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Always Searching for Answers

And the Paralysis That Comes with Doing So

I'm overly anxious, always concerned about one thing or another. Generally speaking, I'm uncomfortable with not knowing what's to come or how to do something, so I seek out answers to those unknowns.

As a software developer, I rely heavily on Google to look up solutions to any challenges or issues I face when writing code. Majority of the time, someone else also came across the same issue and as such, an answer is typically posted somewhere on the web.

As I've gotten older, I've realized this same approach of searching for answers can also be applied to life's own problems. For example, here is a random list of some of my own Google searches:

  • doing stuff alone terrifies me
  • combative to working / cannot focus on work
  • want to write but unsure what to write about

This very blog post was inspired by a homonymous Google search: "always searching for answers". But what happens when one applies this resourcefulness to all aspects of their life? The short answer as it applies to me: nothing gets done.

Why Do I Do This

There are several reasons I can think of as to why I'm always searching for answers:

  • I struggle with wanting to do things the "best" way by following "best practices"
    • this is possibly due to a lack in confidence in my own abilities
  • want to save myself from failing if I can just do it right the first time
    • because I'm scared of failing, looking for answers is like an avoidance tactic
    • I also forget that failing is the key to success so I'm not doing myself any favors by "protecting" myself
  • I'm lazy: don't want to discover the solutions myself; would rather use someone elses findings

What's The Problem

When I find myself searching for answers to every little nuisance in my life, it takes time away from doing the things I actually want to do. As a result, I end up feeling stuck because now I'm no longer making any progress. This goes against a critical phase in advancing any creative's skills from novice to expert: "…do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work."

How Can I Fix This

Fears aside, I need to start doing what I want to do, regardless of the outcomes (be it failure or success). At this point in my journey, results shouldn't matter. Instead, I need to be focused on producing that volume of work in order to close the gap. Rarely does someone who's wet behind the ears strike gold and produce/develop a highly-regarded piece of work. This is a key aspect I often overlook when ruminating on my own journey as a developer.

Since I've somehow forgotten Glass' advice since first reading it a little over a year ago, I've also decided to print out his The Gap quote. The plan is to read it once every day, reminding myself that my current goal is to close that gap between taste and talent and to do so through my own efforts.

Cedric Amaya

Written by Cedric Amaya, a software engineer who enjoys occasionally taking a break from coding to write about what is on his mind. You should follow him on Twitter.