usable in any place a human can be used



[caption id="attachment_696" align="alignright" width="300" caption="measure twice, turn once"]semi truck[/caption]

I just witnessed an interesting even unfold in front of my current client's building. Today in beautiful Columbus, Ohio we are experiencing one hell of a winter storm, lots of fun. A semi truck decided that our parking lot was a great place to turn around in, he just apparently forgot to measure. CRASH BOOM and the lamppost has changed from its normal 90° to a more precarious 78ish°. After striking the lamppost and ramming a concrete barrier the semi was fairly well wedged, but the driver continued revving and the engine struggled and moaned. This persistence paid off and after about 10 minutes of maneuvering he was free. Now to call the insurance companies.

This got me thinking about the nature of difficult situations (self-imposed or otherwise). I also had a breakthrough largely due to persistence today, so happy coincidence. After months of working on documentation, being told that I would never be allowed to program the sacred system, the tides have turned (thanks to an excessively high quote) and the coach has called me up, and I'm ready to play under the bright lights.

I've just completed printing out 400 pages of documentation (my weekend is going to be so much fun!) and I will prepare myself for the difficult task ahead. My persistence has paid off, but the bigger realization is that persistence in general pays off.

To borrow one of my favorite quotes from Scrubs, "People are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling." People don't ever want to think that you can succeed, and they are going to tell you no over and over again. There are two reasons for people to shut down your dreams:

  1. They have tried and failed, the task is impossible, your success would undermine them. If you succeed where they have failed then it isn't an impossible task, they just weren't good enough to do it.

  2. The have achieved it, but only by their virtue of their amazing talents and pure force of will. You don't have what it takes!

This is why it's vitally important to ask people for advice, sage wisdom, realistic assessments, but always keep in mind that very few people actually want you to succeed, especially if its in something they can't or already have. Don't worry though, these aren't bad people, it's human nature, and when you succeed you will act the same way. Success through hardship and against the odds plays a fun trick on the human brain, it makes you believe you pulled off the impossible. This feels amazing and so you will do anything in to hold on to it, and you don't want some dirty unwashed masses pulling off the same feat and diminishing it.

The big lesson here though is persistence, the most successful people in the world are those that were willing to have the door slammed in their faces 1000 times before making that sale. This is what you need to do, steel yourself for the struggle, prepare to be emotionally drained, and realize that this is what living is. Life is a stream of people telling you no, with the occasional yes. What separates the successful from the mediocre is that the successful are willing to wade through all the noes to get to the sweet succulent yes.

I've been paying my dues on this project for 3 months, and finally I get to go back to what I love the most, coding. There are a hundred stories of people trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and failing to finally succeed. It is definitely the path less taken, but it will make all the difference.


  1. "This is why it’s vitally important to ask people for advice, sage wisdom, realistic assessments, but always keep in mind that very few people actually want you to succeed"
    Wow, I disagree. For example, the model (in my opinion) for the SQL community has been the exact opposite. People like Ozar, Fritchey, Randal, Jones, Peschka, et al give away copious amounts of the time, experience, and knowledge in order to help others succeed.

    It is in the success of people you mentor, formally or informally, that raises your stature and ability in your chosen field.

    Sure, hard work is important. In fact, it's paramount,but I wouldn't say that your view of our professional situation is accurate or realistic.

    However, I do enjoy a good rant, and will continue to enjoy yours.

  2. I'd say skip the docs and start coding, damn docs...

    Otherwise, looks like the North East has snow coming :)