A podcast listener posed a question this week about motivation which made me think about the tools we need to use in order to stick to our self-study goals.
Last entry, entitled Getting Back Up, I wrote about how I fell off my self-study program for a month. I attributed it to a project at work which cost me two weeks. But this question made me realize why didn’t I get back up sooner – why did it take me a month when the interruption was only two weeks.
This question made me realize that the interruption has broken my motivation.
To answer this question of “how do I stay motivated” I needed to think of why I started this in the first place. I wanted to learn Modern Artificial Intelligence techniques utilizing Python and learn it from first principles. But more importantly – I realize that AI techniques such as Deep Learning and Machine Learning are becoming essential in systems development. And to be honest – I do not have that skill set in my utility belt.
This puts me at the cross street between a fierce ambition to learn and a confrontation of a weakness. This is where you need to be. The ambition needs to push you forward as you acknowledge in a humble and ego less way that you need to get to work.
Computer Science self-study is not easy and its going to knock you on your ass. There is much written about Imposter Syndrome. When we look at others, and their githubs, we incorrectly think these meta-humans are producing these perfect products when we are really not seeing the daily struggle behind the scenes – the thousand failures before that one success.
This self-study should not be easy, should be thought of as a struggle, and it demands a fierce commitment to self improvement. I’ve heard Brian Johnson say, “We’re not sidestepping lizards en route to our destiny. We’re battling dragons.”
To me this helps frame the answer to the question that on our impossible quest we are slaying dragons and this uncomfortable feelings are part of the process of strength building.
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Keep slaying dragons!