all throughout my childhood i was brought up with the expectation of being perfect. study hard, get perfect scores on tests, get perfect grades, and be the perfect little boy. i think that my mom had a large role in shaping my perceptions, expectations, and beliefs.
and for a long, long time i think that’s how i lived my life. i tried to be perfect in every way that i could imagine. i worked hard to get to where i was and i thought that i had finally figured out what the perfect life was to be. it wasn’t until after i started working and started living in the real world that i started to realize what life was all about.
for a while it was all about the rat race. work hard, make money, get by. it seemed like a content enough life for me and i was reasonably happy then. i guess i had a pretty limited view of what life had in store for me.
but things got shaken up and i went through some big life changing events. i started to realize that there was more to life than just work. there’s more to life than playing it safe and avoiding anything that could potentially cause hardship in your life. without risk, there’s no reward. i realized that i had to start getting out there and start proactively seeking life instead of just reacting to it.
sure, i’ve made more mistakes with this newfound lifestyle, but i feel that i’ve grown quite a bit as a result. i’ve experienced more things in the last five years than i had in the previous twenty. some were painful lessons to be learned, some were amazing highs to be felt. but i wonder if i could have learned as much as i have in the past without going through some of those hardships and making those mistakes.
i think this applies to all aspects of your life. even as a programmer, i’ve made some pretty bad mistakes in how to do my job, but as a result, i will never make them again. i’ve definitely learned from my mistakes. could i have gained the same knowledge without making those mistakes? maybe. but i think the best way that one learns something is when they can apply the knowledge that they have gained to something practical.
it’s much like that scene in days of thunder when tom cruise thinks that if he drives all crazy fast, without regards to his car’s tires that he’ll get the best time. his coach forced him to drive the track his way and then the coach’s way to compare which way would come out better. turns out the coach was right and good old tom learned his lesson and changed his ways.