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We Gotta Start Somewhere

Photo by Connor Limbocker on Unsplash

Photo by Connor Limbocker on Unsplash

I have to admit this.

Last year I want to make something out of myself as a side project. Be it an app, SaaS, or even just a contribution to open source project. A website like this is no exception. I want to write something that I want to share. But sadly it went far from expectation. I spent dozen times procrastinating, searching for inspirational videos, reading tons of how-to-get-stunning-ideas articles, but rarely get back to the actual work that should be done. When I work on this website for example, I spent enourmous amount of time around technology and UI/UX design, without focusing much on the content that I want to share. At last, I didn’t manage to write anything last year, what a shame! Of course some other work have been done, but none of them made me proud.

Gratefully at the end of last year, I have some time to reflect about what’s going on, whether I want to continue doing all of these things as they’re, or I want to change them. I realized that I need to change. It looks like a no-brainer decision, right? It’s easier to said than done. At first I thought I treat myself like a robot. I have to be discipline, not wasting my time on things that don’t matter, and anything that leaves my comfort zone on the table. But it turns out to be like a muscle building. The more I do what I need to do, the more I get into the flow and enjoy it. I went from decision that works to another, though I’m not perfect and will never be. At least I found something that keeps me going, and I always want to make it, hit it, pursue over it from time to time – the progress.

What Works So Far

1. Decision to write

I decided to replace the current website where I designed & coded by myself to a simple Jekyll static site, so I could focus much of my attention on content. But why should I replace it then? Behind the scene, the design of a post in general has not done yet. I have to think about how the link should look like, how to show image beautifully from the external sources, and the list goes on. I remember the story of a person on Hacker News that said he could build Slack in a week. Most of the time as an engineer, we underestimate the complexity that’s not seen at the surface. Probably we’re living on our imagination that said we’re the best people on earth that need no help from others. Dangerously if I buy that mindset this year, I’ll never see myself changed for the better. As you could see me now, here I am with my first post ever on this website, which is tremendously empowering for me.

2. Scratch my own itch

At the mid of January, something hit my mind and it tried to connect the dots that have been there along the way. It’s about The Bible. I always love to read it over times because of its profound meaning and I always get new understanding when I read the same thing over and over again. One of the unique things about The Bible is it has a book called Proverbs, where it’s famous with advices to make us wiser in life, and it has 31 chapters in total. Then I thought, “That means if we read 1 chapter each day, we could read different chapter for each day in a month”. I don’t find a month that has more than 31 days, which made me question it, “What if I could read 4 Proverbs verses in a day?“. I want something that helps me break from my daily activities and pause to contemplate something that might help some of the aspects of my life to be improved. I made a Twitter account called @mydailyproverbs that does exactly what I thought. I just have to turn on notification from it, and it sends me 4 Proverbs verses from the same chapter each day. Surprisingly more often than not, I found it gave me a verse that’s worth to contemplate and the value is deep. I always meditate on it when it comes, that helps me to always keep my steps grounded along the way. Though I haven’t launched it yet, I’m glad because I finally jumped from an aspiring maker to the real one. Just FYI, the real product that I launch was Mata, and it’s been few years ago.

3. Pragmatic Principle

I always remind myself over times that I could do anything that I want, but it’s impossible to do everything that I want. I have to prioritize, stay true to myself, and leave my ego so I could make something done before it’s too late and eventually I have no chance anymore. That also means I have to be firm on things that I need to do and things that I don’t need to do. Help people as much as I can, and never waste time to do something that I’ll regret someday. Stop learning all of those fancy technologies, because those are the moving target.

The Path Ahead

There always be ups and downs on this life. And at some point, I have to get started and just-do-it before it’s getting harder and too late. In this case, I’m starting to write my post. I also have started to make a Twitter bot for myself. I can’t wait to do something beyond myself that I could be proud of, wish me luck!

Lastly, I would love to get in touch with you, especially when you have difficulties to get off from your current situation. Whether you want to make something new, or you want to achieve something in your life. Also, I’m eager to learn if you have something to share. Like how do you get started, how do you build your routines, etc. Feel free to give your comments below, tweet me, or anything else that suits you. See you on the next post soon!

Published 27 Mar 2018

👨🏻‍🎨 Wilbert Liu on Twitter