2023 Update: I was very proud when I wrote this post, so much so I might have humble-bragged a little too much :p For a long time, I beleived my Python and Writing skills were what led this project to be popular. But looking back now, I realise a lot of success of wtfpython can be attributed to me being the first one putting up such a project. That’s not to discount the effort I put into it at the time, or that I don’t know Python (to me it’s a language I’ve been using everyday since 2016), but to acknowledge that the timing was the multiplier that made the project spread so quickly. I didn’t get this luck again, at least so far :) Anyways, back to the original post.
Today calls for celebration for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s my mom’s birthday and secondly, one of my stupid little project just achieved 10k stars on Github.
And unsurprisingly, I was the one who did the 10kth star :p
Since the newspapers, media, blogs are busy in covering 20+ year old adults posing as 16 year old child prodigies, or people selected as GCI mentors, or scammers stealing other people’s work claiming to be their own work, (I want to link all such people I know here, but over the time I’ve learned to “let go” and focus on myself) I wanted to write about myself on my own, not because wtfpython is a super voodoo achievement in the tech world, but it definitely is something that a 2-year-back me won’t have ever dreamed of achieveing (so it’s an achievement on personal grounds). I still can’t believe that something that just started as a fun project, has till now been read by more than 1 lac people, been translated to different languages, made me the highest starred python developer in India, and much more (I’m sorry but a little humblebragging is needed to convey the point of the post).
Apart from what I’ve learned from programming perspective, the journey with this project has taught me a hell lot about life (yeah, yeah, stuff like how to react to different situations, how to define success for myself, etc). wtfpython was also the place where I got a chance to practice some of the knowledege that I learned through the non-fiction books, and see their results at scale. Here are a few things that I’ve realized,
- It’s always much better to downplay yourself. Few-years-back me used to have this “itch” to exaggerate my achievements with an intention of social validation (as if I wanted to prove my worth to the world), but gradually I realized it’s much better to be internally more than what people think of you.
- There’s of course a thing called “luck”, but “being at too many places at too many times” makes this thing more in your favor. There were a lot of lesser-known projects (and blog-posts) of mine prior to this project before this one caught some attention of the people. This, also brings me to next thing I learned,
- You just have to do the right thing with the best efforts you can make, because that’s what you control. The right thing for me at the time of starting with the project, was to learn more about the internals of a language that I loved programming with. Having a perviously written article on Python that accidentally went trending on HN gave me a little confidence to publish this openly on social media, and the things took care of their own from then onwards.
- What lies behind every “personal” (or internal) achievement is a lot of grunt work. It is the grunt work that pays dividends in the long run. I read through a hell lot Python’s docs, in-depth articles about python, wathched a lot of PyCon talks to learn about all the intricacies which I could later introduce in my project. And guess what? It’s paying off now, in terms of opportunities like guest-blogs (I never thought I’d reach a stage where people are willing to pay me to write), course-author, mentoring, etc.
- The best style of doing any work is the one you enjoy the most (and it usually comes naturally to you). I have this habit to ocassionaly include sarcastic stuff (sometimes lame) in my writings, and I was surprised to realize that people actually liked it in wtfpython (there was some criticism also, but I’ve learned to have a thick skin).
Having said that, there’s another thing that changed. Over the time, I realized my social feed growing with people just exaggerating and bragging about whatever they do (getting selected at events where participants were choosen by lotterey, spending a couple of week at any OSS projects before getting selected as GSoC/GCI mentor, traveling to an event in the west where most people would have gone if they had sufficient money, and so on). Little do the people know what initially seems as an excitement and social actitivy, turns into a delusion and craving which is hard to get rid off. I can say this because I myself faced this craving. I had an urge to claim to be “Most starred python developer in India”, but doing that won’t have given me the amount of contentment that I get by being “more than what I appear to be”. This (people dying to pretend to be something they’re not just for the sake of social approval) is one of the reason why I’ve given up on using Facebook & Instagram (I uninstalled the apps completely about 3 months back, and now I just browse for 5 mins or so every few days).
Anyways, that’s all I had to say. One thing wtfpython did for sure is it raised the bar of expectations from myself, and I want to just do the right thing now, “shut myself off and go back to do all the grunt work in another project, one more time!”. Until next time…