Fear

No matter how much I think I know what I’m doing, I think I’m always going to be on some unpredictable path. I think things are always going to be crazy. Actually, I’m sure of it.

I’m not the kind of person who likes to think things through (or that far ahead at all). I didn’t consult anyone else when I adopted my dog. In fact, it was against Tiff’s recommendation (she was in South Africa at the time so I decided for us). I quit my stable but crappy job after moving to Boston so that I could work for one month with a startup that might keep me if I did well. I pretty much moved to California within ten days of making a decision to move with no savings (thank you credit cards). I learned how to ride a moped, and within the awesome experience of ONE WHOLE HOUR, almost lost my life and crashed on a tight turn at about 50 miles an hour from overconfidence.

In my defense, I’ve experienced more than a ton of people I know (still not saying much, living a quarter century in the same place, but still!) My dog is one of the best parts of my life, and that risky job move is what led me to a great job + the adventure of relocating to California. =3

It’s pretty insane. Two of my best friends who I consult a lot with are polar opposites. They “do the math” and take the path that ensures success. I think that Tiff would be the same, but I think she’s okay with my reckless decisions that may concern her because we’re going through it together.

The point is that I’m always scared. Always. I actually do my best at work when there’s some kind of pressure. With that said, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that fear promotes progress. Another aspect of my fear is that the worst case scenario, my rock bottom, has some pretty favorable terms to other people. To most people I know, moving back home is rock bottom. To me, it’s not being able to support myself and my family.

While fear drives me, it also holds me back and I can’t understand why. Well, I do know why, the worst part is that the fear holds me back when it comes down to making an actual decision. I think that it’d be great if I were to write a technical book on my favorite programming language, Go. I also think that it’d be awesome if I were to record my music. The fear of peoples’ perception is what’s holding me back. I have all this experience and drive that is being masked by fear.

While I sit here, yet again procrastinating, spending almost all of my free time trying to prove to employers that I’m worth their investment as a Software Developer, I’m listening to Anik Khan on Spotify, a Bengali born, New York native rapper who had just released a FIREEE album, Kites. Decided to look him up. Guess how old he is? Freaking 27 man (note, I turned 27 this past April).

So now I’m thinking, with all of this time that I had learning and programming and investing my youth into my career, what do I have to show for it? Rejection letters from people who can see my passion but can’t give me a chance because they very understandably need heavy hitters who are proven. Side projects that are great but not enough. Just nothing substantial.

At one point in his earlier twenties, Anik literally did nothing but music. He legit would leave the house with five bucks in his pocket and feed on dollar slices of pizzas, meeting people and going to shows. This guy now has an album + a mountain of recognition and momentum… And me?

I said a few days ago to a friend who was contemplating a risky decision, “Being normal is bullshit. Being scared is bullshit. Just do it, man.” I think I’m gonna remember to take my advice more often… We’ll see.

I hope that this reflection reminds people to keep their fear in check. It should drive you more than it holds you back.