Never prepared

Published 05/04/2020
Author: David Crandall

This morning, I had a thought that ultimately inspired me to write this blog post.

Today marks my last day at Malwarebytes. May 4th; Star Wars Day. Funny, given how prominent Star Wars is at the company - every meeting room at HQ is named after something in Star Wars. Hell, the CEO once treated everyone to a pre-showing of 'The Force Awakens'.

I digress...

Anyway, I'll be moving on from Malwarebytes into a new position at another company. I'll be working on something totally familiar, yet completely new. And I'm excited.

I'm also nervous, and a little scared. And I assume that's normal. *crosses fingers* I've been at Malwarebytes for 7 years. How do I adapt? How do I avoid fucking up? What's behind the vail of orientation? I woke up nervous today, my last day, afraid of leaving my safe-space, and nervous about going somewhere new, unknown. And that's when I had this thought.

And it's corny, so bear with me.

When a bird learns to fly, it doesn't Google, "How to fly." There's no degree for flapping your wings, no Udemy courses on how to spot a prey from 100 feet in the air, or how to land safely on the ground.

Instead, when a bird learns to fly, it jumps off the tree, and it falls on the ground. It does this over and over and over until it has the strength and courage to tap into its ability to fly.

In nature, we see amazing growth and survival every day. We study it our entire lives in school, we watch it on TV, we read it in books, etc., and we see how these apparent risks lead to a more fruitful life, and how avoidance or failure to grow leads to death.

Yet, as humans, we are never prepared for our future. We worry and worry, sometimes so much so we debilitate ourselves. We avoid taking action in fear of failure. We become afraid of how we might look to our peers, or are too proud to invite potential failure into our lives. And every time we fail, we become less and less motivated to try again.

Yet, in nature, when a bird falls from a tree in its attempt to fly, it doesn't shrug its shoulders and live with its mom for the rest of its life, the damn freeloader. Instead, it continues jumping and falling, learning something new each time as the wind meets its wings in an epic battle with gravity. Never once inhibited by what may or may not happen.

Eventually, with each failure, the fall slows from a crashing reality check with the hard ground, to a gradual float down. Still meeting the ground, it is learning and becoming less and less a victim of gravity's pull. Eventually, the failures gradually shrink until they disappear, and the bird is soaring.

So, as I make this transition, I think about this and how it really fit my career journey. Until I moved to the Silicon Valley, I only ever worked for myself as a freelancer. Moving from being my own boss to a corporate environment was a culture-shock to say the least. But in my career, as I look back, had I not taken that initial leap, I would not have had the successful career I have, and I would not have the opportunities that I do.

This principle, frankly, is one I've practiced for a long time without necessarily realizing it. I've never been one to NOT try in fear of the unknown. I would rather try and fail a thousand times at something than never try at all. From playing music, to photography, to software engineering, to being a good husband -- you think I crawled out of the womb knowing half this shit? Hell, I still have a lot to learn and STILL fear failure every day - especially about the good husband part. But what may or may not happen mustn't dictate what I choose to do with my life.

Every day offers its own set of branches to leap from, presenting us a new opportunity to soar. The question is -- will you jump?

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