With a cup of oily cold press coffee beside me, and more classes than I felt comfortable taking, I imagined myself a year later. I’ve just always wished myself along, a bit further down the journey… Older and wiser, classier and with more taste. It speaks to the idea of “divine discontent” or the interesting truth that being uncomfortable with where you are helps propel you into developing your skills further.
Be real with where you’re at, and don’t try to skip steps.
But occasionally I recognize that it takes a strong mind to really take a hard look at yourself and where you are and be O.K. with it. Hard work & Time is what it will take to propel you to the next step, and no steps should be skipped along the way. This is important. Recently I read the book Mastery by Robert Greene and he emphasizes the fact that time is the secret ingredient to mastering any skill, and to overlook this fact is to buy into the magical thinking that so many people in our culture hopefully subscribe to.
I still wish I was further, but there will always be further.
For me coding and visually designing for the web has been a bit of a journey so far. And to be honest, I’d still love to be farther than I am now, so that driving discontent is still there, but I want to take every step along the way deliberately and at an appropriate pace. I’ve found that the further I am along the particular journey I’m on, the more I feel as though it’s ok that there’s a long ways to go. For programming (and many evolving fields) the journey is likely infinite for our lifetimes as technologies and techniques keep evolving and changing, and the motto is evolve or die.
The right kind of fear can fuel you.
A healthy dose of fear won’t kill you, it should drive you to your best work yet on your next project. – Tweet this – I’ve found this always needs to be balanced with consideration for others; occasionally I’ll find a bit of fear driving me to be unneccessarily self absorbed in a situation where I need to be thinking about others. So in that case I just need to recognize it, and allow my thoughts of others to grow, even if just for practical reasons and not altruistic ones. I find that when I’m self-obsessing it can get in the way of my creativity and the freshness of my ideas.
Our culture has an obsession with shortcuts, and it’s true when appropriate ways to stay efficient will help us do better work it makes sense to use them, but some things such as full mastery of a craft simply take hard work and time. Do you feel like our culture has an obsession with skipping the hard work… Or no? Let me know in the comments or Tweet at me, at twitter.com/timbdesignmpls.