The Web is an Impossible Place

One of the biggest causes of fear in web developers is our perceived lack of knowledge. Taking a brief look at the web, it’s easy to see a lot of what we don’t know, and not a lot of what we do know.

We don’t know what we don’t know and we can’t get any knowledge not knowing it.

Perceived lack of knowledge is always present, always working itself in the back of our minds, affecting how we perceive ourselves and our work. It causes stress and anxiety. We become short with people, hold ourselves back from conversation, put off projects, and limit ourselves overall.

The web is constantly shaping itself in different ways. It’s constantly changing to fit the needs of the people using it. There are new code structures, design styles, devices, languages, algorithms. The list goes on. By nature the web is impossible to keep up with because billions of people are shaping it every day.

I do a challenge with myself when I am stuck in my fears about the web. These points help to center me on what I am doing, instead of what everyone else is doing:

  1. There are certain things we will never know. There are parts of what we do that will always be a mystery. These things will be on the periphery and will come to haunt us. If there are things on the periphery, that is not bad. If something is on the periphery, that means there must be some things that are in focus. Which is a good thing.
  2. There are some things that are in focus. What are the few things I am good at? Is there a way to dedicate more attention to these things? Do I still have more to learn? Are these things still relevant, or should I dedicate time and suffering to learning something new?
  3. Suffering exists in everything. We make mistakes a lot. Every person on the web makes mistakes frequently. These mistakes are present in everything they do. These mistakes are not always painless, and often cause suffering. This is not bad. It’s just a fact. Progress requires suffering, and we can’t hope to make progress without it.
  4. Nothing is perfect. The the driving force of what we do is never the final product. We try to make the perfect thing based on our ideal. Yet we never see our ideal because this is the nature of the ideal. What we do get is a final product (code, art, video, etc.). And by looking at the final product, we are looking at the right efforts we put into creating the product. Likewise we are also looking at all the mistakes we made along the way. There is always something to learn by looking at what we’ve done.

By working through these points, I find that I can more easily relate to what others are doing. By looking inward I often find common ideas and experiences that I share with others. Even in relation to such an impossible challenging place like the web.