Talking to Yourself Does NOT Mean You're "Crazy" (!); In Fact, It Can Be Very Helpfulby@seifsekalala

Talking to Yourself Does NOT Mean You're "Crazy" (!); In Fact, It Can Be Very Helpful

by Seif SekalalaJune 28th, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

HackerNoon is a weekly, offbeat look at the world through the eyes of one man. This week, the author talks about his work and personal life. He is a software developer, entrepreneur, mental-health advocate and writer. The author is also a graduate student at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia.
featured image - Talking to Yourself Does NOT Mean You're "Crazy" (!); In Fact, It Can Be Very Helpful
Seif Sekalala HackerNoon profile picture

1. What do you currently do and what’s your favorite part about it?

At the moment, I am in 3 or 4 professional work roles, which seem to blend rather neatly together, and with my personal life. Thus, I suppose I am in that Jeff Bezos-recommended situation by default; the roles seem to have evolved organically.

In a nutshell, I am:

  1. A professional (volunteer) software developer and project manager with a Code for Philly project,; I also code for leisure (Don’t judge me / yes, I’m somewhat of a nerd!)

  2. An entrepreneur with two long-term projects: i)--HigherEdX: an (East-African) international-student advisory service (old site; app-in-development: GitHub ), and ii)--a video-gaming and IT-services startup (called “A-OKAY”), based in Philadelphia-PA (USA), and East Africa.

  3. A mental-health advocate and graduate student, in training to be a licensed professional counselor at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia.

  4. A professional and leisure writer.

My favorite part about all those roles--combined--is related to that cliche about “doing what you love, thus never really working,” etc. All the above roles enable me to do work with which

i)--I help people, and

ii)--I earnestly use my brain--i.e., to learn, teach, and (try to) solve problems, etc.

2. How did you get started with your Tech Career?

For the most part, I am self-taught, having started dabbling in coding in 2016. Over time, I have also “fallen in love” with data science, and I completed a relevant bootcamp last December.

How or why it happened: honestly, mostly by accident, and as a result of un-, or under-employment, after my getting my Ph.D. in “Communication, Culture, and Media” at Drexel University. Overall, my analytical and STEM-loving nature seems to have bloomed during and after my doctoral studies.

3. If Utopia were a color what color do you think it’d be and why?

Blue, probably. Reason(s): why, because it’s oh-so-beautiful, of course (duh?)! I mean, have you seen that seemingly bright-blue sea water off the coast of Mombasa? Plus, look up on a clear, beautiful sunny day. What do you see? That’s right, blue and white Cumulonimbus clouds! 🙂

4. If everything about HackerNoon changed drastically, what is one detail you’d like to keep exactly the same?  OR What’s your favorite thing to do with HackerNoon and why?

I’m not sure, but I guess I would want to retain the unique and rich content. I get to learn so much, just by skimming through the articles delivered to my inbox! I love it.

5. Tell us more about the things you write/make/manage/build!


I write about communication and social science topics; e.g., via this book. In this particular book, my main argument is: communicating--especially, talking with oneself does not necessarily mean that the person is “crazy”! In fact, it tends to be very, very useful.

Random examples:

i) Mindful or metacognitive pause-points throughout the day--at work, at home, etc.: “Ok, Seif: breathe; relax.” Or “Hm…why did I come to the living room (probably to fetch a book, or your water bottle, etc.)?”

ii) For pilots alone in the cockpit, to ensure we’re following the checklist instructions (yes, I have a student pilot’s license! 🙂).

iii) And of course, rubber-duck debugging!

II--Project Management and Software-Development

I also help with project coordination, and I directly participate in the building of various web applications which help people. And in this process--of building/managing, I learn and teach, and I interact with folks from diverse backgrounds.

6. What’s your favorite thing about the internet?

The amazing wealth of information! We are so lucky nowadays to have all these resources at our disposal, and we don’t use them nearly as much as we should! Think about it: how often do you get into unnecessary arguments over any given fact(s) or concept with friends, yet all you have to is…yep, check with Prof. Google! Or better yet, nowadays, Prof. ChatGPT seems to be so popular--and for good reason; e.g.: example of Google vs. ChatGPT.

7. It’s an apocalypse of ‘walking dead’ proportions and you can only own a singular piece of technology, what would it be?

A swiss-army knife!

8. What is your least favorite thing about the internet?

There are many unsavory traits about the internet. Among others, “take your pick (!)”: rude behavior (trolling), glorification of violence, fake news, etc. And it seems to compel us to always want to be “in the loop,” to always be caught up with the latest trends, etc.

9. If you were given $10 million to invest in something today what would you invest in and why?

Some real estate properties, as well as a mixed portfolio of “blue-chip” mutual funds and ETFs. Reason: I believe those investments have a good probability of securing my financial future. And with that--a secure financial future, I would invest in evidence-based and sustainable philanthropic projects for health, education, and other areas of need! 🙂

10. What’s something you’re currently learning or excited to learn?

I have challenged myself to keep learning a grand total of nine languages--and I will add more in the future. For now, the nine languages in question are:

  1. French--fluency: intermediate;
  2. Swahili--fluency: beginner/intermediate;
  3. Mandarin--fluency: beginner;
  4. Arabic--fluency: beginner;
  5. German--fluency: beginner;
  6. Kinyarwanda--fluency: beginner;
  7. Spanish--fluency: beginner;
  8. Russian--fluency: beginner; and “last, but [certainly] not least,…”
  9. Hebrew--fluency: beginner.

I am also a native speaker of Luganda.

11. Would you rather travel 10 years into the past or 10 years into the future? Give reasons for your answer.

I am choosing “ten years into the Future.” Reason(s): at my current age, I have learned several bitter-medicine-type lessons. And 10 years from now, I will do my best to avoid repeating my mistakes!

The lead image for this article was generated by HackerNoon's AI Image Generator via the prompt "talking to yourself".