I knew from middle school that I would go into “computers” and it would only
take me from looking into Computer technology and Computer Science degrees on Wikipedia for me to go with Computer Science. So since middle school I had an idea that “computers were the future”, and that Computer Science would help build that future.
But deciding and executing that idea are totally different things. I didn’t really have a plan beyond that, I didn’t “try that hard” for that plan either.
Ultimately if I knew I couldn’t cut it out for computer science I’d get “close to it”, either in IT, or similar fields. I had multiple fallback plans, and had to take a few due to circumstances, such as not being able to move far away for college, nor could I get into the top tier schools I applied to.
My fallback plans went all the way down to if I got into no college, I’d end up joining the national guard and trying to get into some technical role that way. It would have been a number of degrees away from my optimal plan, but it still “pointed” in the direction I wanted to go.
I also failed, in college when failure costs $ and time. I failed a few classes that were hard, the first of which was Calculus. Not only was it the first class that really challenged me, but it was in a subject I always struggled with, which was math. Furthermore, it was one of the first “key” math classes that I knew were going to be trouble.
I kept thinking about how there are classes that will make or break you. Simply put there was no option for “breaking it”, I knew what I wanted to do, knew I needed to pass, and knew I’d take the class and fail it 5 times if I had to. So I went back into it, studied harder and passed. I didn’t get flying colors, but I did pass with a solid B.
That failure experience carried through to other classes and experiences. It made me realize failure is a lesson in itself. What you do after that experience is what matters.
Finding what your “goal” or “end-state” should be the main thing I’d focus on. It’s fine to “stay busy”, but then if you have some sort of time-limit staying busy might just be “wasting time keeping your mind from being idle” and not “staying busy working toward your goal”. This isn’t to say you should be focused on your goal 24/7, but you should be aware about how you’re doing and not just “doing something to do something”.
How did you do it?
I think the basic formula is you don’t just “do it”. You keep doing it.
When I started college I was given a sheet of all the classes/requirements/credits I’d need to take to get my degree. Not only that but I extended my goal by an extra year for a buffer, so from 4 I was going to go for 5.
That sheet was overwhelming, talking about things I had no idea about, with easily 50% of it math, which again I wasn’t great at. I had 0 clue how I was going to do it.
So I took it class by class, semester by semester and just kept going with it. By the end of my college career I got through all of it, and honestly couldn’t believe it. It felt like it was only a short while between getting that paper and graduation.
I just pointed myself in the direction I felt like I needed to go, and kept going.
I usually provide an analogy about how learning development/tech is similar to climbing a mountain. If you like hiking, then it’s less of a challenge and more of a journey. At the same time if you hate the idea of it, it becomes less of a challenge and more of torture. If you only are doing it to “get to the top” then its also more of challenge, or trial than a journey.
Its the mindset where each step you take is an experience on its own, rather than a step toward “an experience” you actually care about, can you shift your focus from the “I need to do this” to “I want to do this for the sake of wanting to do it”.
It’s that motivation, and perception is what can fuel you to get to your goal, and beyond. It’s the “doing it” part that you want to strive for, less so the “I’ve done it”.