I was 10 when I saw a computer for the first time. And now, am a Software Engineer. Well, that story isn’t that interesting. And I was no prodigy.
I only received a computer while I was in the 10th grade. And I was a nightmare to my teachers.
In one of the practical exams, I remember the teacher asking me if I knew to do anything at all on the computer. And I replied that I knew to turn the computer off.
She asked me to go ahead and do it. And there I went ahead, proud that I knew something about computers. Then I flicked the switch off.
The next thing I remember is standing outside the class.
I learned to code by accident. I was playing this online Pokemon game and it had this profile section. It could be customized using the languages HTML and CSS.
In class, I was overpowered by fear. But here my curiosity in figuring out how to make the profile section good overpowered the fear of not being able to do it. And I learned to code.
I loved animated movies and was curious about how these movies were made. Again there was no fear of failure. I was filled with curiosity and hence I spend hours and hours learning 3d design. Sure my grades suffered and I wasn’t able to make a Pixar-grade movie.
I didn’t have the required marks to take computer science in 11th grade. Well, I was busy, busy figuring out how to make websites and animated films. I spend weeks and months learning web technologies just for the sake of feeding my curiosity.
After 12th I choose to go ahead and pick a degree in Business Administration. I sure loved coding but at that point, I was more curious to learn about the business world. I failed, semester after semester. The questions I asked in class arising from my wonder about the business world were seen as me trying to mock the teachers.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was just curious. Even within code, I was not sticking to a single language or framework. I was having fun, going wild on learning new technologies from different domains.
Well, you can’t connect the dots of life looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. And that’s from Steve Jobs.
I remember in class the teacher asked me the definition of marketing in viva. And I gave the one by Steve Jobs — founder of Apple. Of course, I failed the test, she wanted the textbook definition.
At the age of 18, I pitched my first startup idea. The idea was rejected, and I failed. They said it won’t work and I don’t have the expertise. And that was when I failed the first time in public. I got to taste the shame of failure, people judging and labeling you as a failure.
I dropped out of college. I became a failure again. And this time society deemed it to be a bigger failure. I worked on the same healthcare startup idea and co-founded the company. And within months the startup failed. But I was failing every single day. Everything was new to me. But the curiosity to try something new every single day kept me going.
We launched a new product, and that too failed in the next two years. I failed again. I failed in running the company, I failed to handle my emotions. I resigned. The fear for the first time declared its win over my curiosity.
I was a college dropout, a failed startup founder, a failed son, and a failed friend. I never hung out with my friends nor I made college days memories. I was a complete failure.
I shut myself out of the entrepreneurship world. I locked myself in. I was afraid of failing. There was curiosity in me, but I was too afraid to chase them. That’s when I realized, curiosity takes courage.
Back-to-back failures have wounded my wings. I wanted to spread my wings and soar through the sky. But the fear of falling again stopped me from making the jump. I got many good offers but at the last minute, I refused to take them.
As said by James Stephens “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” And one-day curiosity prevailed over my fear of failure and I became a software engineer. The fear was still there but I started to give my curiosity the upper hand.
Every failure, every experience, and every learning that I had is what made me who I am today. I started falling in love with failure. Because failure meant I am doing something for the first time. And it is so exciting to try something new. I am chasing my curiosity but this time am accompanied by the fear of failure.
As said by Thomas Watson “mistakes mean you are alive, thinking, and doing things.”
I feared the failure that might come from me picking up writing. I feared the failure that might come from me dropping out of my degree in BCA and choosing BA Psychology. I feared the failure that might come from me trying to be a speaker. So, I just did them all.
If you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it — that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs.” — Oscar Wilde