Ever since Eve tempted Adam to eat that forbidden apple, the world was haunted by the seven perpetual vices / sins and ever since then, there has been a constant battle between the good and the evil. The path of goodness and self righteousness is difficult and repulsive, where as the evil forces appear so very lucrative and tantalizing to our senses.
Well, the seven ever lasting evil forces have come to haunt the lives of web developers and designers too. Talking strictly about the profession, the evil forces of Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride and Wrath aims to corrupt the minds of web designers and developers, and tempt them to lose focus and succumb to dark and sinful world.
As it is said that knowledge is power, so understanding these seven sins and analyzing how silently they are creeping inside the psyche of developers and designers will provide them strength, and guard themselves against these 7 forces of the devil. All of these forces and their effects on the bare human soul are discussed in detail, below.
Acedia / Sloth
Imagine a scenario, where five frogs are sitting on bunch of logs. 4 out of the 5 decides to jump off in the lake. So how many are left now? 1? Sadly no… all 5 are left because there is a difference between deciding and doing!
Sloth or in its more deeper form – Acedia, is the factor which does not allow the developer / designer to bridge the gap between “decisions” and “actions.”
Procrastination is the evil, any management Guru will warn you to protect yourself from. Mostly we all procrastinate, especially over the long and cumbersome task, no amount of inner motivation is enough to drive us to complete a colossal task and each time we sit down to complete it, there is one thing or the other which acts as a potent excuse to not to do it.
Sloth and Acedia are marked with inner restlessness and inability to adequately perform a task. A person often seeks pleasures over pain and gives excuses to validate the same. But after a time there is no joy in the pleasures as well, as the developer is constantly nagged by the inner guilt of neglecting his or her duty. One of the greatest tragic Heroes of Shakespeare literature – Hamlet, has been viewed to be a victim of sloth and Acedia and that inner indecisiveness. The effect was clear, a highly potential man, ended up doing little.
Yes it can be quite a tumultuous task, dealing with the creativity and inspiration to work, but it is no excuse to cause delay in the work of the clients.
As designers and developers, we have to meet deadlines and be up to the mark, all the time, every time. One of the easiest way to fight procrastination is to divide the long cumbersome task into various smaller sections, and take up each section separately. Work on a specific schedule, and fix certain specific hours solely for working.
Remember – discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm and hence creativity is no excuse to not to work.
It is a common proverb that our sorrows don’t make us as sad as much as the happiness of others. In the same way, the failure to design a specific design may not worry us as much as a contemporary producing magnificent design. The moment you start becoming bitter about other’s fabulous designs and starts finding little flaws, and just to cast a pall over other’s beautiful and astonishing creation, or wish to just obtain it no matter what, or just destroy it so that no one remains in possession of it, This is the time when you should realize the evil forces of Envy have possessed your heart – mind – soul!
One of the classic example of a tragic hero suffering from Envy can be seen in Shakespeare’s Othello where the protagonist ends up killing his own beautiful bride Desdemona, driven by the overwhelming envy and complex about his inferior looks.
The thing here to be remembered is that as an individual we are unique and though millions of people flock the earth, we were created because we can do something the other millions could not. Instead of letting envy cast a pall on our beautiful mind, let us open our heart and be pragmatic. The thing to be remembered is everyone in this world is better than someone else, and not as good as the other. And though some people are born lucky / talented, there is no substitute to hard work.
Gluttony is the act of over indulging in consumption, beyond the point of normal acceptance levels, which leads to disease of body and soul and make the person dysfunctional.
Although it is a personal choice for a person to eat as much as he / she may wish, a designer suffer from gluttony in the form of over indulging in the designs and wanting it all. At times a designer can be swayed with his inner compulsion to use each and every feature in the website and it could be hard for him to resist from moderation and drawing that fine line between perfection and going over the board.
Gluttony is different from envy, as envy seeks to snatch away a beautiful design from the owner but Gluttony is deals with using an excess of features and functionalities in the design, much beyond the level of human comprehension.
The key to fighting gluttony is moderation. Separate the requirements of the website in two categories – the bare essentials and the little extra. Essential features are a prerequisite to build a complete website and little extra may be the additional benefits accompanying the essentials. The technical knowledge of the website owners also plays a decisive role in it. If the other person is a technical expert himself and can deal with the hardcore features and functionalities, go for it, otherwise keep it simple and elegant.
Being selfish comes naturally to a human. An excessive form of selfishness can be viewed as greed. Greed has a starking correlation and connection with gluttony. Though gluttony corresponds to excess of and over indulgence in substances, Greed corresponds to the innate desire to acquire more and more money and related monetary benefits.
However talking specifically about greed, the web designer suffer from greed in two ways. Greed is nothing but an excess desire for power and money.
In the first case, the designer tries to maximize his profits, by charging his clients, way beyond the normal levels. He may cite various features, attributes and try to negotiate the price for the project, but somewhere the major motivation behind taking up or rejecting the project will be money, and not the quality of work experience.
Another manifestation of greed can come in the form where the developer is charging nominal prices, but his greed drives him to take up too many projects in a single go. The developer end up exhausting his own self, working perseveringly on various projects at a single time, but ending up not doing a great deal of a job on either one of the projects.
Thus not only the health suffers, but even the creativity suffers badly. Wisdom lies in knowing that the ultimate richness is not contained in wanting more and more, but in wanting no more!
It is very stereo typical to think about the carnal desires each time someone mention about lust but from the perspective of the web designer, it could mean lusting over and fascinating about a particular design. It continues the criteria of “wanting in excess” a particular design. Where as envy may destroy the one holding the design or the design itself, lust may drive the person desperate enough to reproduce or copy the design.
Though it is good to get inspired from others and escalate the power of imagination, one must fight against the temptations of reproducing an already existing work, with a little changes.
The solution to lust is chastity. The inner force of patience and self control which helps a person shift his perspective to all that is good and calm and peaceful instead of what is fascinating beyond the level to which someone can take it.
A little self love is never a bad thing. In fact it is the most honest human expression and is required to lead a life of self reliance and high self respect. However the problem arises when a person fails to differentiate between self love and narcissism and in severe cases – Vanity.
Are you the designer who has problems in receiving feedback? Do you get considerably disturbed when you are not appreciated? Do you walk down the line with a subliminal superiority complex in your web design and development process? Well then, welcome to the highly self indulgent and self absorbed world of Vanity and pride.
An analogy with a fruitless tree can help us attain humility in place of pride and vanity. The branches of a fruitless and leaf less tree always points up high in the sky (resembling the raised chin of a highly proud person). But on the other hand, the branches of a green tree, bearing fruits and supporting life always bent down (showing humbleness). Thus if you are suffering from the excess of pride, be rest assure that with time you will wither out and become unproductive. And humility is the trait of a highly productive and fruitful person.
In the creative field, the emotions run amok and at times it is difficult to contain them inside. There may be creative differences within a team of web designers or developers, or some issues with the management. Besides, at times the clients can be really mean and keep on rejecting the working without citing any good enough reason. And then you may even find yourself sitting in front of the computer screen, and with all of your study books, looking out for an answer to fix a particular bug, or add a particular feature, yet failing each time to do the same.
Wrath is not just anger and annoyance but at times can take the form of vindication and revenge. If you are having a hard time controlling those abuses and slangs or raising up that middle finger, or smacking a tight fist on the desk, congratulations dear, you have been occupied by the demon called Wrath!
An ending note
This is an extension to whatever said above. Knowledge is not power, it is just potential power and what can actually transform it into actual power is working upon the same principles. The act of guarding oneself against the evil forces calls for an active and strong self control, will power and determination. We all slip at times, and it is only human to make mistakes. What matters is to not let frailty take a toll over insanity. Fighting the evil forces is not a one time affair, but calls for dedicated and devoted efforts all throughout the lives of people. In the end it can be summed up with the words of famous TV chat show host, Oprah Winfrey who says “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” Nothing is impossible, to the strong will and determination of a focused man.