Everything I’m not passionate about

The original goal of this blog was to document my journey in answering the big question, “where to next in life?” while creating a relatable content to anyone else wondering something similar. The motto, “learn, explore, create” was my mantra and to show that ordinary to extraordinary was possible through well… fairly ordinary things.

Since then, I spent time being a lost wanderer in Malaysia, I made my own app, I moved to Australia and joined a startup, I lived on a farm (and guided a cat army), and then I ended up joining another startup (yay!). Last week. I started teaching a part-time web development course. Needless to say, there has been a lot of learning, exploring and creating, but not always in the order that I want, nor at the pace that I want. None of this was “part of the plan”, I suppose. I only saw far enough that I needed, which was usually one or two steps ahead of where I was.

Since arriving in Australia, I have gotten involved in multiple streams of development work. This gives off the impression that I have a lot of passion. In fact, someone said to me the other day, “Wow… You are really passionate about what you are doing”.

My reply?

“I wouldn’t say that.”

The word passion is thrown around a lot; people use it when they’re selling themselves, their skills and plenty of other situations, but yet are people actually sure what they are passionate about? Even I have misused it a few times over the last few years.

I would say that passion does not need prompting. It’s something you are willing to do at the expense of other things. If someone stopped paying you for it, you would still do it. I would argue that passions stem from underlying values more so than from the act of a task, a job or even an activity.

Not surprisingly, these last three years, I feel I have learned as much about things that are not on my passions list as well as my own passions. During the first year, I started working with WordPress and learned fairly quickly that it wasn’t my thing. I didn’t really want to make websites. My short stint into Mobile and Java was overwhelming to say the least, but it was a closer step in the right direction. I ended up finding a nice groove in the Rails world like many beginners. I have wandered down that path ever since that day. At that time, I wouldn’t say I was passionate in coding. Heck, even today, I wouldn’t even say I’m passionate about technology.

Wait, what?

How can you say that Chester?

To me, technology, like many things, are simply a means to an end. Technology is a tool; it is an extremely valuable tool. And like many tools, they are only useful if you are solving worthy problems. Which brings me to one of my actual passions, I am passionate about solving real world problems.

I would say in the “day-to-day real world”, I’m a fairly good problem solver. I can think on my feet. I can weigh pros and cons on the fly, I can balance intuition and logic and I’ve gotten myself in and out of less than ideal situations because of this ability. Since stepping in this direction, I have largely been curious if I can hone my problem solving ability in a different world: the world of tech.

I like that technology gives me a different look at problem solving. In the trenches of code, it’s a different world, and at the higher level it’s a fresh look at old problems. I have always found the bigger picture stuff easier to grasp, but now I am seeing the finer details of technology problems as well. The deeper you go, the more fascinating it becomes.

In order to become a better problem solver, I have to rely on my other passion: my passion for learning. I think some people may view my involvement in the (tech) community as passion towards coding and technology when in fact, it’s a passion towards learning. I consider these types of opportunities as a great chance to learn and grow. Even teaching is a very reciprocal act that can benefit the teacher as much as the student.

Despite, not sharing the same passions as some of my fellow developers, it’s not surprising that the developers who have influenced me were all involved with mentorship and teaching. I would also consider them all strong role models in the community. My goal is to pay it forward and hope others also find simple inspirations to do the same.

Passion is an important thing in life, but I don’t think it’s easily defined in what we do.

If we look a little deeper, we might all be a bit surprised at what truly makes us passionate.


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