“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
– Spencer Johnson
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
You’re Always Going To Disappoint Someone
I quit my job back in June, and now the notice period is finally coming to an end.
Starting Monday and August, I should be officially on my own. I’d been on edge to quit my job for a while, even before the pandemic. I’d been toying with the idea since September last year.
My motivation was simple. I wanted more time to pursue projects of my own and an open-ended learning path. Yet, I wasn’t able to take the call. I felt that too many people would be disappointed in the process.
By May, I was trying to juggle everything I wanted to do with a non-existent sleep cycle, my habits were all over the place, and it was not the best feeling in the world.
Sleeping at four and waking up at six to keep everything afloat was killing me but I also, couldn’t compromise on anything.
I felt tired all the time, and living alone didn’t add to the ease of every day.
After a small exercise, I realised that the things I was marking with high priority had stopped making me happy. I would instead spend time working on my projects first and then my responsibilities with the job.
That’s not very honest. It is unfair to everyone involved. The job had to go for now. So, I quit.
Thinking about this ordeal in both before and after the pandemic, the tipping point was when I finally decided that I was ready to disappoint people.
I disappointed my mother, who prefers it when I have something stable, but she came around and onboard later. I disappointed my teammates because we had a good vision for the future. I also disappointed some friends initially who couldn’t comprehend why I’d take this decision now.
Perhaps, it’s the dumbest decision ever, but it’s mine. I have a feeling that I know what I’m doing. In any case, I feel I’m ready to disappoint myself, too, if that happens.
If nothing else, I’ll learn what not to do.
My Issue With The ‘Fail Fast’ Philosophy
Perhaps, the most significant thing software and entrepreneurship have given to people pursuing self-improvement is the idea of failing fast. To fail fast is to iterate quickly.
The idea is simple. You make or begin something, say a project or a habit, you check if it works, and if it doesn’t, you fail fast. You don’t sit with ideas. You implement them. You fail. You try again.
The idea is never to stop trying. Once you fail, you try again and keep going until you get it right.
It’s a noble idea, of course. I believe in it completely.
However, there’s a problem I have with the common interpretation of it too. I see people all around making things half-assedly and just low-quality attempts.
In the name of failing fast, people are doing half the work or making half the effort. In effect, they are setting themselves to fail, which is counter-intuitive.
That’s not failing fast. That’s just failing.
How do you fail fast correctly? You give it your best shot. It’s not an excuse to not do that rather it’s the reason to go all the way and give your best attempt to anything.
Takeaway: Focus on the fast in Fail Fast; not on the fail.
Reading List: Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan
“There is, I suppose, something mildly depressing about having one’s lifework collapsed into a single number.”
Naked Statistics is part of the Naked series by Charles Wheelan. This series takes complex concepts such as money, statistics and so on, and then, he takes their clothes off.
The book covers concepts explained in such simplicity and in his general jocular manner that you won’t even realise before you understand normal distributions and whatnot.
Why am I sharing this? I feel today, surrounded by data, every person who is trying to make decisions or even form opinions ought to know the basics of statistics and probability.
It may be my own bias but I believe it’s not unfounded.
In any case, you will love this book.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Last week was all about understanding the best way to be helped and to get help. I posted an article that was a 101 on how to ask help better and in fact, get said help.
Also, since this is my last week of conventional, full-time employment, I can finally start building stuff for Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have some ideas but I’d love to hear if you had any too.
Let me know in a reply to this email.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.