The 3 most important things when trying something new
What do you mean it's weird for a man in his mid 20's to quote a kid's cartoon? While that quote may be obvious at first glance, there's a bit of profoundness to it if you dig deeper. (Bonus points if someone can comment what show the quote is from).
I am not a writer and I never imagined myself writing my thoughts down in a public forum. However, I've always enjoyed sharing my thoughts with others (just ask my co-workers). For the past 3 years I've used writing to self-reflect and I attribute some of my personal growth to writing. So if I I've been writing for myself, why is it that writing a public blog seemed so far fetched?
I want to share my experience and what I think are the most important things when trying something new.
Perfection is a fallacy
Perpetually researching a new topic is perhaps the most common thing that happens to me. Hell, even minor things like buying a new chair end up becoming hours of research. It's called paralysis by analysis.
It's very easy to slip into the fallacy that things must be perfect before moving forward. There is a special beauty in failure and practical experience is one of the best teachers you can have. If we let go of the fear that what we are doing may lead to failure, we free ourselves up to do more than we think we are capable. More on that later.
There is a balance between thinking and acting. Without any thinking, we may not be using due diligence. But without acting, well, there's nothing; we're paralyzed. If we don't do, our ideas end up living in our heads forever. What fun is that? In software and entrepreneurship, I’ve had better luck getting ideas out into the world quickly rather than shooting for perfection in the first round.
Also, it's so much more fun this way.
Special note to people in the medical field. Please ignore everything I just said about trial and error.
If your environment does not support you trying new things, there's a very low chance that it will be enjoyable. How can we feel comfortable failing our environment doesn't allow for it?
Remember the term "try hard " in Middle School and High School? Looking back, it's crazy how prone we are to shaming others for trying their best. While this may be an extreme and immature example, it is a sad reality that others may not necessarily want the best for us. Whether it's a defense mechanism, apathy, or even malice, I don't think it matters. What matters is how it affects us.
There's a wide gap between discouragement and encouragement. The middle is neutral; you are neither discouraged or encouraged in your attempts to try something new. It's important to recognize what sort of environment we need. Even if no one is discouraging our efforts, it's always nice to have someone in your corner that you can go to from time to time for support and advice.
To the best of our abilities, we should put ourselves in an environment that is going to nourish our goals and ambitions. That may be changing jobs, spending time with the right friends, or even finding a Meetup with like-minded people. I know people succeed despite their environment, but there is always merit in improving our environment. Instead of fighting against our environment, our environment can become something that fights for us.
We can be our own worst enemies. We can make up problems that don't exist without realizing it. I call these thoughts and intrusions our "gremlins". They are tiny little thoughts in our subconscious that make us malfunction when we want to try new things.
The thing about gremlins is that they live nowhere else but in our own heads. It is unfortunate how many experiences we stop ourselves from having because of fear of failure or embarrassment. These blocks and fears are different for all of us, but what most of us have in common is that we probably have them.
One of the most important lessons I've learned is to try to be aware of these thoughts. Going back to the importance of environment, I truly believe that a driving factor for helping me let go of these thoughts has been the culture at my workplace. It's very difficult to pest control the gremlins if our environment justifies their existence.
This blog post may or may not be the start to a new hobby or habit. Much like in many other areas of my life, the best thing to do is start. Writing it took me way too long and probably has quite a few errors, but I won't know what I'll get out of it until I do it. I may consider this a failure in the future, but maybe that's the gremlins talking. Who knows?