Master the Boring

Don't let the boring be your downfall

March 9, 2023

I've recently become a fan of Fieldcraft Survival it is a company that brings together many of the hobbies, skills, and interests I've been developing either in recent years or throughout my life. Their big focus is preparedness and a part of their philosophy is that in being prepared for the worst case scenario you are also prepared for every other more likely type of emergency. Probably the most popular worst case scenario for people to talk about these days is societal collapse and occasionally I'll find myself falling down a rabbit hole on YouTube watching stuff from people who focus quite a bit on societal collapse and developing the skills and resources necessary to survive in that kind of an environment. In my decent into those rabbit holes I've come across one guy who constantly expresses an idea that I found to be quite profound and applicable to just about everything important in life: mastery of the boring stuff is what wins wars.

Let's examine that idea in his societal collapse/civil war type scenario. Learning about, acquiring, and practicing with guns, other weapons, and tactical gear is fun and exciting; on the other hand learning about, acquiring, and practicing with HAM radio equipment is really boring to most people and yet having a good way to communicate and gather information when you can't rely on phones or the internet is probably more important than being prepared for a gunfight. Having a reliable off-grid power solution is quite interesting and useful for a lot of people, while gardening has fallen out of popularity these days but humans have lived for thousands of years without electricity but you you won't last more than a few months without food. It is fun to modify a truck or SUV to be capable off road so it can be used as a bug-out rig, but how many people are training themselves to be able to walk long distances carrying heavy packs once they run out of gas? If you say you are prepping for societal collapse or something but you are only doing the fun things then you're setting yourself up for failure, if society actually did collapse you'd die.

Now let's step away from the whole societal collapse thing, although the recent terrorist attacks in Atlanta show that it is not impossible in America, and it happens all the time around the world (Ukraine being the most prominent recent example) societal collapse is not something that I spend a lot of time stressing about because it is not healthy to do so. And more importantly, you should be striving to master the boring things in all areas of life.

In the software development world writing code to make ideas come to life is probably the most fun an fulfilling thing to do, and if you are only writing software for yourself, or at least software that nobody else will ever work on, you can get away with spending almost all of your time doing just that. But in a collaborative environment you can't, you need to document your code because it sucks to work with code that someone else wrote that has no good documentation. I had to do it in school all the time with code that professors gave me to build off of, I eventually gained the habit of going through the code I was provided at the beginning of every assignment and creating my own documentation for it so that I could have something to easily reference to aid me in completing my assignment. I'd find it refreshing to be able to visit to find good documentation there and wished all code could be documented like that, but it of course isn't because writing documentation for code is really boring. Eventually I got over how boring it was and I started documenting my own code, nobody told me to and nobody other than me ever saw my documentation, but when I did I became much more effective. Doing that boring task made me, and will make you a much better software developer, in fact I'd argue that no matter how good the code you write is you can't call yourself a good software developer if you aren't documenting your code.

There are plenty of other places where doing the boring stuff is essential. Lifting weights is much more exciting than running but you need to do both to be well rounded in your fitness. Writing can be fun but proofreading is boring which is why I don't do it but I'd have a better quality website if I did proofread. Watching a video is much more entertaining than reading but reading is a much more effective learning method. Then there are all the other boring chores that you just have to do no matter what, the dishes have to get done, your clothes have to get washed, and the trash has to be taken out none of these things are going to happen on their own. I used to work on a farm so I am no stranger to boring repetitive tasks, life is better off if you just learn them and get them done.