I had already stayed up far too late and hence was taking a solid shot at going to bed, and as usual, was doing my pre-sleep scroll through my twitter feed. I'm not a big twitter user or anything but there's always something interesting there. I came across an article titled The 25 Smartest Things Jeff Bezos Has Ever Said. Some pretty good stuff, most of which I really do think was a big contributor to making Amazon successful. But number 11 really got me thinking:
The framework I found, which made the decision [to start Amazon in 1994] incredibly easy, was what I called a regret minimization framework. I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, 'OK, I'm looking back on my life. I want to minimize the number of regrets I have.' And I knew that when I was 80, I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed, I wouldn't regret that. But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day.
This seems to be a pretty good method of sorting through all of the shit and finding out what truly matters, or is going to one day. I started to think about my time in school and how much I hated it. At the time I was naive, but smart enough to be bored to death by the material for my grade level. That and at some point I really quit trying, due to a number of factors. Staying up all night programming certainly didn't help. Those late nights have done me a lot of good and I'm glad I stayed up so late, night after night, staring into a (sadly small) back-lit LCD screen (or a CRT depending on how far back we are talking).
But taking Jeff's quote and using the same logic, there is one thing that I regret from my days in school: not trying. But I was stubborn at the time. If what they were teaching wasn't directly related to what I was most interested in, referring to my usual nightly activity, I didn't want to have anything to do with it. Little did I know at the time, you can find commonality or relation for most things in life. And not understanding the business side or needs of a software engineer left a narrow mind of what really matters and what was really going to be relevant. Additionally, at some point between then and now I started to take pride, and have a high amount of ambition for overall knowledge base and intelligence. A previously stubborn passion to do only one thing turned into both that and an interest in learning a lot more about a lot of other things.
I guess what I'm trying to say, is just try. Put your 100% into everything you do