Recently I have been reading the first few chapters of Patrick Stewart’s Memoir, Making It So: A Memoir . In it he tells the story of his early life. I find it fascinating that very early on it is quite clear he had a life goal. Become the best actor Patrick Stewart can be.
Yes, there are other things in his life but this is what motivates much of what he does. At 12 he went on an 8 day residential drama course, where he met with like minded people that encourage him. So much that he continued to meet with them years after that course finished to grow his skills as an actor. This is something I would encourage everyone to do, find your tribe, find like minded people that will encourage you to grow and learn.
After school he couldn’t see a future in acting professionally so took a job at a newspaper. However when his job interfered with his acting in amateur dramatic groups, it caused him to reassess his priorities and he began saving to go to drama school. While at drama school he continued to improve and grow his acting skills. He has a singular vision in these early years to become an actor, and within a few weeks of finishing his training he had a job as an actor at a theatre. I have got up to the point where he is about to go on a world tour with a theatre group. During his first few jobs he continues to work on his acting skills. There is no doubt in my mind that this sense of continuous improvement helped mold Patrick Stewart into the actor we know today. While I am not a actor, I often think about continuous improvement, how can I be better at what I do.
A film I saw recently has a similar tale of a singular vision. A Million Miles Away tells the story of Jose Hernandez, a man that wanted to be an Astronaut and applied to NASA 12 times (he was rejected 11 times!) He started life as a migrant farm worker, (so similar to Patrick Stewart who also grew up in poverty). He did everything in his power to achieve his goals, and didn’t give up.
Jose Hernandez, when facing failure looked at those that had got into NASA. What did they have that he didn’t? He then worked on those areas to improve himself. He didn’t give up, he kept going. He works on his fitness, he got a pilots license, he learns Russian.
So what’s my point. Have a Big Goal. It can be anything but it needs to be big. My big goal of becoming a developer was achieved many years ago, and since then I have done a fair amount of drifting through life. What I need to do is be more like Patrick Stewart and continue to improve my skills, everyday make myself a better developer. What problems am I facing, lets break them down into manageable goals and get them solved so I can move on to the next lot.