I recently presented an LJC (London Java Community) Lightning Talk on “Managing Yourself”, by being Stoic.

The focus was “how you” manage yourself in a given situation. Not a sunny morning, when Jenkins is all green (happy day).

But when things are not going quite so well.

This approach is not new, with roots in Stoicism, Greek philosophy and Roman history.

You cannot control everything around you.

This is the reality of things, and may seem quite obvious. I understand I cannot change the weather (discounting putting chemicals in the clouds to make it rain).

But I wish there had been a Uni lecture on this (back in the day).

Because tech is becoming more complex, and more is being asked of individuals.

But you can control how you respond (and manage) “in” a situation which is (going) awry.

Being Stoic does not mean internalising everything, or not showing emotion. I vent to trusted friends, and they do the same to me.

For me, being Stoic means the following:

  • Do your best to not respond in the wrong way, in a full-on situation.

Do your best, is the key. You are an individual, and you have every right to be frustrated, in a certain (type of) situation.

But responding in the wrong way does not represent your cause in the right way.

  • Be organised and prepared. So energy can be spent on challenging tasks.
  • Remind yourself to listen to others.
  • Know when to be quiet, and when to ensure you are being heard.
  • Don’t get drawn into negative, or gossip conversations.

The final two points are about working with positive, creative, driven people, limiting negativity, but also challenging yourself:

  • Limit the time you spend with negative types, who don’t want to improve the real-estate.
  • Make sure you challenge yourself when presenting ideas, testing the water, or inviting feedback. Invite people who are not necessarily part of your regular group. See what they think?


I write things down. I doodle, draw, design. Both Personally, and for my Career.

I keep Post-It notes by my bed, and if I wake up in the night, I can record my ideas, creative thoughts, plans, or rationale.

Writing things down allows me to express myself. How am I feeling, or what led me to a view or decision?

I also write to decompress, giving myself the opportunity to put my thoughts on paper, adding context, and offloading stuff.

A great way of untangling ideas, and joining the dots.

Perceptions and Perspective

How you perceive a situation, depends on a range of things:

Fatigue, being too focussed (not seeing the bigger picture), or the opposite, not seeing the intrinsic detail.

Perceptions and perspective feed into how you respond (in a given situation). If you are shattered, wait until the next day before having a discussion. Be aware of how others are feeling. You may not be aware of the bigger picture.

Know when to step back.

But it’s important that your voice (views) is heard.

Responding in the right way (at the appropriate time) gives you the best chance of being heard.

The Managing Yourself (Lightning Talk) PDF is here.