I like to think I rarely use this space to get very personal but I think a lot of us suffer from this affliction and therefore I feel safe discussing it.
I’m the kind of person who has a problem with obtaining better and better items to attempt to assist whatever hobby I’m into. Let me give you the moral of the story up front; in most situations, the tools of the trade, no matter how expensive or fancy they are, will not suddenly give you super powers to be awesome at what you try.
Example: I have spent many months of my past 2 years very much into fountain pens and attempting to improve my handwriting. During that time, I’ve used $5 chinese fountain pens and $300 Italian pens and guess what? I wrote the same regardless of the pen. No matter how desperate I was to think that a $300 pen was going to magically transform my abilities, it did nothing except empty my wallet more than it needed to.
If you took a peek into my garage you’d see a fully custom BMX bike that I built from some of the best parts I could afford. This bike is strong, fairly light, and tailored to my needs as a 6’2″ guy who rides a 20″ bike. Regardless of the ~$650 I spent building this bike, I still can’t ride any better than I could on the cheapo bike I borrowed to get into the hobby. Sure, I had a blast building it and I learned a lot about bikes and fixing them which I don’t want to discount, but in the grand scheme of things, that bike brings very little to the table in terms of making my skills any better.
You know what would make my skills better? If I stopped focusing on the objects involved and started focusing on me. You don’t need 5 books on a programming language to learn it, the internet has probably everything we need and most of us learn better from trial and error anyway. You don’t need a $3,000 road bike to pedal to work, what you really need is a bike in general and the will and focus to get out there and ride every day.
The only thing that will truly make you better at something is what’s inside you. You can’t give up, you can’t stop because it’s too hard, you have to push and push until you get somewhere. Celebrate every little triumph but know that the big money bike, pen, gun, etc.. most likely did nothing to bring you that success.
I’ve been repeating a mantra similar to this a lot lately. Hopefully it sinks in and I can begin to spend my time learning vs spending money.