I came across this old post
by Scott Hanselman via Twitter
today that got me thinking. The jist of his post boils down to the fact that no matter what level of success we achieve in our lives, we all feel like phonies because there is something that is out of reach, or something in our lives that is slipping away, or something that we started that ended up being a failure.
I asked myself if I felt like a phony, and realized that for me the answer was "not anymore". So I decided to respond to Scott's Google+ thread
on the subject with this:
Some years ago, I felt like a phony. So, I decided that I was going to start cleaning up all of my projects and make a good deal of significant progress on them. All of them. No matter how slow the progress, I thought to myself that if I could make some progress, I wouldn't be a phony.
I actually finished a few of those projects. But as the weeks went by, I realized something... I hated much of what I was doing. I didn't hate coding them, I hated the ideas themselves. It didn't take me long to realize that a lot of these projects that I had started were projects I simply didn't care about anymore.
When I realized this, I also realized that I wasn't really a phony. I had started so many of these projects based on a small bit of interest I had on them at the time, but deep down I didn't really care about them. Things that sounded like a good idea got a good start, but then interest waned and the projects were abandoned.
Today, these projects still exist somewhere, but I don't feel like a phony for starting them anymore. Instead, I decided to narrow my focus into the projects that I care most about. I stopped feeling like those projects that I started but never finished were my children.
It's a matter of pride and learning that too much pride is a bad thing. It's a matter of identifying what's really important to you and cutting out the things in your life that aren't. For me, my real interests lie in making music, staying on the bleeding edge of web technologies, entertaining myself with immersive games, and staying connected with those that I love. Once I realized this, it changed how I perceived everything that I do, and it made me a whole lot happer about the things I choose to do with my life.
The jist of my post is that everything in life changes. What was important to me five years ago may not be important to me anymore. Even my four primary interests today - music, coding, gaming, and life - may eventually change. And when they do, I hope that I'm strong enough and smart enough to recognize this and make the appropriate changes in my life to match them.