Noel Rappin Writes Here

Experts, Passion, and Pinpoint Control

Posted on January 31, 2014 development

Quick and random:

The book Ball Four) had a big impact on me as a kid. I stumbled across a copy when I was about 12. If you don’t know, Ball Four, written by Jim Bouton and published in 1970, was one of the first big athlete tell-alls (though it seems much tamer these days than it did when it came out…) Anyway, a lot of the book can be read as the story of an articulate outcast trying to understand and navigate the other teammates that he’s basically stuck with.

One passage from the book that’s always stuck with me, is this one, which is Bouton taking about his early career:

When I first came up I thought major-league pitchers had pinpoint control, and I was worried that the best I could do was hit an area about a foot square. Then I found out that’s what everybody meant by pinpoint control, and that I had it.

How great is that? That is a form of impostor syndrome from a major-league pitcher.

It’s a strategy I use to this day – when I’m upset because I’m not sure if I qualify for some vague category like expert, or passionate programmer, or author, or senior developer, I at least consider the possibility that I’m setting the bar for that term too high, and that I’m already that thing.

Because experts look things up.

And senior developers ask for help.

And passionate programmers do other things sometimes.

And pinpoint control is a foot square.



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