Almost all of my friends asked me already for a few times what is going on with my project, why I had been silent for a such a long time, and how am I in general.
To be honest, I tried to write a clear and concise explanation what happened in my life and how it affects me. I wrote already at least five drafts, but I could not find proper words to describe my internal state. The thing that makes it even harder - I don't want to have this blog post just as a self-reflection, it should be useful to prevent this kind of situation next time.
Well, it is still not very clear for me how to name the situation, probably the most known word that most of the people would use in this case is a burnout. I don't like this term because not understand what is hidden in this name, so I call it just a "mind stuck."
If I need to generalize this feeling, it is a just total loss of motivation and desire to do anything except probably watching a dummy videos online, looks like a modern TV replacement. I had a clear plan of steps what should I do for my project but had no willpower to overcome myself, so I just drop it. Probably it is one of the stupidest decision I ever made.
Recovery and prevention plan
I spent some time analyzing my internal state, reasons that caused it and how I could overcome every one of them or prevent myself from being in this situation again.
One of the biggest mistakes I did is to make the commitment that sounds cool but have no real value underneath. I decided that I'm going to write weekly about my progress to keep myself on track but entirely underestimate how much time it would take and if I do it as a side gig for side gig it could be too often. The pressure of this responsibility to write something useful weekly brings a lot of anxiety and mental struggle.
There is no easy solution I see here except changing the approach from saying "I'm gonna write something useful how I build stuff weekly" to "I'll share what I learn as far as I learn it." The primary driver of this process should be motivation to share the knowledge but not obligation to write a blog post.
Friends are friends not mentors
One of the essential lessons I learned during that period is that friends in the most cases are not the people whom you want to give you feedback on what you are doing.
Asking for feedback from friends has some flaws:
- They deliver sweet feedback, and it means nothing, using this information as a validation very easy to spend weeks working on something that has no sense. But it is not their fault they are just trying to protect the friendship.
- Slightly negative feedback considered as much harsher and demotivate extremely, up to a total drop of the project or idea.
Friends are the safety net that should help and give the feeling of tribe and support but not critiques, except the cases when actions or ideas will lead to total disaster.
Win in small battles give a fuel
I set my self a long-term goal and run toward it at full speed, the aim is still far away beyond the horizon, and I won't see it for a long time because it is very long term.
In this set up was very important for me to make two things:
- Slow down because life is a marathon not a sprint at least in my understanding
- Build a chain of milestones and regular achievements that will motivate me over the whole journey.
Very soon I will make a list of small short and midterms goals that will help me to stay motivated during the whole period.
Fear of unknown
Sometimes it is hard, at least for me, to make a leap of faith into unknown and do anything. I've listened to many lucky guys who have been in this position, and all of them tell that there is no other way to succeed anything in life except push my self out of comfort zone and do something fresh and exciting.
I see a possible way how I can mitigate this feeling by asking advice from the people who have been in exactly same position and did this leap of faith just few month before, their support and guidance it what should help me to move forward.
Lose of interest in subject
When a mystery is gone, and the path becomes clear, my brain realizes that there is no more mental challenge and it is not any more interesting. Most likely it is something I obtain during years on software development where moment when I solve the issue in my head, is very close to the moment when everything is done. Unfortunately, in the real world, everything is not so easy, and my stupid brain just doesn't understand that real challenge is precisely at the moment when it is thought that everything is done.
This one is especially hard to crack, and probably I just have to develop the new skill of looking for challenges after I think that everything should be fine.