Suck at something new

Suck at something new

Dave and I had an idea once. We were driving down to the beach. On the way, we stopped by waterfall with the rope swing. I was supposed to be doing university work and Dave was supposed to be working at the bank but we couldn’t care. Adventure awaited.

“We should be tracking our adventures.” Dave said.

I agreed. Then asked, “but how?”

“I’ve got an idea, we call it Appventure!”

This was about the time iPhones were starting to become a thing, a real thing. Apps were still shiny and new and people were still figuring them out.

We planned it out.

“It should start from a single bubble, then like a spiders web it goes out as you move around the screen, then every new bubble is a new adventure, each one containing photos, information, location, the whole lot!”

We were so excited.

“Then, if you want, you can share a bubble with someone and they’ll get everything inside. It’d be the perfect tour guide because it’s full of different things you’d try! Plus, seeing the adventures others have taken will inspire more people to do the same!”

The energy was flowing, the conversation was rolling as it does when two good friends have had 4 beers each.

That night we got our computers and sat at my desk. The car ride home was all talk. We knew if we’re going to build this, we needed to learn how to code.

Every night we did a little bit, downloading the tools we needed, Xcode and the the others. But after two weeks we started to drop off. What we were learning got hard and when there were nights one of us couldn’t make it, the other would drop off too. Eventually we stopped all together.

Dave went on to build his own skills, building a business in cars. But I still had the itch. I’d been a nerd for as long as I could remember.

A couple of years later I started again. Sitting at my desk, learning to code. This time Python, machine learning, deep learning. I signed up to an online course with prerequisites I didn’t fulfil. When I joined the study group, I emailed the support team asking what the refund policy was. They said two weeks. But I never followed through.

This time was different. I kept going. If I hit a road block, I’d take a break, I’d look for another resource. When it got hard, it sucked. But I knew this feeling. I’d felt it before. This time instead of giving in, I embraced the suck.

I had to remind myself, “I’m new here, it’s okay to suck.”

Whenever I learn something new, I still have to remind myself.

It’s the beginners mind. It’s approaching everything as new. It’s treating every day as a new adventure. That’s the spirit Dave and I had when we were brainstorming. It was a good feeling. Maybe one day we’ll get around to building it.

[Speaking of sucking at something new, today’s the launch day of Andrei and I's new machine learning course. One of the questions I get asked most often is, “I want to learn machine learning, where can I start?”. And rather than continue answering it with a long list of resources, I decided to create my own version. It’s the machine learning course I’d like to have had when I started learning. Best of all, there's a community of people waiting to learn alongside you. We've got a promotion running for the first 5 days of launch, be sure to check it out.]