I try to do something new once a week. It doesn’t have to be useful, it doesn’t have to be something that I ever attempt again, I don’t have to try it for very long, and I certainly don’t have to be any good at it. I just have to try it.
This week, I’m trying to draw using Microsoft Paint. As someone who struggles with aesthetics, I find it quite challenging. I haven’t actually drawn anything since my Grade 6 Art class taught by Ms. MacLeod(a short woman with short hair; an amazing teacher, to this day one of my favourites). It’s out of my comfort zone that’s for sure, and once I’m done it’ll probably find its way into some folder in the forgotten part of my system where it’ll collect nothing but digital dust and become another lost memory. But that’s okay.
Pushing myself into new situations is one of the more important ways that I learn. While the skills that I’m directly pursuing may not be important in my everyday life, the skills I develope in the process are valuable in almost every situation I find myself challenged in. In weeks that I attempt something new I find myself discovering more unique, often better, solutions to problems I face while developing software. I find myself better able to focus on the tasks I set out to accomplish. Practice makes perfect, and sometimes that’s just sitting down and actually finishing something. We’ve all had side projects that end up untouched for months and months, it’s just something that happens, but by focusing on small things that are new and different, I’ve been able to focus on one large side project at a time, allowing myself to develop a higher quality product at a faster pace.
Trying new things can be intimidating and infuriating, it can be disappointing and embarrassing, but with the right effort, we’re able to transform all of these experiences into learning opportunities that develop us on many levels. I’ve never regretted developing a new skill (or discovering a lack of one).