Tesla is quoted as say this:
I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
In my case I've seen and experienced this description often. It doesn't even matter to me that one of my greatest heroes is attributed to these words. The statement resonates with me. I know it, I feel it, and I've experienced it many times -to the detriment of my body, those whom express their love for me, my well being, everything. And all the while, with the knowledge that most (if not all) of my greatest moments will be ultimately and forever lost, unknown, or ignored.
I'm an introvert by nature. I'm often perceived, in person, as extroverted but that is from a childhood of training to appear less than introverted -some people I meet find me to be an Alpha type personality and tell me so. It's a show. It's a learned skill -of which I'm become less interested in exerting as I age. My point it saying this, here, is to assert that people, mostly, are not whom you perceive. And this is not a bad thing IMHO -although it is often considered to be intentionally deceptive to and end. In my experience, people like myself are abound and trying to fit in, because social norms would otherwise make us pariah -and do.
Most of us developers, whether we admit it or not (I can make a case for all -some other time) follow a personalized routine when presented with a new problem to solve. This routine often involves some evaluation of self. I believe all new development projects begin with a) a great idea, and b) an immediate evaluation of resources to produce the idea relative to resources. Again, this involves a self evaluation and whether one can either produce the product on one's own, delegate the production of the product to someone else, or fail.
And failure is not something to be taken lightly. The feeling of failure drudges up the stuff of our being from the murky sediment of our whole being: who we are through experience, who we are perceived to be by others -and our self identity and agenda relative to thus and thereof, who we want to be, and what we perceive to be, for each individual, in the context of our own perceived existence. In short, any and all failure provides myriad opportunities to "draw lines in the sand" / to take a stand and defend a position -right or wrong.
But, as a programmer/coder/software-engineer/creative-person, this is very failure is what we thrive upon, how we move forward -"Thy will be done!" in our own image. Or we give in to failure and wither and die or take our own lives or otherwise find any number of self destructive behaviors which will provide enough short term pleasure that we can forget that we are killing ourselves outright. That we reflect upon our successes and failures is our nature. As humans we do so constantly -e.g. instant gratification often overpowers long term goals relative to our day to day activities -this is the norm. And there is nothing wrong with this behavior in measured doses. It provides perspective -the bane of humanity overall. Once we embrace that our own perspectives are contextual we begin to understand why, ourselves, behave the way we do -and we begin to empathize with others; and know that every person suffers, at least, in some similar ways. Endeavor to Persevere!
I've just "finished" a project (to be launched later today-ish: mmmm self promotion!) and, as usual, I am reflecting on what it took for me to product this latest thing -and more importantly why I bothered to do so in the first place. I am making the project open source -why am I doing that, what causes me to feel that I should, or could dare to even produce something that might be useful to anyone? I don't currently understand why I feel compelled to release works to the ether that have caused me 100's or 1000's of hours of pain and suffering and joy and elation. Maybe it's an exercise in masturbation -with, apparently a lot of edging involved... but I digress.... I only know that the drive to 'build the thing' "feels" important and that it's a driving force in my life. It's an addiction. But I'm not so sure that the behavior is ultimately destructive or perilous. But, perhaps, someone in my self imposed social and economic position would believe something like that in the first place. Ha!
I've known friends over the years who failed, picked themselves up and found new ways to be happy with their lives, etc. I am glad that I know many more people who are living and thriving than those who are not. But I've seen the toll invention (developing and such) can take one people. And, from my life experience at 47 I like to say that I lost count of the persons I've known to have commit suicide is "11" -it's a throwback to a Tool song.... The real number is much higher. And, for whatever reason, I've been blessed with knowing a tremendous number of beautiful people while suffering the loss of a large percentage of them -many of them developers -all artists nonetheless! Every friend, associate, or acquaintance I've known to commit suicide has left me with a cumulative level of despair. All the while, as I've outlined and attempted to rationalize in this article, I understand that it's part of the process. ...as cold as that may sound.
I hope this article was helpful or, at least, informative. It's not all doom an gloom - I promise. I guess it comes down to whatever reason you are getting on the roller-coaster in the first place.
I'm a big music + lyrics fan and I love Gary Numan: For me this song was / is apropos in the 'pick yourself up regardless of whether YOU PERCEIVE anyone else cares' point of view: