I'm a 17 year old Software Developer and Student from Scotland.
The word "amateur" has many connotations: beginner, inexperienced... To me, it’s someone who is doing something for the love of it, and not seeking fame or recognition in return.
That’s a huge advantage amateurs have over professionals. They aren’t afraid of experimenting, making mistakes, trying something new.
When someone feels genuinely passionate about what they are doing, the overall final outcome, be that an article or product, that they produce is often far superior to those of people who focus solely on said outcome. In essence, focus on the journey, not the destination.
Think back to school. (For me, it's not that far back.) Think about a subject you disliked, hated, or at least didn't enjoy, and how much effort and turmoil it took to study and learn that subject, purely for the exam grade that came at the end of the year.
Now think about your hobby, your passion; you can easily sink hundreds of hours researching and learning about it, why?
Because it piques your curiosity.
In my experience, being curious is the single most defining trait that I see leading to success for both myself and others.
Curiosity allows you to be comfortable with the unknown, and inspires you to understand more, seek more, learn more.
The past 100 years have not put curiosity first. Traditional schools, corporations, and churches didn’t just deter open inquiry and experimentation—they feared it.
Instead, they rewarded emulation.
Any sort of innovation or questioning was limited to a few people at the very tippy top of the food chain, with everyone else expected to be a good little worker bee.
But the internet has inverted that model. Today, it seems that it's the ones who fail to experiment, innovate, or challenge who get left behind....
It doesn’t matter what you are trying to become better at, if you only do the work when you’re "motivated", then you’ll never be consistent enough to become a professional.
If you get started on a project/task/job, you will quickly become motivated to keep going, and to do better. The ability to show up everyday, stick to the schedule, and do the work — especially when you don’t feel like it — is so valuable that it is literally all you need to become better 99% of the time.
When I don’t miss workouts, I get in the best shape of my life.
When I code every day, I become a better programmer.
When I write every week, I become a better writer.
Having the fundamental enjoyment that comes with being an amateur, and the determination and drive that comes with being curious about what you're doing, catalyses this effect 10 fold.
I had never built one before, and it was whole new world to me, but let me tell you... it was the most fun I'd had in a long time.
I got sucked into the Chrome ecosystem, and learned so much about the inner workings of the browser and Google itself.
This thrill of being completely new to and confused about something triggered the most productive coding stint I've ever had.
I managed to get a fully-featured, working product out in under 6 hours!
Enjoying what you do and having that curiosity to push you really is a fucking super-power.
The classic hating your job, but tolerating it so you can 'enjoy' retirement at 60 is a fallacy that we no longer need to live by.
Despite some people's opinions, most of the time, you can and should monetize your hobbies.
If you enjoy it, you're gonna be a good at it, and whatever you're good at will have a value associated with it!
Put yourself out there, share what you are working on, and who knows: one day it might set you free!
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