Never Stop Hacking

Grim Reaper Sketch

This is a quick post, something that I have to get out of my mind and onto paper (err, the internets!).

I was thinking earlier today about what makes me happy–really, truly happy. I had just stopped coding, and was feeling frustrated that my builds weren’t working like I had hoped. I decided to go onto IRC for some procrastination, and ended up chatting with a really good friend.

My friend (who will remain unnamed), is an extremely smart fellow. One of the smartest I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to. He’s a fucking amazing programmer, always positive, and constantly learning new things. As we were talking about programming, I started to feel better. I started to feel excited. My frustration began to melt away, and all that was left was desire.

The desire to learn new things. The desire to build something that has never before been built. The desire to hunt down problems–and then solve them.

It was at this moment I realized something. Something which, to me, is an incredibly powerful revelation. Often times, I find myself hunting for solutions. I find myself desperately trying to figure out what I should do about X, and how to optimize Y. I find myself searching for solutions to problems, hoping to get them out of the way as quickly as possible so that I can move onto the next thing, the next chore, the next item on my TODO list. It was in this moment that it all became clear to me–

I enjoy the problems.  I crave them.

The more I focus on solutions, the more I treat them as a chore, as a task that needs to be finished–the more stressed and frustrated I become. It is only when I focus on the experience, the act of learning something new and hunting down problems, that I feel really, truly happy.

As programmers, we’re given a unique gift: the ability to spend a majority of our time learning things and solving problems. The next time I’m feeling stressed, frustrated, or even angry–I’m going to remember that it’s the process I really enjoy–that the process of learning new things is what really motivates me, and makes me love what I do so much.

Never stop hacking.