There’s no use sitting on Bench if you are not ready to PLAY

There’s no use sitting on Bench if you are NOT ready to play, Right!!

I’m not sure who originally said that BUT I remember it from the movie Constantine (Remember, Chas Kramer – John Constantine’s sidekick)

I’m sure many of you might have heard this quote in one form or the other, BUT very few might have actually thought about how it could change the way we feel about our work, career or Life.

This line of thought holds good for a lot of scenarios in life.
Be it education, profession, sports. Just about anything and everything.

You know how back in school there were kids who used to pull up their socks just before exams (I was one of those kids. 🙂 🙁 )
Kids like ME then slogged all night to get done with the syllabus.
And there were kids who used to study all year round, and not just during exams. It might have not made much a difference back then (I have years of anecdotal proof that I used to KILL it with my 11th hour preps ;)), but in the real world it does make a difference if you are not “Match Fit” or “Ready to PLAY” at all times.

Take for instance sports. Not all of the players keep on playing all the time. Also, new players who get an opportunity to play usually don’t get much time to prove their worth now-a-days. You have to be match fit at all times.
If all you do is wait for your chance to play and seldom practice, are you really gonna perform as good as you would have if you’d have diligently practiced all along. NO.

The idea is not to start working only when you see an opportunity coming along, but instead, work in a way that you create that opportunity for yourself.

Its quite similar to the Law Of Attraction. If you really want something and you channel all your energies towards it, it’ll eventually come to you.

You need not work directly towards achieving it but instead try to find and perfect the means and tools required to reach that goal.

Like famously quoted by Baba Ranchhoddas chhanchad in 3 Idiots (subtitled in English) :

Do not strive to be successful. Strive to achieve excellence instead, success WILL come looking for you. (Success ke peeche matt bhago, Excellence ka peecha karo, success jhakk marr ke peeche aayegi)

I could come up with numerous analogies to emphasize the importance of practicing and perfecting one’s skill so that you are ready when your Day/moment of reckoning cometh. But I would like to put out my views in the context of the software industry (after all I am a Software Developer)

I believe most of the readers of this blog (I know there aren’t many, lets just humor me. 😉 ) would be salaried employees.
Not all of us are lucky enough to be working on projects all year round. Also, not always are the projects we work on engaging enough in terms of learning or career progression.

Just remember one thing always, at the end of the day you are working only and only for yourself and not for your employer.

What you deliver and learn while you are working on a project helps your employer indeed. BUT what it really does is that it adds up to your Skillset and that’s what will help you in achieving what you want (success, money, better job, you name it).

So why should it be any different when you are not working on a project? Why should it be any different if you are on “Bench”?
It should NOT be. Remember how you should be “match fit” at all times if you wanna perform when opportunity knocks.
Moreover if you keep on enhancing your skills all along, you’ll be able to achieve that one target (success, fame, money) YOU have set out for (not the targets set for you by your employer).

It may sound a lot to do for some LazzyAss people (me included), BUT if you really know what you want to do or what you like to do, you should dive into it and start getting involved.

Just to get you guys started, I’ll suggest some ideas when you have time to spare(don’t panic.. :P)

  1. Try to really understand what you have learnt till now. The best way to put your understanding of a subject to test is by teaching it to someone else.
  2. Think up “problem statements” yourself and try implementing them in code.
  3. Get up to speed with the latest in programming. It pushes you to learn at a accelerated pace, since the pace at which programming is evolving is mid-blowing.
  4. Create pet projects in your organization which help you or your team in getting more productive
  5. Most importantly follow the rule (Read/Learn)->Practice->(Teach/Discuss/Blog).
  6. Energize and engage people around to do the same (Discuss & share)

There are times when you aspire to be like someone (role model), but there are times when you need to inspire people around you.

<Aspire to Inspire>
Aspire to be someone who can inspire people to be like yourself.
</Aspire to Inspire>

I hope I got the point through to all my friends and readers of this blog.
The idea is simple.

If you really like to play, then PRACTICE.