Be cordial or be on your way.
Be gentle with yourself.
Inspire. Stay inspired.
Never stop learning.
Take breaks often.
–Kenneth Reitz (software engineer, photographer, and about a million other things)
While at work, I came across this guy’s website through an article he published. I was just reading it to try to fix a bug in my code. During my daily ritual of closing many hoarded browser tabs at the day’s end, I noticed his site was still open in a tab. I also noticed its name–kennethreitz.org. I got interested when I realized it was just one guy’s personal site: he was willing to put the effort in to help others overcome problems he must have come across himself.
That website’s actually really amazing, and if you dig deep enough into it, you’ll probably start to like this guy. He’s a great writer, an accomplished software engineer, and a skilled photographer; plus he makes good music on top of all that. It’s kind of crazy. He doesn’t seem to have the easiest life either. Relative skill aside (he’s definitely better at those things), we have the hobbies in common.
I don’t know how he finds the time to do all that well, but if I were to add anything to the ideas he collected above, it would be that you’re also good at more than one thing. You’re probably good at a lot of things.
In the old days, mathematicians were also philosophers and scientists and statesmen. Some of the greatest minds dabbled (and succeeded) in a lot of things.
In my lifetime I’ve heard a lot of people underestimate their potential outside of whatever they’re interested in. Programmers who “can’t write.” Students in the humanities who “can’t do math.” We’ve all heard something like that. When people make such a remark, the implication is generally that they’ll never be good at thing x.
I think it’s important to try those things that scare you, though. About 12 years ago, I was loath to pick up an instrument. Now I’ve been playing the guitar for… wow. 12 years. About two years ago, I had no confidence in my ability to program. I gave it a couple more shots. Now I’ve made a website (I don’t mean this one), I’m helping to build an entire online community, and I want to program for a living.
You never know where life will take you if you try something new.