5 min read
A little bit of life advice to myself for future reference: Follow your dreams. Living your life is about getting up in the morning and doing what you love. It could be art, music, or photography. It’s got nothing to do with what you call yourself, or what your lifestyle’s like. It’s all about the shit that you have to work on, and accomplish every single day. That’s what matters, because that’s how you get somewhere. So No excuses the next time you’re not feeling great – feeling lonely, sad, whatever it may be – just get the fuck up and do something.
If you’re concerned with chasing the lifestyle, trying to take on the persona and gain the trappings, you’re missing the point. You’ll never make anything worthwhile, because making something isn’t even on your radar. The irony of being completely focused on being, rather than doing, is that without doing – you’ll never be anything. You’ll always be looking for the one big thing that will get you there, the one big shot that can allow you to finally stop and enjoy yourself. But it’s never going to happen. If you keep chasing that feeling of the ticking box, and becoming someone, there will never be an end to it. You have to chase the doing, because that’s where you’ll find satisfaction and fulfillment.
When you listen to people, who say “I’ve always dreamed about being a Programmer.” They never say they’ve always dreamed of programming. I think that’s a pretty important difference. If they really gave a shit about programming, they’d be out there every day and night, programming until their eyes ache. Joining Code Groups, finding Programmers next door, watching YouTube videos, working their ass out. But they’re not. They’re waiting for someone to make them into Programmers. They don’t want to do something.
You can see this behavior in a lot of other areas, with a lot of other people. They don’t want to find a company. They want to be founders. They don’t want to create art. They want to be artists. They don’t want to spend hours coding until their eyes ache. They want to be Programmers.
Not with that attitude!
You’ve got to get out there and give it your absolute fucking best. Turn off Netflix. Turn off Twitter. All you need to do is get in there and keep fighting. Whatever you do, don’t give in to those feelings. The work itself is important, it’s crucially important. It’s not just something that has to be ticked out in order to justify the way you present yourself, or the way you want to feel. It’s not there to give your lifestyle a reason. The work is everything that matters. You have to make good art. Write good stuffs. Build good shit. If you don’t, if all you’re doing is paying lip service to your own ego, people will notice. The world will notice.
Sometimes you’ve got to listen to the voice in your head that tells you to just keep going. When you’re feeling down, and there are a million voices telling you to give up – sometimes you need to listen to the one voice that’s telling you to get out there, and kick some ass.
When you tell everyone that you are something, you are someone, they expect to see some proof. Nobody will listen to me, if I didn’t spend hours every day hammering out my keyboard, working on my blog and communicating with my readers. It’s the work that makes people sit up and take notice, not your bio or your introduction. If you want anyone to take you seriously, you have to earn their respect, it isn’t just handed out; You have to earn it. You earn it by doing things that matter, and working on projects that matter and putting in the effort every single day. It’s the only way to earn it.
You know that deep down, even though you’re tired, you’re capable of a lot more. Give yourself some credit. Push your limits. If you’re not struggling to advance, you’re falling into the abyss. When you look at the work instead, and you spend your time trying to make it the best it can be, that’s when you have the chance to make a discovery. To experience your own Eureka moment. The work I do: programming – writing – designing – speaking. But me? I prefer to think of myself as a student, before anything else. I’m here to learn. We all are.
If you want to make it, you’re going to waste your time trying to hit an impossible goal, and quite probably relying on a series of gatekeepers in order to get there. You won’t find happiness down the road, just a series of increasingly tough disappointments. If you want to actually do something, you’re going to find a great deal more satisfaction. There’s so many opportunities to do what you love, when you’re not worried about who you’re trying to be, or what lifestyle you think you should have.
You can get out there, and make something happen. Focusing on the doing, not the being. And that’s the better path. Now get out there, and be awesome.
PS: If you read this far, you might want to follow me on github, or subscribe below for updates (I'll email you new essays when I publish them).