Wow! It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog post. Twenty-six months and two days to be exact, but who’s counting?!
These last few years I’ve worked hard, played hard and spun my wheels. Many people I know who own their own business, working for themselves, often fall into the whole “the shoemaker’s children are barefoot” situation. This is a gentler, laugh-it-off way of saying “I’m too busy taking care of the needs of others to take care of those near and dear to me.” Or, “I’m overcommitted and unable to invest any time in personal development or focused business growth.” That all changed for me late last year, and now here I am… Baffled, Bewildered and Enraptured!
My business is successful. Every day I get to serve many amazing clients, putting my creative and problem-solving skills to work. I’m blessed with more work than I can even manage at times. Any given day I’m pushing pixels, tweaking timelines or wielding web code like a Braveheart-sized sword. Even with all this fun, fulfilling work, I probably grew a little too comfortable and predictable. I love a challenge. I love adventure. I forgot what it felt like doing something that didn’t come easy to me – until last week.
In what my wife might tell you is another one of my quarter-life crises or something, I applied to the School of Rockfish. It sounded like an amazing, awesome opportunity… for a recent college graduate. But for a 43 year old who owns his own business and has a wife and 3 boys ages 10, 8 and 2? That might be a stretch. Oh well, I went for it. And it’s been an amazing 7 days so far in the program. The last real coding I’ve done was in a C-based language at American Airlines in 1999. But, I love using that side of my brain and owning my nerdiness.
I’ve enjoyed working with some amazing people in the first school of Rockfish and finally learning some Objective-C and Xcode (Apple’s IDE for building iOS apps). I’ve paid the yearly subscription and had an Apple developer license since the iPhone came out in 2007, but the shoemaker-syndrome has been in effect and I never even installed the SDK.
I know a whole lot more now than 7 days ago. I’ve also become painfully aware of how much more I don’t know. I think we can get so good at doing what we do, we take it for granted. We also fail to get out of our comfort zone and learn new things and be daring. Since downloading and reading the free ebook ‘The Flinch’ by Julien Smith, life has gotten more exciting for me. I’ve taken his challenges to heart. I’ve stopped being so safe all the time and have purposely begun doing things I’d never normally do.
I don’t know where all this is going yet, but this latest little excursion has been fascinating and fun. Now before I get back to reading my new Objective-C book that just arrived via UPS from Amazon… I’ll close with some amazing words I just read at the end of Part I:
Don’t Stop (taken from the end of Part I of Objective-C Programming by Aaron Hillegass)
At this point, you’ve probably dealt with several frustrations: installation problems, typos, and lots of new vocabulary. And maybe nothing you’ve done so far makes any sense. That is completely normal.
As I write this, my son Otto is six. Otto is baffled several times a day. He is constantly trying to absorb knowledge that doesn’t fit into his existing mental scaffolding. Bafflement happens so frequently, that it doesn’t really bother him. He never stops to wonder, “Why is this so confusing? Should I throw this book away?”
As we get older, we are baffled much less often – not because we know everything, but because we tend to steer away from things that leave us bewildered. For example, reading a book on history is quite pleasant because we get nuggets of knowledge that we can hang from our existing mental scaffolding. This is easy learning.
Learning a new language is an example of difficult learning. You know that there are millions of people who work in that language effortlessly, but it seems incredibly strange and awkward in your mouth. And when people speak it to you, you are often flummoxed.
Learning to program a computer is also difficult learning. You will be baffled from time to time – especially here at the beginning. This is fine. In fact, it’s kind of cool. It is a little like being six again.
Stick with this book; I promise that the bewilderment will cease before you get to the final page.
And now for Part II…