Technical Playground


When I was 7 or 8, my daycare program had us go to the local pool for swimming lessons. And diving lessons. And I stunk at both. I remember standing on the low springboard – and couldn’t make myself jump in. I was too afraid – too worried that I’d get hurt, that I couldn’t swim to the side. Of course, completely unable to realize if there was any sort of problem that a bunch of people would be on me in a heartbeat.

I’ve been running into a weird feeling lately of fear – not fear of specifics, but almost a fear of doing. Somewhat a feeling of guilt, but also just plain fear of spending time on certain projects. I’ve been fighting with pinball ideas for a long time now, and finally I believe I have all the parts needed to test a remote serial port for a pinball machine. It feels like stupidly low hanging fruit, yet for some reason I’m afraid to try it. Is it that it won’t work? I don’t think I’d care that much as I have other ideas that I’m even more certain will work.

Is it a fear of “wasting time?” Perhaps – I do have an infant daughter that I adore and want to be there for as much as possible. Not to mention making sure my wife doesn’t go insane trying to find time for sleep, getting things done, etc. But I also know that in order to continue to be a good parent, I need to grow. And unless I do projects / tinker / etc, I won’t grow. I could stay stagnant, probably even for a few years, and continue to have work. I wouldn’t be happy, and eventually the time would come that my skills were out of date. I need to make sure I try new ideas, new areas, etc. If nothing else so that I instill that feeling in my daughter – the feeling of curiosity – the feeling of making, of getting something accomplished.

And yet, I fear something. Nothing consequential – nothing real, but yet I hesitate. We’re talking about maybe 2-3 hrs to see if something works – I can waste that on a movie without even realizing it. What use it watching something inane when I could have something that could accomplish a feat a lot of people would think was cool. Hell, even if that weren’t the case, does it even matter? I don’t practice jiu-jitsu to be “the first” – I practice it to be better for myself. Maybe it’s more like jiu-jitsu than I imagine – there have been many moves I’ve learned so far that I was scared of. Too many things that I’ve paused over for fear of hurting someone and possibly getting hurt myself. But eventually I get to the point where it’s routine and I don’t even think about it when I do it.

Been listening to various Startup oriented podcasts lately and the topic comes up on occasion of what if you could only work 2-3 hrs a day on something. What would you do? Could you still be successful? Or more importantly, what’s the minimum that you have to do to be successful? So why the heck aren’t you doing it?

I have to sit and ask myself “why the heck aren’t you doing this?” – I’ve always regretted not jumping off that springboard – I don’t want to keep regretting delaying growth either…