Failing sucks. Whenever I fail, I sometimes will watch the following video. So, please watch it now.
This video inspires me, and it makes me feel better regardless of my state. It helps me put everything in perspective. It's kind of silly, but when you realize that all failures1 are happy accidents, then everything is in place.
So, why do I talk about this? I find there is an ultimate struggle in us. The struggle is to do the right thing or to break bad. Myself, I tend to find myself between a struggle of making perfection or throwing together a hacked pile of junk held together with duck tape and shell scripts.
Does perfection exist? This is an interesting philosophical question, and some people claim that it doesn't. I will claim that perfection exists. I claim this because I have seen it. I love math, and math has collection of nuggets that are perfect. An example of perfection is Euler's identity.
TODO: capture the image and stick here.
The deeper you dive into this, the more amazing and perfect it gets. It's beautiful. Bertrand Russell once said:
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.
And this has always stuck with me. But look again at the identity, what does it do? It's simply a relation between a bunch of constants? I'm being a reductionist here, but I would define perfection as very static.
Unfortunately, we live in a dynamic ever moving world. In this world, what good is a sculpture beyond entertainment?
I remember being told in school that it doesn't matter if you make it work, but you have to make it right. Oh, this is so wrong headed. What if you focus on just making something work? Sure, it may have lots of problems. The question you have to ask yourself is this: is the world a better place because you made something work?
The answer is categorically yes.
Is this reckless? Maybe, but isn't that a good thing?
It's a setup for failure, and that's ok.
Or is it?
The most difficult thing is to balance too opposing forces. In my case, I see a hard path to my right with hefty intellectual and creative forces producing something beautiful. On my left, is a liberal fun super fun creative party of making.
The solution, in my opinion, is to go to the left while exercising discipline. Discipline is what you learn when you need to build things on time, under budget, and hit a deadline.
Every failure1, even death, teaches humanity how to be better. A classic software case study is Therac-25 which revolved around a machine which killed six people. Some people would say that it should never have shipped, but this seems even more cruel? Software is hard, and if it was shipped to be perfect, then how many people would have died waiting?
Everything in life has a purpose, and our goal is to learn from everything. Enjoy life, roll with the punches, and get things done.
1: a world ending event would probably not be a good failure…
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
Also note, I do not use a spell checker. I maintain this entire site with nano because I'm an old man.