“Finally I remembered what I had found in ultrarunning. I remembered what I had lost.”
As I was reading last Monday morning, I came across this line from ultramarathoner Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run.
Throughout the week I reflected on this and on my own experiences training for my first marathon. I thought of how most of my favorite memories of running were of training runs or recovery sessions where I was able to lose myself in pushing my limits or surprise myself at what I was capable of.
As the week went on I started to realize how these same thoughts were present when looking back at my experiences as a software developer and as a student.
Part of what drew me to software development were the endless possibilities, and the idea that “if you can dream it you can build it” For me, these ideas are inherently linked with the ideas of continuous education and growth. This is a core part of who I am, and i think is one of my greatest traits. I like to think of my education and career as a journey that will never end, but will evolve over time and be filled with new information and technology. These thoughts keep me engaged at work and motivated outside the office to keep growing.
It’s easy however to lose site of these ideals when presented with deadlines, changing requirements, endless meetings, and the ups and downs of every day life. Cultivating a new skill is sacrificed for an extra feature this sprint; a more elegant/educational architecture is abandoned to avoid extra code changes; etc.
It’s important to remind ourselves why we do what we do, what keeps us excited, and to remember that while time is money, and deadlines are important you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your enjoyment of what you do.
Happier workers are more productive, and tend to avoid burnout better. They have greater sense of fulfillment, and are more likely to be advocates for a company/team/product.
Therefore, I think it’s crucial that we all try our best to look back, reflect, and to stay enthusiastic, keep a sense of wonder at being a “code ninja” or “keyboard wizard”, and don’t lose sight of the journey.