web geekery & autodidactism

September 25, 2013

My first pick of the title should be “Everyday is a Starting Line” but I edited ‘line’ to ‘point’ as it is much appropriate. I’ll explain this later.

One of the dumbest things I said to myself was “I’m too old for this.”

To add a little background, I started playing the guitar since I was 12 - that was a decade ago. I then realized that I’m still not a good player thinking that I’ve started that long.

I then started playing the viola and violin at 19, that was almost 3 years ago. I still can’t play a single piece that would satisfy me.

Maybe I got so busy with college, maybe I spent most of my time on the Internet and tinkering stuff. It could be lack of practice. I have so many assumptions up to the point that I realized I was thinking too much.

Geek of All Trades, Master of None

I got this from one of my favorite blogs, MostlyMaths, although I admit I’m not a quite a reader of his long posts. But still, when I visit that blog, I’m sure every post is worth reading.

This phrase struck me as if I realized it is a perfect description of me. If he hasn’t used it as his tagline for his blog, and have I thought about the compilation of those words first, that would be my current tagline.

Dreams of being a Polymath

Before I got even familiar with the word ‘polymath’, I know that it is my lifelong goal - of being one. I got so many interests that I always lose focus which one I’ll be giving my attention first. I wouldn’t go with so much details but I wanted to study many things, know things, and do things. 42 isn’t enough.

The MoGo-Hammer

I know I’m not alone, you may have said it to yourself at some point in your life. “I’m too old for this.” It’s a motivation breaker. It smashes not only your MOtivation but also your GOals.

There was some months I would not play any of my instruments. There are some weeks I wouldn’t code. And there are some days I wouldn’t go online and just talk to my cats. Those were the worst times of my life. (Except talking to my cats, I love my cats.) I think those were the way I’m telling myself, “I’m done with this shit.”


Is it because of the lack of resources? Is it because of the improper environment that I couldn’t start things?

No. Before, I thought I would be a very good guitar player once I got my own guitar. But it didn’t happen. I always blame being in a middle-class family for not being who I want to be at the present. But since I got independent and work for myself. I’m still not who I wanted to be.

I hate being mediocre. But I still am.

Starting Point

“Stop thinking, do things.” This is a game-changer. I know, we are bombarded with a million quotes for inspiration. I was at that point I hated quotes because I think all of them are bullshit. No, not this one.

Although I got little achievements on college, like being good at Java, I’m still not confident with my programming skills. I want to change that. I was hired as a web developer but I’m still not familiar with PHP, MySQL, object-oriented programming, even JavaScript. I want to change that. I’ve been playing the guitar for a decade and still suck at playing and I want to change that. Algebra was my favorite subject and I like math, but I still don’t have any knowledge on Calculus (because it wasn’t a part of my subject on college) and I want to change that.

I then started learning from scratch. I don’t care if “I’m too old for this shit.” I then signed up on a number of online tutorials and open-courses like Coursera, edX, Udacity, Codeschool, Codecademy. Heck, even Khan Academy. I also try to apply the things I learned and do projects, no matter how small, because you always learn just so you could apply what you learn and contribute in the real world.

I then regain confidence, bit by bit, as I learn and do new things, bit by bit.

Be small

Before, I always think a project as a whole. But then I learned you cannot finish a project if your goal is to finish the whole project. Dissect the project into sub-projects and slice it to little pieces if you can. Then convert those slices to goals. Cross them out as you finish them, from there you could build the jigsaw puzzle.

What kindergarten teaches us

Goals can be best represented by points, not lines. If you are a 90’s kid, you may remember those little books you have and you trace numbered points and you can form a picture. To connect your points, you must trace it from the previous number to the next number. Those points are your goals, tracing is how you finish them so you could get to your next goal - until you’re done and you can see the whole picture.

Set your goals, track your goals

I use Trello for tracking the status of my goals. It is like a kanban board and you have lists, and you have cards on your lists. You can even have checklists inside the cards. It would be much easier to finish the goal if you have the process in record.

Although I use trello, I’ll also be using this website to record the things I learned, as I learn them. If you are into MOOCs, and you are interested with what I’m currently learning, send me a message. We could learn together and be classmates!

After or while learning, and if I gain enough skill, I would like to focus on creating or contributing to open-source projects, mainly related to web development but I’m also interested with mobile robots and software-hardware projects like turning off your bedroom lights from your phone without having to get up.

In regards to my musical endeavor, I stopped comparing myself and how I suck at playing from others and just play whatever I want to play. This is what I’m currently digging right now. (I so miss Sherlock and can’t wait for the next season.)

If you have any suggestions, additional advice, or just want to say hello, you are free to contact me. See iceberg below for contact info. ↓

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