My 2015 was great. It has been fast but I was able to do so much more than in previous years because of the right conditions (not having school work and having a less demanding job.) I did a lot of self-learning this year in particular, Linux (finished the Edx course), Git (finished the Udacity one), Python (Python projects), C (Head first C) and C++, in addition to learning about algorithms and data structures in general. I still need to practise all these things I have learnt . I have had a lot of practise using python on projecteuler.net (currently number 2 in Nigeria, err, I look for hints when I am really stuck) and on hackerrank (overtook Franklin to become number 1 in Nigeria on the Project Euler contest,yay!, though sometimes, I get disillusioned with the value of these recreational contest asides practising a particular programming language). I also got to work on delivering a product at work. I learnt to read other people’s code and make changes. It was great moving from acquiring skills to actually using them in some meaningful way.
I have been motivated by the idea of Mastery as explained in Robert Greene’s book, Mastery. I want to be a master and to this end, I have completed over 40 books (technical and non-technical) this year, in addition to shadowing Eli Bendersky (going through his blog and taking note of books to read. We have similar interests. Embedded systems in particular) Notable amongst the books I read were — Where Ideas come from, Blink, The Knowledge : How to build our world from scratch, The Second Machine Age, Mastery, Surely You are Joking , Mr.Feynman, The Idea Factory. These books have transformed my mind, some have challenged my assumptions and some have reinforced my hunches. It is important to not just read but to think about things. I have done my best to do that this year.
I finished school this year, I didn’t feel so happy about it, just relieved it is over and glad that I could now focus on my own learning. NYSC began this year too and I am just waiting for it to finish.
I want to say a big thank you to the members of my inner circle and my parents. You guys have been awesome this year. Thanks for advice. Thanks for listening to me rant. Thanks for keeping up with me when I was naughty. I love you guys (and girls, well guys is unisex for me) Thanks to those that tried to reach out, to old friends that still bothered to call and keep in touch. I am grateful. It might not seem like it but I try not to forget these little gestures. They mean a lot.
On the emotional front, I have had learning experiences, I have had to grow, to become more resilient and I am happy I didn’t slump into depressive episodes. It takes lot more to get me down. I am proud of that. I have had a couple of disappointments, not getting to go for Maker Faire Shenzhen being a notable one but I’m glad I have learnt from all these things.
- You cannot give what you don’t have. For me, it has been mostly in the context of learning. I do a lot of sharing of tech stuff and I have some reputation but I have had that desire to do more than just sharing and getting excited. I know I need to work on myself before I can start teaching people. I know if I lead the way and I succeed, it is much more easier to convince people that it’s the right way.
- Closely related with 1 is Talk is cheap. I am all too aware of the emptiness of reading without accompanying action. Getting excited about Quadcopters for example, but not thinking of how build one. And it has been a major driver in my self learning (Linux, C, C++) . I see myself as an engineer, so I want to create new thing not just follow instruction on some online tutorial. It is about demanding more.
- Academic achievements aren’t enough. I read a couple of stories this year of Nigerians breaking academic records and doing well. I have become disillusioned with these things. I am not saying it is bad but that we need to ask for more than just a first class. We need more results, more things that make a difference in people’s lives or make people aspire to something. Those are the kinds of things to really go gaga about.
- Curiosity is very important. I have reignited my curiosity for a lot of subject areas. From Economics to Politics to Physics to Computers. I realize I can not gain mastery over all these areas but they fascinate me quite a lot. I think we really need to work hard to imbibe this kind of curiosity in our kids today. Too many don’t see the beauty in the things they study and that’s vital if they are to persist and eventually make contributions to knowledge. It is important to go for in-depth knowledge. It is important to wonder about things
- Pity parties and Social media. I have become disillusioned with social media and the how a lot of things are just a fad or a “trending topic”. Lots of emotions, but not as much concrete action. I have come to realize it is more important to think in terms of what is the way forward. What can I do about this bad thing rather than it is so bad , ad nauseum. Bombs are blowing people up but beyond crying are you actually donating your money to those affected or volunteering your time? I think those are the things that really count in the end. Also, relating with social media is the realization that too many people don’t fact check things they read, especially incredible news. Too few people check for background information and even the media is at fault.
- I have learnt to pick my battles. There is no point getting worked up about everything. There are limited resources and it is better spent praising or doing what you like rather than complaining about what you don’t
All in all, I’m happy with myself. I have failed myself a couple of times but I choose to dwell on the positives. I know 2016 has to be better. I want to have tangible projects to show for all my hardwork. I know in the end, I will be fine. I am on the road to Mastery.
First appeared on here