I have to make it work for things to just work and fall into place. I did not persist when it felt tiresome. I took necessary breaks without resuming back to whatever I was supposed to be doing. I gave up a lot many times than I should.

At the start of the year, I created a schedule to follow in the hope of becoming a better person. I hoped to blog four times a month, workout every Sunday, go out for a photowalk each Saturday and continue practicing programming stuff. I failed to follow the schedule on all the activities except the programming practice.

My first open source project attempt fizzled after couple of months, my physical fitness hit an all time low, I felt a stranger to my own camera, and never had a wholesome moment in terms of happiness or work satisfaction.

On a more personal front, there were both things which I wished should happen and things I never thought would happen. I never seemed to have a grip on most of the personal moments that really mattered.

It was as if some part of me consciously sought failure constantly. A part of me which did not root for the home team. It almost feels like I had a predisposition for attracting negativity. A part which hated the pain of discipline and hardwork. To think that I even allowed that feeling to exist within me is disappointing.

But, not everything was bad though. There were some valuable lessons learned and hard hitting realizations.

I learned that:

  • it is perfectly okay to chase my dream even if I am not in my prime and that the important thing is to have tried and continue to work toward it.
  • it is perfectly okay even if it meant that I end up a shitty writer, blogger or a programmer.
  • it is perfectly okay to work in sub optimal conditions when trying to prove a point to self.
  • it is perfectly okay if I never venture into film-making.
  • it is perfectly okay to separate passion from work.

The major thing I did in 2012 was to go back to a programming career. I did this for myself even if it meant that I would end up with lesser pay. Though I always hated the buzzword oriented programming projects coupled with bureaucracy, I have driven myself constantly toward getting accustomed to it in an effort to both stay employed as well as continue to work toward being a "programmer".

There were plenty of "oh shit" moments, but I persisted, thanks to advices from a best friend and senior.

This is what I classify as my success of 2012. Though it is an ongoing process, I am impressed with what I put up so far.

Last year, my failures outnumbered the successes. What went wrong? Why were there so many failures?

I can think of two things:

  • Lack of focus.
  • Lack of follow-through.

This resulted in constant accumulation of unmanageable bits and pieces of life leading to an expected and heavy disappointment. I liken this feeling to a bad hangover, which has no quick "lemon juice" cure. The only way I see to succeed amidst the looming negativity is to suck it up and remove all the clutter and distraction and get things done on time. No hesitating. No complaining. And no excuses.

Though I am pushing to be 30 this year, I did not lose my passion for becoming better. I would like to share three of my biggest motivating factors that helped me hold on to it.

Three things

1. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Some time last year I watched the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. In that movie, one thing stuck to me.

There is a scene in which the three friends go deep sea diving. Once they are all back on their boat, one of the characters cries realizing how much he has lost in life in the rush to make it big.

Then a resonating poem is recited in the background:

Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyaan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum
Nazar mein khwaabon ki bijliyaan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum

Hawaa ke jhonkon ke jaise azad rehna seekho
Tum ek dariya ke jaise lehron mein behna seekho
Har ek lamhe se tum milo khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ik naya samaan dekhein yeh nigaahein

Jo apni aankhon mein hairaaniyaan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum
Dilon mein tum apni betaabiyaan leke chal rahe ho, Toh zinda ho tum

and its english translation:

If you have eagerness in your heart, it means you are alive.
If your eyes are filled with dreams, it means you are alive.

Learn to be free like the wind,
Learn to flow freely like the river,
Embrace every moment with open arms,
See a new horizon every time with your eyes,

If you carry surprise in your eyes, it means you are alive,
If you have eagerness in your heart, it means you are alive.

In a time when I completely lost track of what I wanted to professionally, this particular scene in the movie became my biggest wake up call. I decided to continue becoming what I have started out with in my career — a developer. I knew it was difficult. I knew it was a troublesome journey, considering most people settle down for a lead or a manager role around this time. But I knew it had to be done.

2. Little Miss Sunshine

I am nowhere near where I wanted to be, but, though late, I have started an arduous journey. There are times, however, when I don't feel like swimming against the current. That is when I like to remind myself of Richard Hoover's motivating words from his speech in his 9-step Refuse to Lose program:

No hesitating. No complaining. And no excuses.

In the movie, though Richard Hoover struggles to build a career as a life coach, he is persevering and his words display and inspire a remarkable confidence in self.

3. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Once I was feeling very low and was browsing reddit and by chance found a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson:

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.

A person who was looking for motivation in life asked his advice and he received the above. This thing may be the one that tipped me off of my uncertainty and anxiety into a person bent on becoming a developer.

This could possibly be the reason behind my few successes last year. Now I want to reduce the failure count and get back on track to achieving all my short term goals and set down a path to make my long term goals a reality.

So, I vow to keep it simple and functional this year by following my mom's golden principle for getting things done:

FOCUS!

Resolutions

Here is an list of items I plan to do in 2013.

Narrator: He didn't.

  • Go out and do a brisk walk, with short bursts of jogging. (Everyday)
  • ENFORCE Strict Pomodoro / Chrome Nanny! DO NOT disable them. (Everyday)
  • Sleep everyday by 11PM. (Everyday)
  • Write a minimum of 4 blog posts per week, with the usual topics being:
  • dev-log (at the least once a week)
  • review/updates post (every week, preferably on Friday)
  • some linux thingy (once a month at the least)
  • photography/software development/programming/teaching (whenever thoughts race)
  • self-improvement (occasionally)
  • On Saturdays, either go for a neighborhood photowalk, or take camera everywhere you go.
  • Continue learning Python and Erlang and write about either of them on Sundays.
  • Listen to podcasts (3 hours twice a week)

2013

Stick to what I am doing. Practice often. Take surprise tests. Stay in touch with the technology updates. Keep working on personal projects. Plan for eventual certifications.

Dealing with burnout

Adhere to a food discipline. Have breakfast, avoid sugar and caffeine, drinks copious amounts of water. Do not worry about work at home. Unwind occasionally frequently. Go for a walk, cook for your family or partner, organize desk, update shopping lists. Physical activity at work. If nothing, do some stretches.

Writing a regular dev-log

(A dev-log is a weekly update about my programming work)

Write a summary of what programming work you could get done that week.

Personal

Schedule some activity immediately after you get home. Spend time with your family or partner.

Hello and welcome, Twenty thirteen!