Why You Should Try Out All Your Ideas and Not Worry About Failing.
posted by Michael Olafusi , on ,
In 2008, I wanted to learn Linux. I asked for help, requesting just advice on how to go about it, from senior colleagues who knew and has worked on Linux. None had my time. I went online but came across warnings and no step-by-step guide. Rather than give up on my idea of learning Linux, I downloaded one of the numerous Linux types and proceeded to install it on the new Sony VAIO laptop I had, the only laptop I had. I understood the risk and knew that with my knowledge level I had a great chance of failing and ruining the laptop. Yet I continued. After many back and forth in the installation settings I finally got the Linux installed. And when I reboot my laptop the Windows Vista and all my files were gone. I couldn't access the factory restore on the laptop too, as the Linux had overwritten everything on my laptop. From every perspective, I had done a very stupid thing. I should have waited till I had professional help before making the attempt. But the truth is all the things I learned had a similar beginning, and most of the things I didn't learn when I had the time were simply because I was waiting for a better time or fine tuning the idea.
My head first approach to learning Linux finally paid off. I no longer had to wait for someone to have my time and give the me guidance that would have saved me the many trouble I faced. In trying to fix my troubles myself I became a Linux guru and even made money teaching a group of senior PHCN staff for 5 days Linux/Unix while being lodged at an expensive hotel and paid very well. Using the same head first approach made me ignore the fact that I can't see well without my specs and I shouldn't try to learn swimming first in a big flowing river. I almost drown in the river and was already drifting to the next town when someone saved me. And when I finally got a proper instructor and limited my swimming to a safe swimming pool I was constantly bumping into people because I wasn't seeing well (without my specs). I had more than enough reasons to not try swimming.
Then there is French. I'm still battling it. It all began as an idea when I saw a friend reading a french book. And since then I have shared my NYSC allowance with a French graduate to have him teach me; I have taken formal classes at Alliance Francaise (Lagos), Centre Culturel Francais (Abuja) and Bon Berger (Cotonou). I have also bought the entire Harry Porter series in french and many other french books. I also have audio books, practice MP3s and CDs on French. Until 2 weeks ago, I was reading/practicing French daily. It's now 5 years that I have been learning French and I sometimes feel that I am still failing at it, but I will not stop trying.
When I quit my job I had no documented plan (and I still don't have), I had no work request or client, I had no office or able to afford one, I had no business partner and I had no formal business experience. All I had was my laptop, my knowledge of Excel, my blog and my life savings. It was like diving head first into the shallow part of a pool. I ended up spending all the money I had budgeted for the rest of the year in just 4 months. It was liking groping in the dark; you get to figure out the way only after you've bumped into walls. It was a terrible way to start a business but I wouldn't have started if I wanted a better way. For me starting was what mattered most, every other issue could be fixed along the way.
And my blog. I'm sure you must have wondered if my blog isn't going to get me into trouble someday or cost me a great opportunity because of the way I open up about all going on in my life on it. I sometimes have that worry too. But I also know that no one learns the multiplication table without making several embarrassing mistakes. You can't be extremely good at anything if you are too concerned about avoiding mistakes. I write because I want to become an excellent writer and maybe a full-time writer someday. I have to start from where I am, writing about the only thing I'm knowledgeable about: myself. And getting better with time. It's like the Linux learning experience, whatever it would cost me will never be up to what it would gain me. So I don't worry about the cost I simply don't stop trying/writing everyday.
You also need to stop worrying about failing; try out all your ideas. Ride more on your enthusiasm than professional help because the help might not come or comes when your enthusiasm is all gone. Don't try to start from the top and climb up. Start from where you are, ignore your limitations and fears, and as long as you keep climbing you will get to the top. Ideas rule the world and you have to give yours a chance.