I am a software developer, just like you. Most days are a struggle, both on a professional and personal level.
Every time I think I’ve figured out a technology, I identify significant shortcomings that make me want to find something else. After happening again and again, it gets so tiring.
Having worked for many years in the industry, you’d think I’d feel like I know a lot more. It’s the opposite, and I never felt I knew so little. Every new tool I learn uncovers multiple others that I’m sure I’ll also have to master. Back-end server technology that I’m most comfortable with is changing so quickly. And the front-end of today is vastly different from the one I last worked with many, many years ago.
To some extent I know this is all an illusion. Just a trick of a mind that’s identified things that it didn’t know existed before. That doesn’t make it any less exhausting.
But I’ll try to reorient myself to look for solutions rather than problems. I’ll try to learn a technology for what it can do, rather than for what it is. I’ll try to do more with less.
With such limited time in our short lives, why do we occupy ourselves in these ways?
By learning a technology we’re learning how to control a machine. That machine can do amazing things, unimaginable 15 years ago. Eventually the machine has an impact on a human, directly or indirectly. Through technology we seek to have an impact on others. Use this power to bring your values to the world.
Does a shopkeeper also want to do good work? Does a barber seek to do the best for his customer? I hope so. Our choice is technology. To some extent, we’ve traded in the physical world for that of ideas. But those ideas have power, and can reach far beyond the shopkeeper’s till or barber’s razor.
We can’t ever hope to know everything. What would such vast knowledge do for our sense of wonder? Just like the author might focus on only the next chapter, paragraph, or word, the next tiny problem is all you need to solve. If you don’t think your problem is tiny, how could you break it in two?
In this way we can accomplish things beyond our imagination. In this way we can overcome our fears and do something truly meaningful. That is, to master ourselves.
I spent weeks thinking about writing an article. Then I started writing it and decided it wasn’t exciting enough. I crossed the world to give myself a break. Maybe then I’d be ready to write it? I spent thousands on useless distractions, but still I was not ready. I realised I will never be ready. The perfect desk setup, the perfect environment, or the perfect diet could never be enough to motivate me to write that article.
Yet, it will be written! In all my miserable laziness, despite days off and dilemmas, I will complete it one bite at a time. The alternative would be to give up on a dream, and ultimately on myself.
Trust yourself. Believe in your power. Make decisions, knowing that even if they’re not the best, you’ll still learn something priceless. Do work that you’re proud of. Don’t make crap you don’t believe in for someone else. Bring your vision to the world. It’s waiting for you.