Is This Good Enough?

Written on November 19th, 2012 by

At some point in time everyone asks, “Is this good enough?” It may be a conscious answer. For many of us it is not. The vast majority of us reach that point where the answer is “yes.” A rare few never make it past “no.” Those are the ones we watch on tv and read about in the news. Those are the ones we admire as children. Those are the ones in our history books.

The most common characteristic among highly successful people is their relentless work ethic. Some of it they learn at a young age. The rest is fueled by passion. However, it becomes easy for the fire to fade over the years. It happens so slowly many of us do not even realize. Some of the wear comes from red tape or fighting those who have already become complacent. Yet the most difficult struggles are with ourselves. It is hard to continually find the energy to push beyond what we know, to overcome obstacles, and breakthrough the barriers. It is easy to stop to take a break, take a moment to look around, and realize life is pretty good. That is when the fire sputters.

I have observed this struggle in my own life over the past few years. Coming out of college I spent a lot of my free time writing code, exploring web development, and dabbling in quality videogames. My job made my personal life comfortable. My free time consumed by a long distance relationship and more relaxing hobbies. It was easy to burn several nights with instant messaging, watching tv, and playing videogames. I maintained some work ethic on weekends at home by myself or designated nights. My wife began working at the same place as me, and it was easier to leave work at a consistent time instead of staying a few extra hours. I started to get back into tennis and also picked up a weekly hockey game. I bought a house. Quickly one thing added on top of another. I do not put in the hours I used to exploring technology in search of ways to improve the way things are done. Fortunately, I have become more efficient and can accomplish more in less time. Still, there is always more to do and always less time to do it.

So I ask myself, “Is this good enough?” Is putting in my forty hours in IT and going home enough? Is it okay to account for the eighty percent because the final twenty percent is too expensive? At some point we have to go beyond what seems reasonable. At some point we have to take a leap and try new things if we want to go where we have never gone before. Thanks to my wife I am signed up in the Dwolla hackathon coming up in a couple of weeks. I get twenty four hours to develop an application using Dwolla’s API. There are a couple technologies involved which I have not spent enough time playing with. I have not been up for twenty four hours straight since I was up for thirty six hours working on my compiler course project during finals week in 2009. In my case, I am happy to say my answer is still “No.” What’s yours??

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