As you grow older and experience more things in life, you probably begin to learn to accept certain things in life. Like if you are very idealistic about how some things should be when you are younger. Then reality strikes. One time. Two time. At first you will be angry or upset. Soon, you learn to let things go and accept the truth. After all, you are only hurting yourself by getting upset over the most trivial of things.
And that’s how it is for me these days.
You see, I’m a stickler for rules and care about how certain things should be done. But once you have been punch in the face sufficient times, you start to lose that mindset. Of course, it won’t be an overnight thing. But it’s a sure thing.
Now, this “letting go” or in other words, acceptance, can be found in the work I do, especially my day job. I just accept the situation, whatever it may be, and go with the flow. If you want me to ignore best practices and focus on delivery things fast, that’s what I will do. If you want me to do a quick workaround, that’s what I will do. At the end of the day, I’m well aware that I don’t own any of the things I created. In fact, I created this narrative in my mind, “You are paid to do a job and that’s it. The IP belongs to whoever pays you.”
So far so good. I managed to get myself out of depression. But I caught myself doing something else.
I stopped caring. Codes aren’t structured as how they should if I cared deeply. Attention to details is also slipping. Mistakes are quite common these days. And if there’s a bug found, a quick fix is thrown in. After testing that the fix works, I move on to the next thing. Otherwise, I will toss in more quick fixes. Even during brainstorming session, there won’t be much input from me. I will listen and agree with almost everything that was said. I will still mention some potential issues but that’s it. You will no longer see the same kind of passion I once had.
And why is that?
When you care too much or is a stickler for best practices, you would find yourself banging against the wall a lot of times. You will get hurt emotionally. A lot, if you are a natural idealist.
It’s just how it is in the business world. Best practices are the idealistic version of processes. But once put into practice, they don’t quite work out. Your customers don’t really care about your processes and they only want what they paid for. If there is a problem, they want immediate solution. After all, you won’t care if the waiter had a bad day or if the kitchen ran out of certain ingredients when you order food from a restaurant right? You want what you ordered at the earliest possible time. At least for most of us anyway.
So when you have been hurt enough times, it’s quite easy for you to turn acceptance into apathy. It’s especially so if there aren’t enough “mentors” in your life to help you balance your natural idealism and accepting reality. I certainly don’t. People around me implied that I throw away that idealistic mindset of mine and be present. This is why it won’t be surprising if you start to question yourself and think, “why should I care if these people don’t care.”
And after a while, you are no longer emotionally invested in your work or whatever jobs that you may find. You are only there because you need the money and that’s it. You stop caring about the progress of the project you are working on. If the project dies, so be it. If the project is successful, you’d probably think that you won’t get anything out of it. So you would rather focus on something else in your personal life.
This is why I see that it is actually a thin line between apathy and acceptance. This is how potential visionaries are lost and everyone become executors instead of having dreamers in their midst. And it’s a sad thing for the world.
My advice is be very mindful and tread carefully if you don’t want to join the mass horde of soulless people who no longer dream. Hold on to your dreamer mind as though your life depends on it while accepting the realities of life and act accordingly. Channel your dreams into something tangible. And that’s the best of both worlds.