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Daily Dispatch #4 - Choosing a Skill to Learn

Daily Dispatch #4 - Choosing a Skill to Learn

It’s me again, with the daily (but not everyday) dispatch from my tech filled life.

#showYourWork #SoGoodTheyCantIgnoreYou #learningKotlin

So this past few days I’ve been playing a lot of GTA V, really amazing game, and it got me thinking about two books I’m reading now. First one I already discussed here “Show Your Work – Austin Kleon (Check his website)” and “So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport (Also check his site)”.

Here’s how all this connects in my mind. I love playing GTA, I can spend hours playing it. But the first few days it felt a grind sometimes, whenever I had to learn to do something difficult in the game I’d give up after an hour of frustration and just do something else. Then I’d pick it up the next day, go through the hardship and overcome it.

The first few days I played I could barely play for more than an hour.

But then something changed.

I started getting really good at it, and so my time playing increased. So I started wondering, if I could do an honest work that gave me this feeling of doing it good, I wouldn’t count the cost. I wouldn’t matter the hours I spend doing it.

By that I mean I would really lose myself in the work, and make more money which is always nice.

So those books started really clicking for me. Show Your Work is all about being comfortable being an amateur in front of others, challenge yourself to fail and learn in front of others. But then comes the question, “What should I learn”?

Enter So Good They Can’t Ignore You. This book is about how to approach the work. It is about dropping the mentality of “I need to find work that fulfills me” and instead take a professional approach of “whatever my work is, I will become very good at it”. The passionate amateur thinks “What value can my work give me?” while the professional thinks “What value can I provide through my work?”.

He argues that the passion hypothesis “find what you love” is dead wrong for the majority of people, and he cites some research that shows just how “years in the profession” are a better indicator of work satisfaction than “did you pick something you were passionate in”. I believe he goes in depth on the Self Determination Theory.

In summary it means that whichever job gives you a sense of mastery, connection and autonomy will give you the feeling of “this is my passion”. But I urge you to read more on the subject, I butchered many important parts of it.

The way these two books connected for me is that I know that I’m very capable of learning a lot of things, but it is whenever I focus on one skill at a time that I excel the most. And picking one should not be an open ended question that makes me doubt my entire life. That is what Cal calls(hehe) the “Passionate mindset”.

So I decided to take an honest look in my life. I’m a professional Software Developer, working currently in Kotlin, and feeling like I could do better at it.

So the most rational decision I could take, that would pay dividends is to get darn good at it. So instead of taking a bunch of unrelated software projects (and learning to play guitar, and editing YouTube videos), I decided to focus on Android until I feel less self conscious about my lack of understanding.

I don’t take it’s gonna take much time, but I think it is important to focus on one thing at a time. I have more know-how of react than Kotlin, I want to feel as confident in Kotlin as I feel with react.

By that I mean precisely, building an app in Kotlin from the ground up using the most famous libs and concepts such as SOLID, Dependency Injection, Jetpack Compose, Database, Unit Testing, Integration Testing and some Backend functionality.