November 24, 2022

My definition of success

One thing I wanted to be very clear about when I embarked on my journey to finally learn how to code was my definition of success. Not knowing how a good outcome would look like only results in disappointment and loss of motivation. Great ambitions are worthless if you don’t manage to keep the ball rolling.

My definition of success is of such small scale that the only way for me to fail is to stop working.

Here it is:

  1. The project must launch
  2. One person’s life must be improved
  3. One Euro must be made

Because I believe in my ability to bring my projects to a point where these three aspects are true, my motivation stays strong and I know that success (defined by myself, not by external sources) is around the corner. Stoins launched, improved the lives of a couple of friends and made a couple of Euros. I consider this a huge success. For now. I’ll update my definition of success when the context changes.

Aiming too high creates brittle motivation.

November 18, 2022

Just go “aah!” Hardcore!

My best work happens when a certain kind of relaxed determinism converges with methodic productivity.

If you work long enough in software you’ll meet people who think that success is the result of brute forcing through everything. Work needs to be fast, sleep needs to be less, overtime doesn’t exist because why would you want to do anything but work.

Busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy.

That’s not how life works. That might very well be how certain moments in life lead to a certain form of success, but t’s not a scalable solution to a successful and happy life.

Let’s take action. I’m a big believer in having just a maniacal sense of urgency. So if you can do it after this meeting, I would do it after this meeting. Just a maniacal sense of urgency. Like, if you want to get stuff done, maniacal sense of urgency. Just go “aah!” Hardcore!

Inside Elon Musk’s first meeting with Twitter employees

Some people succeed by being loud and hectic.They shroud themselves in an aura of ever increasing urgency and hustle because – and that’s only my interpretation – they lack the skills to do deep work. They don’t understand that this different way of working even exists. If you seem like you’re busy and confident you must be doing something right.

The unfortunate truth is that people who do the actual work have to pick up the shards of those who rumbled and bumbled through life, breaking things on their way. This brand of workaholism is not cool anymore. It’s just another symptom of toxic alpha male energy nobody needs.

I’ve been blinded by people like this in my early years working. Now I understand that toxic hustle is nothing but a mating dance between somebody and their own ego. It’s not impressive or cool. It’s just clownish behaviour. Everybody is allowed to be a clown. As long as they don’t hurt others by being one.

The most recent episode of ATP has a segment on workaholism culture that’s worth listening to. They go a little more into depth on how a culture like this is detrimental to your health and even to the quality of your work.

November 16, 2022

Manufactured motivation and perfectionism

The hardest thing about learning to code is when my ingrained software-design-perfectionism clashes with what I’m able to do. Stoins is going great. I’d say it’s an above average app for somebody who just started coding. Yet I can’t wrap my head around the solutions to some of the problems I’m facing and I struggle with accepting flaws that are solely there because I’m not good enough yet.

Everything works, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not as good as I know it could be. I think a better understanding of concurrency could solve one of the problems. Perhaps a second problem would go away with more knowledge about threads. Oh and something, something state machines? I just don’t understand any of it enough to solve my app’s bugs.

Here’s the thing though: Motivation doesn’t come and go by some magical whim of fate. Motivation is something you create. I know that my motivation is heavily influenced by progress. I tried fixing these issues for so long without getting anywhere that I’m at a point where I need to accept that those are flaws I need to live with. It’s my second self-coded app ever, of course it has problems.

I’m sure my next project will teach me some of the things I need to learn to come back to Stoins and fix it. A cycle of learning through manufactured motivation and not giving in to perfectionism.