Skip to content
Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Don't say yes when you're happy

This is a story of how I got spread thin like butter on too much toast, as Bilbo Baggins would say.

It starts on the flight back from Boston in December. My friend asks "Hey, so I've got this project that's almost finished, and my guy can't work on it anymore. It's just a little polish to wrap up. Would you be interested in helping me out?"

I gave my usual weasel-out-of-this answer. Errr I dunno man I'm pretty busy there's a lot going on not sure I can help you with this. Maybe.

You never say No. Learned that from the general Silicon Valley culture. Everything's a maybe. Keep your options open.

He asked me again a few weeks later.

This time, I was chilling. Solving Advent of Code puzzles, thinking about projects I might do in 2018, getting ready for some holiday downtime. Felt like I had all the time in the world.

So I said, “Yes, I'll help you out. Let's talk in January after the holidays.”

Aaaaaaand crap. January comes, life gets back to normal, things kick back into high gear, and guess who doesn't really have as much time as he thought.

2YTSQ3k

Now, here I am, spread thin like butter over too much toast.

Guess it's just one of those lessons you always learn the hard way again and again and again and then some more. It never really sinks in.

When agreeing to projects and ideas, consider your mental state and how it differs from the usual. You're more likely to say Yes to things when you're happy, and you're very likely to think you'll always have time if you currently have time.

Or as a popular meme once put it 👇

22 year old me after a night out of drinking 3050859

P.S.: The project is never "quick" or "just some polish". Never.

Did you enjoy this article?

Published on January 17th, 2018 in Business, Freelancing, Learning, Opinions, Personal, Side Projects

Learned something new?
Want to become a high value JavaScript expert?

Here's how it works 👇

Leave your email and I'll send you an Interactive Modern JavaScript Cheatsheet 📖right away. After that you'll get thoughtfully written emails every week about React, JavaScript, and your career. Lessons learned over my 20 years in the industry working with companies ranging from tiny startups to Fortune5 behemoths.

Start with an interactive cheatsheet 📖

Then get thoughtful letters 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career.

"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only email I open from marketers and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

~ Ashish Kumar

Join over 10,000 engineers just like you already improving their careers with my letters, workshops, courses, and talks. ✌️

Have a burning question that you think I can answer? I don't have all of the answers, but I have some! Hit me up on twitter or book a 30min ama for in-depth help.

Ready to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own?  Learn how to build scalable dataviz components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, modern backend for the frontend engineer.

Ready to learn how it all fits together and build a modern webapp from scratch? Learn how to launch a webapp and make your first 💰 on the side with ServerlessReact.Dev

Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️