I still remember the first time that I really wanted to be good at something. I am not even sure what organization was sponsoring our efforts but we were selling home first aid kits. It was back in the fifties. We did cold calling door to door. I might have been six years old and I got my first taste of being really successful at something.
It turns out that the feeling of doing some very well and getting some recognition for it is very addictive. I have been chasing that feeling all my life.
The interesting thing is that the contest long ago became one of me trying to best myself. Maybe circumstances drove me in that direction or perhaps that is just the way that I am wired through the influence of my mother and father.
That great feeling of success now comes when I accomplish something that I thought perhaps that I could not do. Over the years I have stretched myself in different directions and tried things that I never would have guessed possible. I have even enjoyed a labor of love or two to keep me going.
Sometimes when I contemplate a task that I have not done in a long time, I hesitate for a moment as I worry that maybe I have forgotten how to do it. Then somehow my hands seem to take control and the skill that I mastered long ago comes back.
Above all the lesson is never stop learning. Always assume that there is more to learn, a better way to do it or explain it, and that what you have built, created, or written can always be made better.
I wrote long ago that fire in the belly as a metaphor is not a perfect fit for me. A better image is a smoldering ember that never dies and can be fanned to a hot flame if need be.
When Apple decided they no longer needed my services after nearly twenty years of remarkable success, I was heart broken. A good friend convinced me that my best days were yet to be. It was tough to believe at the time, but now eleven years later, his prediction seems on target.
There never was an option to sit in a rocking chair and reflect on what was. It has always been about dreaming of what might be and trying to achieve it.