The Good Kind of Problems
A quote that has stuck with me since I first heard it is from Elon Musk. Loosely, the quote says that you're paid in direct relation to the difficulty of problems that you solve. While this is obvious once it's said out loud, you don't really think this way when it comes to thinking about your life and what you're trying to do with it. Don't we want to solve the big problems?
While Elon is probably one of the most fanatical CEOs of our time, he also has incredible vision. Business results aside, that man is tackling some of the largest problems our world has today. He isn't deterred by what's possible or what anyone says. He just does it. I think that's incredibly admirable and should teach us lessons about the zeal in which we should pursue our goals.
Recently I've been drawn to learning about computer science and how we can use code and raw computing power to develop systems that not only make our lives easier but also can be businesses. One of the first lessons taught in computer science is that you are not the one that is doing the work when using computers - that's what the computer is for. Your job is to teach the computer how to do what you want it to do. We have this massive amount of power waiting to be told what to do, all it needs are the commands.
While computer science may not be for everyone (including myself I feel at times, the subject is very difficult and does not come naturally to me), the idea of using the tools we have available to solve other problems is something universal. Elon may be inventing the new wheel, but that doesn't mean that we have to. When I first came to grasp my draw on building something for myself, I was only willing to accept an idea that would completely change the course of history. I wanted to build something that had never been done before, a sort of zero to one growth to reference Peter Thiel. As I've developed my thought process, I don't think that many people do that and that's okay with me.
While I've come to terms with likely not inventing some new technology with an idea that pops into my head in the shower, I've caveated that acceptance with the dedication to use everything that is at my disposal and continue iterating. I'll likely need to make 1000 things that suck before anything is good, but I need to be okay with that because the learning is what is important and eventually the time will come. When it comes, it's to the moon (or mars).