtOfMemory – Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of #mayArtOfMemory!

On Week 1 and Week 2, I covered the essential knowledge to understand how memory works and techniques to improve it. On Week 3, what initially was just theoretical information becomes tangible through actual practice.

This post summarizes a very useful memory technique, a gadget and tips to make info stick, the outlier of this week and an actual memory training course. Enjoy it!!

Continue reading “#mayArtOfMemory – Week 3”

#mayArtOfMemory – Week 2

Hi all! Welcome to the summary of #mayArtOfMemory – Week2.

In Week1 we covered a 10,000 feet overview of what is considered memory and how it works. This time, we go hands-on training and things get fun. We’ll cover two mnemonic techniques, an inspiring story, and memory gadgets. “In the first place”2, let’s review the Memory Palace.

Continue reading “#mayArtOfMemory – Week 2”

#aprilDrawing – Summary

Trying to summarize art would be naive. Nevertheless, naiveté is what ignites our curiosity. Therefore, let me try to do my best explaining what drawing is and some keys to get you started with it 🙂

Month: April 2018

Theme: Learn to draw

Mission: Acquire drawing fundamental concepts and train the basic skills to draw from observation of daily life.

You can follow the progress of each week here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3. You can also follow daily updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the tag #aprilDrawing. Continue reading “#aprilDrawing – Summary”

Drawing – Week #3

#aprilDrawing is getting way more fun in Week #3. Learning to draw from photographs and shading are the covered areas this time.

Don’t miss the progress of April’s challenge in Week #1 and Week #2.

Drawing from photographs

Do you remember last week when I said that drawing still life was the most challenging thing that I have done?…well, I was wrong. Drawing from photographs is the new most challenging one (ha!). Continue reading “Drawing – Week #3”