I’ve been involved in mobile development for 3 years now, running Techority for 2. When Techority hit 2,000 approved comments last week I decided it might be interesting to reflect on what I’ve learned over the last few years that applies, (for the most part,) to life in general and not just app development.
Lesson #1 – Never undervalue anyone.
Client, colleague, employee, boss, family, friends – it doesn’t matter who it is, you should never undervalue anyone. This sounds obvious but all too often contributions these people make that are positive to our lives (be they professional or personal) are overlooked. If someone is doing something that improves any aspect of your life and you fail to recognize that, they will eventually stop trying. You can never express too much genuine gratitude, appreciation or recognition.
Lesson #2 – Learn to say “No”.
There are going to be times you have to say “no”, which is incredibly hard if, like myself, you just want everyone to be happy. Help people as often as possible but never go out of your way for someone who clearly doesn’t value your time, your skills or you; there is a very fine line between being a saint and being a doormat, tread it with care. Devote your time to assisting those who deserve it most; the polite, the kind and the sincere.
Lesson #3 – Everyone needs inspiration.
There are plenty of times in life (personal and professional) you’re going to get burned out, and when that happens you need to have something or someone you can turn to in order to keep going. Finding the things that motivate you is incredibly important; you cannot succeed without motivation, which requires inspiration. Motivation plus inspiration equals passion.
Lesson #4 – Learn to take constructive criticism.
You need to be able to accept constructive criticism and improve yourself based on it. That doesn’t mean that you change every single time someone tells you that you are doing something wrong, it just means you have to figure out when you should be taking the advice on board. It wont always be easy to hear but identifying the people in your life who will be honest and candid with you will benefit you in the long run; self improvement is a never-ending journey.
Lesson #5 – You can’t care what other people think.
This doesn’t apply to every situation, you need to gauge it before jumping to this – but ultimately it’s going to hold true a lot of the time. No matter where you come from or who you are, you will find people who think what you do is stupid, who think your ideas are useless, and, in the internet age, who have no clue about who you are but have read your name a few times and decided they don’t like you. The only way to deal with them is to take their vitriol with a very large grain of salt and realize there are billions of people in the world and some of them are going to be assholes.
Lesson #6 – Loyalty matters most.
I firmly believe that loyalty is the single most important quality a person can possess; it is the core of every good relationship, professional or personal, and without it you cannot possibly hope to form any kind of truly meaningful bond or connection with another person. Loyalty will close doors in some situations but maintaining it will open others.
Lesson #7 – Sometimes you just have to be reckless.
Move somewhere new, do something that terrifies you, strike up conversations with people who intimidate you, tell people your true thoughts and feelings, go overseas on a whim with hardly any planning because “f’k it”, expose yourself (please, not literally!) and realize that so long as you aren’t doing anything that will negatively impact on those around you that time is limited, sometimes you have to disregard the consequences in order to get stuff done.
These are some of the more important things I have learned, although I’m really only just scratching the surface – maybe another blog sometime soon.