In August last year I wrote about expanding my personal capacity. I wrote about how – for about two years – I didn’t take new challenges and just kept doing what I had been doing. As a result, I didn’t expand my capacity.
Of course, that’s not a good situation to be in. So, realizing that, I began to work on a new challenge. I’ve been working on it since then and by now I’ve been working on it for several months.
What I didn’t tell you was what the challenge is. Well, now I’m ready to tell you about it :)
My New Challenge
As you might know from my About page, I have a background in computer science. Coding is one of my passions. However, I had been neglecting that passion for years and pursued my other passions instead. I still worked as a lecturer in information technology but there was nothing else I did. I didn’t have any project nor learn new technologies. In short, I just left my coding potential unused.
Realizing this led me to write about discovering your idle potential. Coding was the one for me so I decided to do something with it.
After exploring a few options, I eventually decided to get into application development for the iPhone. I love the iPhone (although what I actually have is an iPod touch) and I love mobile application development. While I needed to make some sacrifices (like having to buy a Mac; I couldn’t use my Windows machine for it), I find the challenge exciting.
So here I am, doing application development for the iPhone.
After working on it for a few months, in April I eventually published my first app on the App Store. I’m not ready yet to talk about the app here, but I’d like to share with you the lessons I’ve learned so far. I hope you will find these lessons useful for working on your own challenge.
1. Choose something you are passionate about
I know I’ve talked about it over and over again on this blog. But there’s a good reason for that: passion does make a difference. The journey to success is long and difficult. If you’re not passionate about the process then you might not be able to go through it.
In my case, it wasn’t easy for me to learn to code for the iPhone, let alone building a successful business around it (something I’m still struggling with). But the passion sustains me in the process.
2. There is a price to pay for success
Success doesn’t come cheap. There is a price to pay for it and you must be willing to pay it. Perhaps that means spending a lot of time to learn a new skill. Perhaps that means sacrificing some of the activities you enjoy. Whatever it is, you must be willing to pay the price if you want to be successful.
3. The race is a marathon, not a sprint
Understanding this principle could make the difference between a victory (albeit taking a long time) and a defeat.
Some people want an overnight success, but there is no such thing as an overnight success. One of the most successful apps for the iPhone is Angry Birds. It might seem like an overnight success, but the truth is that Rovio (the developer) had worked on mobile game development since 2003. When Angry Birds got popular in 2010, the “overnight” success already had seven years of effort behind it!
So, whatever you want to achieve, be prepared for a long journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Those who endure will win.
4. Learn from the best players
If you want to be successful, learn from those who have been successful before you. Why should you waste time figuring things out by yourself when someone else has? Learning from the best players in your field will save you a lot of time in the process.
In my case, I learn from the successful apps out there. When I have spare time, I often play with them. What makes them successful? What can I learn from them? It takes time for me to “get it” and I’m not there yet, but I believe I will.
5. Get into the real world as soon as possible
Real-world experience can teach you more than the best books can. So whatever you do, try to get into the real world as soon as you can.
I made a mistake here by reading and thinking too much rather than getting something out there as soon as possible. Now that I have an app on the App Store, I can really feel the market. I can taste the dynamics of the market, not from what other people say, but from my own experience. There’s a big difference between them.
My journey in the app development world really expands my capacity. I love it though there is still a long way to go for me.
What about you? What challenge do you take and how do you work on it?
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Photo by iane machado