It is the middle of the night. Everyone is asleep. And I just spent ten minutes laying on the concrete floor in the backyard of our house in Palo Alto. Just looking at the stars.
It felt surprisingly fitting.
tl;dr --> Always seeing ways to improve things and knowing you'll never get to improve them ... sucks.
I read on some blog once that the marked difference between humans and entrepreneurs is that when a normal person sees something that's a bit off, that doesn't work, or just isn't quite There. They shrug and work around it. They might even complain a little. Let out a curse word or two. But otherwise pretty much get on with their life.
An entrepreneur, on the other hand, will go "Hmm, I think I can fix that".
What happens when almost every thing you touch is suboptimal? When whatever you happen to be doing, feels like it could be done better? What then?
In a couple of months I will be 24 years old. I will not have solved any significant problem. I've seen many, but I simply won't have solved any. The thing with time and aging is that you can only do so much. You have to pick. Even if you see many things that need to be improved; and you can fix a small subset of them. You still have to pick.
Time is a bitch like that.
I can swallow the fact that because I have Better Things (tm) to do I will likely never go to all the best parties, see all the best clubs and go to all the best concerts. I will never get to wake up with my head in Janis Joplin's lap. I will [likely] never have quite solved that information overload problem I was working on that one time ...
There is a popular saying on 4chan "Regret nothing. At one point it was exactly what you wanted."
A brilliant quote to keep us reminded that life is pretty much at our mercy. Not the other way around.
Then again, what if "it" isn't exactly what you wanted? Maybe it's just the most achievable option. Or it might be a bitter step on your path to what you want etc. Maybe you had ten options and simply had to pick one. Or maybe you're just a farmer somewhere in Africa and no matter what you want, circumstance has made the choices for you.
I'm raising a lot of questions here ... the point I'm getting at is that having a sort of entrepreneurial mindset can be/is a total drag. Always seeing ways to improve things and knowing you'll never get to improve them ... sucks.
- For Entrepreneurs, There's a Fine Line Between Good and Bad (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- Seven Types of Entrepreneurs, Seven Sins of Entrepreneurship (icemanbaldy.com)
- The Curse Of The Entrepreneur (owengreaves.com)
- Young tech millionaires keeping 1-bedroom lifestyle (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open 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. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️