usable in any place a human can be used


experience as a force multiplier

[caption id="attachment_701" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Oh DS cat you lovable scamp, don\'t use up all my healing potions"]cat saying "I weveled up yur guys"[/caption]

Over the weekend I experienced two things, one rather normal for a "computer guy" the other less in my wheelhouse. The first thing was that my girlfriend wanted me to help her register a web domain for her dad for his birthday. I have done this twice before, once for the website you are currently viewing and one other time for (which just redirects back here for the time being). I remember the first time I registered a domain and carefully read all the forms, making measured decisions, and hesitantly moved from step to step unsure of myself. It took an hour or two and then a few more to set up the hosting and get ftp access, set up wordpress and get everything up and running. In total it took a few hours. I didn't have such a luxury of time, she needed me to get the site up and running, preferably with a custom "Coming Soon" page before lunch, it was 11:00 so I only had around an hour. I clicked over to the site, click click click type type type, and it was up and running. I looked over at the clock to see how badly I had overshot the envelope, 11:15... wait what?

The second experience I had this weekend was tearing up some carpet at my new place. I have undertaken tearing up 850 sq ft of carpet to install new wood flooring in my house. The first night I was able to remove carpet from two rooms in just under 4 hours. It was my first time, and I went slowly following the instructions and making sure that I did everything just right. The second night I worked with an experienced floor guy, we finished taking out the mats, staples, tack strips and carpets from 5 rooms. Over the weekend there was one room left to do, I was able to knock it out, carpet, mats, tack strips, the whole nine yards in about an hour.

After these two events it solidified a point in my head, experience is the best force multiplier. In the first case it was my own hard won experience (not that there is really anything that difficult about registering a website). After performing the task a few times I gained an experience that multiplied my force by an order of magnitude, what once took a few hours now only took a few minutes. In the second case I was able to leverage someone else's experience to augment my own. I learned countless tricks to getting the job done quickly and efficiently, but more importantly I gained a huge amount of confidence. Having someone that already had mastered the task work with me and confirm that I knew what I was doing gave me all the confidence in the world to go in on Saturday and tear up the last room lickety split.

There were two take away points from these experiences. When doing something new seek out someone more experienced than you to pair with, even if its just temporary. Fully participate with them, ask questions, and do not let them do everything for you. This is the best time to fail, you will get immediate feedback from the more experienced party about how you are failing, why you are failing, and how to avoid failure next time. This will give you a foothold to quickly learn by doing. The second point to take away is to experience lots of things, even if you suspect you will fail. Life is full of failures, but those failures impart experience which is the best force multiplier to get to success.

I would be unable to count the number of times I've ruled out some great idea because it took me down some unknown avenue, and I was afraid of failing. I have no experience charging people money, I don't know how to start up a business, I don't know how to make a website. These are all things I've said to myself at one point or another, the thing I realize now is that no one is born knowing how to do these things, there is only one way to get experience, try new things. Don't be afraid to fail, work hard to succeed, and know that no matter what happens the experience is valuable and worth it.

1 comment:

  1. This is funny Matt, my post today was Each Time I Get My Hands Dirty, I Learn. If only we got paid to synchronize post topics :D.

    I appreciate the speed gain from working with someone who's a pro. I feel much more confident breaking things in Rails now that I've worked with Tyler who's much more comfortable with the framework than myself. Moving into threaded programming, and javascript have been relatively fast learning curves (I have much to learn but don't feel as timid about diving in).