Wednesday, January 25, 2012


You're going to fuck it up. We both know that you have no idea what you're doing. Success is about coming up with a strategy that can tolerate what a colossal failure you are.

For instance, 'relentlessness' is a solid strategy for engineering. You will put the part in backwards and fry the whole circuit. It will teach you to design more resilient circuits and add fail safes. You will weld the part on upside down. And the moment you do, drop everything and go out to get a grinder. If you waste even a minute thinking about what this means for the rest of the project, you will fail at this project. If you do this often, it's why you fail often. You can ask questions like 'why did I do that' in the shower or when you're staring at the ceiling after sex.

'Completing projects' is not a realistic strategy for engineering. For starters 'finishing' isn't a goal you can realistically take action on or achieve. You don't know what it's going to take to finish. You're never built this device before. You're learning as you go. You don't know what you're doing, stop expecting to have benefits like 'predictability' or 'quality'. You will not because you're a fucking novice at this. And if you're not a novice at this task, it's time to stop being a human factory, that's what machines are for.

Focusing on completion when you're doing work you haven't done a million times before will only demoralize you when you watch your self-imposed release date and intended design slip and slip from under your feet. It will demoralize you. Expecting success will make you feel like a failure when you have no idea what you're doing. Which is exactly the position you're in when you're learning. So don't expect success. Expect progress.

Stop trying to predict. Stop trying to 'finish'. You don't know how to do that. Just make progress. If you make continuous progress, finishing will coming on it's own.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, too many people quit worthwhile efforts because they get discouraged. Marvelous things result from continuous (even slow) progress.