the Broken Window Paradigm


I may not have consciously thought of broken windows, at least not as deeply until after reading The Pragmatic Programmer  by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas. The authors explained that you should never leave any ‘broken window’ in your [written] computer programs because, though that ‘window’ might seem insignificant now but it only lays a foundation for greater problems. How did they know?

Research has shown that in neighborhood that have degradation living (ghettos, projects,), it all started with one broken window. When there is a broken window, others around see it and get the picture that no one cares, from there, graffiti are drawn on walls, the cost to fix amounts, the authorities put it off, until, from one broken window, to several broken windows, and a broken living environment.

I thought of this on a deeper level. In my life, I’ve meet people who might not be beneficial to one’s life but, continue to have them around hoping things will normalize (a broken window) until gradual these people who seemed as minor threat become a major drag on one’s life. Or, in one’s personal life, one develops a poor habit and refuses to tackle it while still a ‘one broken window’. Over time, the habit grows and drags down one’s personalities. I’m sure we can think of varying broken windows that we’ve left unattended that eventually take over.

I’m looking towards taking a broken window paradigm. Examine situations and see if they are causing me any present detriment; if they are, fix it. If unfix-able, replace. I’m hoping this paradigm will lead me towards leading a more simplified life, and maximize the best of me towards impacting [positively] the lives of others.

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By Dele

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