"Computer science is all about solving problems."
Something my college instructor once said during a slow afternoon in class as I started nodding off to a deep post-lunch slumber.
Surprisingly, that statement was one that I would never forget.
In all my previous years of working, “problem solving” are the words that could essentially sum up the moments that I felt at my best.
I’m relatively new to my career in computer science, and I never went into it believing that I could improve anything. All I wanted to do was to be told what to build and to build it.
So I built it. And then I got bored.
My first job as a “web content manager” for a small marketing startup initially got me started updating content for small websites.
Aka, copy and paste.
It was great within the first month because I had a somewhat steady income.
Eventually, boredom set in, eventually leading me to a small sense of crisis.
“Did I go through six long grueling years of mid-terms, late nights, and finals only to be a professional ‘copy-paste’ worker?”
But things changed in the latter portion of my time last that job. I had remembered another one of my friends who spoke about “scripts” and automation. That’s when it clicked.
“Computer Science is all about problem-solving.”
I get it now. I know what I need to do.
So I asked myself the age-old question that EVERY self-respecting programmer should ask themselves,
“How can I make this better?”
From that point on, my career began to take shape for the better. I came to realize that you don’t need to sit around and wait for others to tell you what to do.
You go out and make the change. You move that cheese.
Go into each job with the mindset of problem-solving and you’ll love what you do.
You were meant to create, build, and thrive on the works that you accomplish for yourself and others.
It’s in our nature to do this, and you’ll be pleased you did.
The Mindset to Foster for All Aspects of Your Life
Improve, improve, improve
Nothing more self-explanatory than that. Being stagnant is career and company suicide.
Not literally do nothing, but actually, find ways to make your job easier on you and for everyone else!
How can this benefit you, others, and the overall company?
Solutions aren’t solutions if it only benefits you and gives more work to others.
Never Settle for Comfort
A famous book called “I Moved Your Cheese” by Deepak Malhotra illustrated that the key to success is to be the change in a world that wants to change you.
If you control how things change, you’ll never be short of success in your life because you aren’t moving at the beat of the drum, you ARE the drum that is beating.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself
- What am I complaining about?
- How can I make this faster for everyone?
- What am I always doing that could be automated?
- What obstacles can we remove?
- What is ONE thing I can focus on to make this better?
I could go on, but the ultimate mindset to foster lies entirely with your ability to realize that you cannot settle for less.
“If it ain’t broke, how can we make it better?”
"Mom, mom! Can I have this toy!? I swear this is the last toy I'll ever ask from you again! I'll never want another toy! I PROMISE!"
- Every other kid in America
Oh, the infamous, dreaded words you hate hearing every time you walk into a store with your child am I right? Mind you, I don't have children but I can already feel the frustration.
Months leading up to Christmas, Nintendo strategically releases a game changer console, the Wii. Everyone and their mother's father's mother wanted that thing.
Do you know who wanted it more badly? Me, duh.
"I don't want anything in life ever again if we get the Wii, PLEASE!"
- me (age seven or something).
My brothers and I begged, pleaded, and anxiously waited for the morning when we could finally rip open that present and reveal what we thought would make us happy for the rest of our lives.
As absurd as it sounds, that's how narrow-minded we were as kids.
As you may already have guessed, Christmas time rolled around, and sure enough, the very last present my step-dad brought out, the Nintendo Wii. You should have seen the excitement and energy. I hugged and thanked my parents like never before (sadly enough).
A week later, we received another present that we didn't anticipate, complete, utter dissatisfaction.
My step-dad predicted this from the beginning. As life experience would reveal to him, materials could only bring so much happiness before you move on.
We wanted an object that we thought would satisfy us only to disappoint ourselves with the reality that the hype of worldly possessions is fleeting.
To many of you, this isn't surprising. You could relate. But some may be bold enough to say: "I'm not like this anymore."
I beg to differ.
I want you to reconsider and realize that you're still like this. We're all that materialistic kid who thinks something, eventually, will satisfying once we get "there." It may not be a Wii, but it's definitely something else.
"I'll be happy when I…"
You may not be that vocal about it all the time, but you know deep inside there are many ideas that pop into your head when you utter those words.
The mentality of desiring more never leaves us. As soon as we're bored, unsatisfied, or as things become difficult, we're on to the next.
When I was in college, it was,
"I'll be happy when I graduate."
- Jon's brain
Yet, I ended up going back into deep depression all over again because I couldn't find a full-time job right away.
About three months later I found a job (better than a lot of other people). I thought I'd be satisfied, I got paid a lot and I was able to work from home most days.
Nope. Within six months the hype was gone, and I was already trying to figure out what that, "next" thing was for me. I loved my job, but I was looking for satisfaction elsewhere.
Relationships get the worst of this
The "honeymoon" period in relationships are considered the height of "love" when in reality it's pure infatuation.
True love = commitment, sacrifice, humility.
When couples find ways to make it work, it's a beautiful sight to see. We congratulate people who have been married for so long like it's an accomplishment because that rarely happens.
The unfortunate reality is that our relationships are like the toys we get rid of in our lives. We love it, cherish it, but let it go when we're tired of it or when it no longer is of use.
True HappinessTrue joy and happiness come from yourself. Easy enough?
Think of it in terms of being on a journey. The struggle in growth and commitment is like Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings, reaching obstacle after obstacle. Setback after setbacks, side missions, and various distractions.
This windy road led them to finally reach the goal of destroying the wretched ring that started it all. The journey made them stronger with so much more internal growth and maturity.
Frodo and Sam became new people at the end of it all because of their ability to suffer and commit to the journey. This would have never had happened if they were able to destroy the ring right away.
Don't think to yourself, I'll be happy when I HAVE it. You already got everything you could ever, a chance to live!
What you want is a seemingly unmet experience. You're onto the next when you should be focusing on the abundance that you currently have and focus on the journey of your overall life VISION.
A vision that leaves a legacy for others.
Bottom line is, it takes true maturity when we learn to commit to what we have and allow it to foster and grow. You may never be happy because you're never grateful for what you currently have.
Find something that you can commit to, keep at it, and work hard.