Nothing recently has struck me quite like Paul Graham's latest essay What I Worked On. Paul takes you through his professional life from college, to art school, to his first jobs, to founding ViaWeb, and eventually to Y Combinator. The essay helped me connect with the winding path that Paul, and most of us, go through, no matter how "up and to the right" history tells the story. It also reminded me of this Steve Jobs quote about looking back on your life: "You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."
I started writing down my personal story a few months ago, with the goal of hopefully seeing my own dots connect. It's a mentally and emotionally exhausting exercise. I think I got through the middle of college before I got worn out, and I haven't re-visited it since. Paul Graham's essay inspired me to pick that back up. I feel like my story could also be inspiring, even if is only is for myself.
I was extremely long-winded writing my own story. I had a lot to get out, as I'm sure most of us would. I knew that it would probably take me weeks to finish, and it would be a super personal version that I definitely would not want to publish. So, when I saw this thread on Twitter, where someone I followed wrote the tweet-version of what they worked on, I knew that a Twitter thread great way for me to get something out.
I left a lot of important detail out when writing my own "What I Worked On" thread, but it was highly therapeutic. I knocked it out in about an hour, but I was physically shaking while I was writing it. The emotional pressure of writing your story out, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and seeing the dots connect as you write actually caused a physical reaction. I was afraid to press "Tweet All." I immediately shut my laptop and went to bed right after (probably not advisable). But, I woke up to a few likes (2-3 is a lot for me), and I'm glad that I did it. Who knew that there was a mentally healthy use case for likes?
So, here it is.
What I Worked On - Twitter Thread version:
My Dots: Never get complacent and feel like you "made it," find the one person or group that believes in you (even if it's just yourself), and keep on making things.