This post is about a personal experience that's, by no means, pleasant to me. It taught me some lessons I had already read from other people (not really remember specifics), and it cost me one year of struggle, and $2600 USD to really understand it.
Many times in my life I've been reluctant to quitting stuff. Be it a project, a book, a relationship, damn, even a TV series. If I started something, I'd to push it as far as humanly possible to get to the finish line. This may seem like a winner attitude, but many times, far more than you can imagine, it's quite the opposite.
So, here comes my story...
As the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) started to explode all over the place, the software community was quickly looking for innovative ways to implement these technologies into their products. Even Google changed from a 'mobile-first' to an 'AI-first' approach. So, there was something going on there, and I couldn't miss it.
I started my research to come up with the best resources to learn ML. I ended up going with the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree since I'd already finished a Nanodegree with them, and was happy enough with the results. So, three reasons came to mind while deciding to embark on this journey:
- I've found a reliable learning source
- The set of skills needed were on a dramatically increasing demand
- I'm not any good at probability and statistics, thus I saw this challenge as a way to finally learn them and become a pro
Fast forward one year (that's a couple of days from this post's date), I decided to quit the Nanodegree with only two projects left for graduation. I couldn't do it anymore. I consider myself someone that has a high ability to learn things fast, and understand the core of things. But, hell, probability and statistics are still my Achilles heel.
I was really struggling from the very beginning, until the day I decided to quit. And not just struggling, I may go as far as say I was in pain. Every time I sat there to study and try to understand what was going on, only thing I got was a headache that lasted the rest of the day. So, why continue with it? Because I was so frustrated and scared to fail. How can I not be smart enough to go through this? If someone else can, so do I. Those were my thoughts.
I later realized that even if I'd finished the whole Nanodegree and gotten my diploma, I wouldn't even want to work on something related, again, in my entire life. So, why bother finishing something just for the sake of doing so? Just to show myself that I can do whatever I wanted to? Certainly, I could've finished the Nanodegree, but at what cost? And more importantly, to gain what?
Point being, don't be afraid to quit things. Sometimes it can be healthy. The crucial part is to identify which life endeavors are not worth your time and effort. Many times quitting is not a sign of failure or weakness, but rather a trait of self-awareness. And you can never get enough of it.
So, go and do yourself a favor: find those things that aren't getting you closer to your goals, analyze if you haven't quit due to fear, people's opinions, or ego, and quit.