“OMG, u guys! We’re in India, yo!”
-Christopher Columbus, upon landing in the Bahamas
Christopher Columbus discovered* America by mistake. He knew where he wanted to go, and he was heading in that direction, but traversing thousands of miles of open water using 15th Century technology doesn’t offer any guarantees.
We progeeks don’t have any guarantees either. To be at the forefront of discovery means you have to sail through uncharted waters.** You may not end up where you intended to go, but any destination reached through passion and courage is somewhere worth discovering. But, some of you may be wondering, what happens to all the false starts and rough drafts and neat stuff you created but can’t use? Fret not. Your efforts were not in vain.
When you start out doing something new, you don’t know what you’re doing. No one does. It’s new. So who is to say which methods are best? You need to experiment.
An experimenter should not emotionally care if their hypothesis is true or not. They just have to find out IF it’s true or not. There’s no “Ha-ha, I was right and you were wrong.” It’s only about figuring out what’s going on.
Therefore, any path you choose, “correct” or “incorrect,” is part of finding out how the whole thing works. Anything and everything is a contribution. All steps, even the so-called mistakes, are valuable because a negative answer still provides useful information.
Take a step back and remember that you are on a mission of discovery. Any result is a good result, because it tells you something. If need be, explain THAT to the next sea monster you encounter.
*Okay, so maybe “discovered” isn’t the word, but you get what I mean.
**However, our sea monsters tend to take the form of short-sighted advisors and insistent upholders of the status quo.