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February 2023 - Momentum 💨
Hey everyone. How’s it going?
This month, I want to talk about the theme of “momentum.” It’s a very real thing, but we often don’t talk about it very much.
Momentum is what propels us forwards (or, to be honest, backwards) in life. It can work in our favor or work against us. It is invisible and yet very, very real.
It’s also something that I’ve been journaling about a lot this month. Just doing things, even if the attempt is flawed at first, builds the impulse to do them again. Often, the second or third attempts are where the really good results lie.
Good habits and momentum build, and before long you find yourself studying a new language, going to the gym regularly, and practicing your instrument. You start seeing skills become possible that previously felt light years away from you.
On the other hand, momentum can also work against you. If you feel like you’re in stasis and not headed in the direction you want in life, you can start feeling frozen with paralysis.
I want to help you through that. Right now (this second), open up your phone’s notes app and write down the one thing you currently feel like you want most in life (it’s okay, by the way, if it changes in a week or even by tomorrow). Then, come up with something realistic that you can achieve right now to move yourself towards it.
You know where this is going.. 🔥
Next, I want you to hit that small goal by the end of the day (calling that friend you haven’t spoken in a while, booking that flight for travel you’ve been delaying on for years, or whatever it is).
I’ve heard it said that hitting larger goals is really about achieving the smaller ones along the way. Pithy, but still no less true.
This month, focus on building momentum. Start small, work hard, and hit small goals. Before long, you’ll discover yourself flying in ways you didn’t even know were possible.
As always, thank you for reading my newsletter.
Many of you reading this are already subscribed. For the rest, you can sign up for future editions here. I’ll always make room for a new fellow traveler along the way.
“Inside Delta Force” by Eric Haney
Eric Haney was one of the founding members of the United States special operative unit, Delta Force. His biography of his time there is unique in its raw honesty of what goes on behind the scenes both in the special forces as well as in our government’s work.
“Debounce Versus Throttle” by Nathan Thomas
I sat down and coded up a blogging side to my personal site (from scratch) this month, so I’ll be publishing all my articles there from now on. This article is about the differences between the debounce and throttle functions, two utilities that appear the same when you’re learning but actually have quite different use cases.
“Rust in Action” by Time McNamara
Before buying this book, I found it universally praised as a great way to learn Rust. I’m about 3 chapters in so far and can already see why Rust is used as a fast and efficient language for many of today’s modern, cutting edge developer tools.
PyTorch for Beginners
This course from FreeCodeCamp is a great way to get an introduction to machine learning, deep learning, and PyTorch. Note that it expects you’ve already spent some time in the trenches with Python as a language; if you fit that mold and have been wanting to learn how to build models in our current AI boom, this should probably be your starting point.
Build a Zelda Clone with Python
I didn’t intend this newsletter to by Python-heavy in the coding section when I started putting it together. Oh well. Many of you reading this newsletter also have a huge soft spot for The Legend of Zelda games from growing up, and I’m not exception. This course will teach you how to build a Python-based Legend of Zelda clone from scratch; you’ll be able to extend it in all sorts of interesting ways. Who knows… perhaps you’ll make the next Stardew Valley.
I have been debating putting this game in my newsletter for months now. Despite its (controversial) name, this game is extraordinary. Many of you might remember spending hours as a kid playing “Mafia” with your friends (which usually used normal poker cards to deal out what role people were supposed to play).
Secret Hitler is like that classic childhood game but extended to include board game components. According to the game’s website, “Secret Hitler is a social deduction game for 5-10 people about finding and stopping Hitler and a fascist takeover.”
I used to play this game a lot at Twitter with my coworkers on Wednesday board game nights, so I’m a bit biased in that I have a lot of great memories from playing this.
“Fantasy” by M83
M83 is almost certainly a band you’ve heard before. I can confidently say that because you’ve probably heard their biggest hit blasting in a mall or at a Taco Bell sometime in the last 10 years:
Their new album, “Fantasy,” is a completely different flavor but good in its own way. It feels tired yet familiar and has become a stable in the last few weeks to listen to while I work (Apple Music link and Spotify below).
“Catching lightning in a bottle, then keeping it” by Garry Tan
It’s hard not to feel inspired by Garry’s videos, and this one is no different. It details how to keep momentum when building a company, something I’ve been turning in my mind like a stone held in my hand all this month. I hope you enjoy this video.
“How to stand out (without getting shot down)” by Garry Tan
Two Garry videos in one month? I felt doubly inspired, so I included this one as well. Garry talks through what it takes to burn bright and make your mark. Trust me when I say (as someone who literally went from being unemployed to one of the biggest tech companies and then startups around in tech) that standing out can build jealousy in some people which will rear its ugly head from time-to-time. People wish they were bold enough to follow their dreams too, and sometimes they even feel threatened by you.
If you’ve ever had this happen to you (or want to learn how to handle it), check out this video: