Starting a new obsession

I love learning how to do things. It’s pretty much my favourite thing in the world. It’s also one reason why my list of obsessions keeps growing. Whenever you learn something new, you find all this other stuff you want to learn about. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Of course, enjoying the experience of learning doesn’t always mean I can remember everything. And it can be hard to keep track of everything I have learned, started, or would have liked to learn. That’s the main reason I started this blog, for example.

So, how do you start something completely new?

Fail early, fail often

For me, the trick is to start small, and gradually tackle more complicated projects as you figure out each step. (Groundbreaking research, I know.) It sounds simple, but it’s an easy lesson to forget, and it bears repeating. Because your worst enemy is going to be impatience, and the fastest way to lose momentum (or give up) is to skip too many steps.

But the real trick is to repeat the same small project a few times to make sure you get all the parts of it right. This is a common approach in tech development. A colleague of mine recently became obsessed with a George Bizos quote that expresses this idea: “Fail early, fail often, in order to succeed.” In other words, prepare to repeat the same thing a few times and don’t set out to get it perfect first time. Rather prepare to make a flawed first attempt and learn from there.

Learn from others

Fortunately, you don’t need to do anything alone. You can teach yourself how to do pretty much anything so long as you have the aptitude, patience, and curiosity, as well as a good internet connection and the luxury of free time. (And money. Being able to afford the basic tools really helps. And earning enough to have free time, sadly.)

Keep asking people you know for advice. Find people or sites online that can give you advice based on your level of skill and experience. But you also need to have reasonable expectations. Otherwise you’ll attempt an endurance marathon like a professional athlete

Get inspired!

One of my favourite parts of being a nerd is realising how many other people share my inclination. Knowing that I am not unique in this makes me very happy. What is better than a world that has all these interesting people who love creating amazing things?

It’s worth finding some way to keep track of all the cool things you love. I recommend using some kind of an app like Evernote or Pocket, or even a physical journal if you prefer.

I find it particularly helpful when I have lost a bit of steam with a project. It’s a great way to remind yourself about why you started a project in the first place.

Keep a record

Welcome to the NerdVerse! As I mentioned above, this blog started partly as a way for me to keep a record of things I’ve learned and done as part of the whole nerding experience. I have several DIY projects on the go, and I have started documenting each step of the process. I just wish I had started doing it earlier.

Here’s to learning and trying new things. Because we only get this once chance to do everything we’d like.