Life Only Makes Sense Backwards, Not Forwards

I’m the kind of person who likes to plan everything out in their life. Really long term plans, I’m talking decades. I procrastinate on my present to daydream about my future, it’s that bad. My plans for life have evolved quite a bit over the years, in fact if you think of my progress in terms of project management, I’m doing really really bad. I’m way off schedule, way past the deadline already. If I had a boss keeping track, she would’ve fired me two years ago.

When I was 14, I wanted to build by startup by the age of 16. When I was 16, I wanted to build it by 18. I wanted to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. The next Steve Jobs. I was obsessed about the stories of these men who made it big at a young age. I did not have a skill set to sell or build, I did not have expertise in anything. What I did have was tons of ideas, and they were all totally unquestionably worth Billions of Dollars (Ok, maybe not all of them).

I’m 20 years old now. Still haven’t build my startup, still haven’t turned my ideas into reality. But I’m far far more realistic and capable of actually doing it now than I was before. With every year passing, I have come to realize what Steve Jobs said in his Stanford Commencement Speech to be true.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. — Steve Jobs

I keep saying this, we are not constant creatures. We drift, we swim, we dance, we rage, and stumble through life. We make plans, forget about them, remember them again and abandon them for something more shiny. When I decided to take a gap year almost three years, my plan was to learn everything I could through the internet and get back to college for my formal Education the next year.

What ended up actually happening was, I wasted my first six months trying to convince a girl that I was the one for her, then procrastinated on my self-learning because I did not have any external source of pressure to keep me in check, so I kept feeding the monkey inside me with a constant dopamine boost by thinking about my ideal future and not actually getting anything done in the present.

Few folks from the Hyderabad Startup Ecosystem (I’m 3rd from left)

The amazing thing is, even after all that procrastination, I ended up learning far more than I did in two years of my high school. I picked up bits and pieces of software development, to the point that I could build something from scratch. Then I stumbled through this amazing person called Quincy Larson who shared his story of learning to code, which I could totally relate with. I then started to fixate on web development, with freeCodeCamp as my central guide.

Half way through my gap year, keeping my experience up to this point in mind, I made an important decision in my life. I decided to skip college, because I finally admitted that class room environments do not work for me. I have always been better off learning on my own. If I really wanted to become my ideal self, I knew college would just be an obstacle.

freeCodeCamp Hyderabad Meetup — Hacker Month | Idea Session

I spent the first half of next year learning more about web development, becoming more involved with freeCodeCamp, and then the last two quarters becoming more involved with the startup ecosystem in my city. These two things are still providing me with a significant ROI.

My 2016 was about discovering myself, trying to recognize and come up with solutions for the flaws in my personality. Even after two years of finishing my high school, in the public eye I was still just sitting home doing nothing. I did not have a job, I did not make any money. And I still personally struggled with procrastination. Along the way, I started a non-profit community for developers, and have been organizing weekly meetups since then.

freeCodeCamp Hyderabad Meetup — Hacker Month Showcase

This has lead to far more opportunities for me, and the community is actually perfectly aligned with the startup I want to build. Would I still skip college if I could do it all over again? Absolutely. At that point, life looked like it was going nowhere. I was completely clue less and lost all my confidence. But now everything is aliened and in focus. I know exactly what I want to do and how to do it. The dots have finally connected, now that I’m looking backwards.

This is a lesson I need to keep in mind, because what goes up often comes down and I need to be prepared for the next low on the horizon.

That is it for today.

Hi, I’m on a personal challenge to write more frequently in 2017, daily if possible. If you like what you read, do support me by clicking that green heart and sharing this with your friends. I’ll be back with another one for you soon :)