It’s not about you.

For the past 2-3 months I’ve been singing in a small choir. I started in October along with a few other new faces. It turned out to be a more exciting pastime than I expected.
First came the singing. Then some songs. Then, with all the other parties (altos, sopranos…) it became so much more interesting.

In a few weeks we were getting ready for our first concert for the season. Rehearsals had to move quicker. We had to practice at home, if we were to be properly prepared.

Basically it was that last Sprint before a new release.

And we all adjusted to that and became more focused at rehearsals.
Well… not all of us.

There was one person who seemed to have missed what’s going on. He was one of the newbies who I started with. Amazing voice – deep, full, sparkly, a joy to listen to… if he  actually controlled it for a minute. But he was satisfied with “a joy to listen to” – boy did he literally enjoy the sound of his own voice.
He’d outshout the whole choir, even at times when he hadn’t learned the song well and would throw the performance in mayhem.
Or the director would instruct him to not sing a particular note that was hard for him, but he’d try it anyway and sound bad.
It was actually funny for a little while. And he’s a good guy, I don’t have anything personal against him, it’s just that this behavior is something too often seen in all kinds of team sports such as choir singing or software development.

Most everyone has been guilty of it at least once.
Maybe you wanted to put everything in containers just because you learned a bunch of Docker and everyone was raving about it on the interwebz.
Or refused to use a ready-made tool in favor of reinventing the wheel.
Or you really wanted to use a specific programming language for a task it was definitely not well suited for.
(I mean you could write website backend in C if you really wanted to!)

And as our concert approached our gifted friend would interrupt practice with personal anecdotes, completely oblivious to the tight schedule we were on.
At a certain point when he missed a few key rehearsals to go to parties or God knows where, he was invited to leave the choir.

In the end our performances were better without one of our most gifted members.

What a great reminder that no single virtue is enough.
Natural talent just goes wasted without the right attitude.
And lack of talent can be mediated for with enough selflessness and putting in the work.
Granted you aren’t likely to be the next Bill Gates or Freddie Mercury without a great knack for anything!
But I sincerely believe reaching 80% of your potential X is better than reaching 40% of your potential 2X.
In the end there is more to life than the one field you’re most dedicated to.
If you’re a ninja coder and piggy back on that at work, you are missing out on building character. You will have a harder time when you need to do other things to which you don’t have a predisposition, be it building a family or taking care of your home, etc.

Funny how this text started as “it’s not all about you (being a team player and goal-oriented)” and naturally steered towards a kind of personal advice. In the end it is you who benefits the most when you know how to get over yourself.

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