Over the past ten years, I have walked a slow winding path in Karate to get to now – that journey required learning to fight and tame my own body and mind’s willingness to accept comfort over excellence. This journey is never over, and I would not pretend to say that I have won many battles – but I won enough to feel that I have grown in mental and emotional strength since I started.
Intellectual growth is no different – a form of mental struggle against the mind being satisfied with ambiguity instead of absolute clarity. This attitude of attacking problems with total focus and voracity is a mindset that needs to be developed through constant practice and experience.
I was fortunate in a way, that I was obsessed with programming from a very early age – I started coding when I was 10 years old and I naturally picked up the idea of debugging problems until solved. The problem was that I did not apply this obsessive focus to all problems, just the one that captured my attention at the time. There were many things that I didn’t spend the effort on and, in turn, those things remained ambiguous.
In my life, I have found that unfortunately or maybe, fortunately, every time I allow ambiguity into some area, I pay dearly for that temporary comfort later. This is true for running a business, managing a project, understanding politics, or being a father, as much as it is for writing code.
So I have learned (sometimes painfully) over many years that the black-belt mindset of excellence over comfort is true for the intellectual as much as it is the physical. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or guidance, or even seeking answers using Duck Duck Go, but whatever you do, just don’t settle for ambiguity – keep attacking the problem.