It never fails. Each time I watch the movie Peaceful Warrior, I get something good from it. Yesterday I was having a long conversation with a friend, L. about mindfulness, stress, and overthinking, and told her about the scene in the movie where Socrates pushes Dan off the Strawberry River Bridge.
So then I put on the movie and watched the whole damn thing. Which by the way you can too, for free, right here.
I stumbled across this other scene that really, really got to me. It's at about 1 hour, 33 minutes. I don't want to spoil it for you. If you haven't seen the movie and don't want to watch the whole thing, go ahead and just slide that sucker over, and watch for a few minutes. You'll get the important stuff.
The key thing is this - there's this lesson we've been taught all our lives, practice makes perfect. But actually, that's a lie. The practice isn't about the perfection. It's about the practice itself. We really can't control what happens to us. We have no idea how the story is going to turn out, except for one thing, which is that every story ends. (We all die eventually. Cheery, huh?) It's not the ending that's the good part, it's the whole story.
I saw this in effect in my own life, immediately. I have this particular coding problem I've been banging my face against for days. Out of pride, I've been trying to teach it to myself, with minimal help from professional colleagues. I have this sort of online forum I hang out in where we all gather to exchange information, answer questions, etc. I've been pinging members of the group privately asking for pointers, but trying not to do so in the main public chat. After I watched the movie, I realized I was blocking myself out of pride. I feared showing these folks as a whole, that I wasn't capable, didn't know enough. One of the more senior members of the group took me to task for it, saying that the questions I had asked him really could have benefitted the whole group, so why not ask them publicly?
I did. Two folks stepped out and helped me reason out the thing blocking me from solving my problem. Together the three of us worked it out. And you know what? I loved doing that. Sometimes I forget that what I love about programming is making something out of nothing, wrapping my head around a problem, and without ego or pride, working with others to create something.
Like everything in my life, it's a practice.