Lately I’m having tinnitus more often than not. Today seems like a normal, constant, sound of my life. What’s even more worrying is that I can’t fix it.
A doctor goes through many phases to understand and cure a patient. First of all he guess, based on the information the patient gave him, and, if possible, the data he can check directly.
Then he checks upon his guesses. And there’s the magic.
It either goes well or not.
You always have to wait, test, retry if it fails.
The title is misleading, I’m not talking about self-help, but more of a business oriented application of the “Don’t be scared of changing” rule.
Right now with my company we’re finding some issues with our shipment partner. Not easy to integrate with, some orders are a mess, so all in all, there’s something missing.
At first I wanted to stay with them, to fix all the issues and so on, but then I remember about our labels.
Yes, the labels we stick onto the packaging. We first printed them in a local shop, great quality, high price.
It took them months to find an alternative, and we found it, better price and even better quality.
Sadly the quality declined after a couple of months, which led us to find another company.
It’s ok to change. Even though some relationships with the people you meet along the way might be worth keeping, it’s still ok to change.
Because change allow you to move faster if you make the right decisions.
The key is always to change when you’re not happy with something and you can’t find a viable solution, that will always work out good.
One thing I’m quite sure of is that we’re not all created equals, we have different goals, and often our skills are defined by our talent, or what we decide to follow as our main passion.
Thus it’s normal to see that after a few decades in this world, the outcomes and the personalities of each person are quite different.
In my job it as a web developer I happen to see some ind of people. From the slow learner, to the fast learner, from the slow performing to the fast performing, from the lazy to the active, and from the empathic to the non-empatic.
These are simply labels, tags as you might call them, a mix of the can be easily found in each one of us.
I think that we tend too associate one tag to a win-all situation, while in fact what happens in real life is that some people might be great performers even if they’re slow. It’s all about the context and the setup.
One thing though, that I like to imagine like “one of the best assets” is the ability to understand pressure. Know when it’s fine, know what are the stakes and push it if needed.
It’s a borderline that cannot be easily defined, and the reason why is that we might include too much things into the important “do it now” tasks, rarely though they’re that much.
At the end of the day it’s all about using or wasting time.
The right priorities make the good player, not only the skills or label.
Given that, everyone can be a good performer.
You had an idea that seemed good, you followed your instincts and decided to build a product, make it out of nothing.
You refined that idea, till you put it on the market and one person doesn’t like it.
It might be the start of a more expanded opinion, or it might be a single opinion in the crowd, it’s hard to say.
So why even worry until you understand how real is that opinion?
I have a friend that’s really stressed, overwhelmed.
Today I asked where does his stress comes from.
I would expect to be a boss that is too hard on him, or maybe too much work, but after some time listening to the possible answers I realized: Stress is part of our inner narrative.
Yes, there are times when this can be justified, but it always start with that.
A story in our head.
What is the purpose of work? Is it to improve lifes, to make a change? To pay the bills?
I’d say the last, although when work can be more it’s absolutely beneficial.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. It’s ok if work is boring as long as it pays the bills.
We often forget it, because now we feel entitled to do extremely good work, but all the world is sustained upon boring work. In fact, it’s thanks to the boring works that some fields of expertise can experiment and be creative. Without the boring part, it wouldn’t be possible.
It’s a chain, and not always we’re lucky enough to be in the part of the chain that’s interesting. More often than not we end up doing boring, repeating, work. But without us the entire chain would make no sense.
I once felt entitled to do only interesting work, and felt like a slave when I was doing boring work.
I realized (maybe a little bit too late), that it was selfish, and I embraced the fact that, although I have powers and control over what work I do, doing boring work is still a great thing to do, because fixing bugs will still be a key role in each project.
I never regret this change, because now I have more chances than ever to not do boring work, and when I do (and I do it often) the boring part, it’s always a pleasure and a joy to do it, because I realize that I can enjoy the creative work thanks to that.
I’m an avid reader of hacker news, a place where developer and techies come together to discuss, confront, and show off, about tech topics of the most various genre.
It’s a great community, aside from the fact that many of the projects backed by ycombinator are, obviously, startups.
I’m not a big fan of startups, I very much prefer the boostrapped businesses, because of their sustainability.
Yet lately some people came to me to ask if they could invest into my company.
It’s temptin, you know? Getting “free” money to do whatever you want.
But what does it really means? It’s not going to be free, you’ll be working for someone, you’ll be negotiating terms wiith other people, which might or might not be a good thing.
But most of all, your goal won’t be to please your customers, but to please your investor.
Yes, I know, I’m exaggerating, and I’m sure that it’s not black or white, yet I don’t feel I could be suited for this. In the exact moment someone puts the money in the system ; I “owe” him/her something, and I cannot hide this thought.
It’s like when you get a free product, it’s hard to leave a negative review.
That is the hidden price you pay.
Asking a favor is such a simple thing. In real life you would head to the person and ask it, if it’s a small favor.
If it’s a critical favor, one you depend on, you usually need to add a lot more context, to explain why is this important and how it’ll change your life.
Without it is like asking to have sex with a girl you’ve never saw. Chances are it’ll end up with a no.
But if you do add context, the result might change.
Askina favor on the internet isn’t much more different, the main difference is that the medium is faster. You can ask it anytime, anywhere, instantly.
It’s slippery, because we ask critical favor like simple ones, forgetting about the context.
And chances are, you’ll end up getting a no.
A dear friend of mine decided to work less, as I did many years ago. Not because of status, but for his own sake.
Working less means making space, defining priorities in life, stepping back from what’s not important.
It requires courage, because staying in the game is much more comfortable than stepping back, because if you stay in the game you can continue the way you did. Stepping back instead requires you to shift the mentality, to change the way you work.
Stepping back isn’t about working less nor it’s about caring less. In fact, it’s about caring more without becoming a slave in the system.
In these times everything demands our attention, our time. Stepping back means deciding that we are the one that put a price tag on our time, not the other way round.
At first it’s hard, but slowly it might show you a different take on this world.
There is a limit to what we can do, to the quality we can achieve. Passed that limit, we’re useless, but we aren’t able to notice.
If you’re entrepreneur it happens all the day. You receive an email from a customer at 8pm. What are you gonna do? Reply?
Even reading it is a decision that’ll impact your life.
But how important is that email? Chances are it’s not critical. So why even bother replying so fast?
Stepping back means not even taking this chance, because your life is much more important than this.