Getting back to my roots

It’s time to get back to where it all started. What it, this, was really all about for me. The idea that everyone has valuable perspectives and insight that can help someone else on their journey. That we’re all just here to make the best of our chance to live a truly great life.

For those of you who don’t know me, and I don’t expect many to, I spent about 3 to 4 years consistently creating content on Instagram related to personal development and software engineering. I found an interesting niche for myself in which I shared quite candidly my own thoughts and challenges as I, well, “grew up” as a young adult and got into personal development, whilst making my own path in software engineering.

This blog, this website, will be a continuation of that work. And I intend to catalogue all those posts on this website as well for archiving purposes. But most of all, this is about me continuing to share my own journey while, I hope, being able to give perspectives and maybe even help someone along the way.

A quick background check

Back in the year 2014, as of this posting almost exactly 8 years ago, I had just started my 1st year (of 2) at YRGO that was going to accelarate my career in software engineering. This was a very intense “Higher Vocational Education” (Yrkeshögskola) that I chose after high school because it felt like the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do. Considering I hated the idea of continuing to study for another 5 years to get a masters degree in something I had already started working in, it felt like a good alternative.

At this time I had just come out of high school and spent the summer working at a startup with some friends, with an office at Lindholmen Science Park. I had already done my first freelance projects for a local client, and started consulting as a junior designer and web developer at a local agency in town. And even though I could start working as a designer and a web developer at this time, I still listened to my parents and counselors when they told me that a post high school education is beneficial to my career.

And it was not like they were wrong. In fact I am extremely thankful for how they tried to give me advice based on how I felt about continuing my studies, as I did in fact struggle a lot in high school. I’ve always been a very “why” driven person, and school was always hard to define a “why” for. But in the case of YRGO, it was much easier to define a “why”.

YRGO promised a very practical education that was based on building prototypes and projects based on the things we learn in class, not having any actual text books or writing code tests on a piece of paper (yes, I’ve done that too…). For 2 years, we’d spend about 1,5 years studying and becoming fully fledged “web developers”, and then spend the last 6 months on internships that usually resulted in a positing at the same company. And that’s exactly what it was, if not better. And it was the best 2 years of all my 14 years in school.

But most of the things I learned over those 2 years, I learned outside of class. What YRGO gave me was a fantastic environment of some truly great people, some not as nerdy or passionate as me, but some truly were. A few of them I can still happily call friends, even thought I don’t see them much anymore. But one of these people, I only got to know in the second year at YRGO, and that was when, quite literally, everything changed.

It all started with a book

Me and my friend Max (no I’m not talking about my alterego, nor am I schizofrenic), were working at the big public library in town. We were partners on the final project we were doing in school, and funnily enough we grouped together only after having talked for just a short period of time. I don’t remember why we started talking, but we sort of hit it off quite quickly, and things just grew from there.

Max was a couple of years older and had been reading a lot of books, and I had for many years hated reading books. I had, after some pretty bad experiences in schools, started believing that I “couldn’t” read. But really, I was just lazy and didn’t want to challenge myself. But as we were sitting in one of the group rooms at the library, working and discussing our project, we of course veered topic into life and self-development.

Then Max started pushing me about books and how transformative they were for him, and that I should read this one book. I was of course extremely stuborn and said “No Max, you don’t get it! I can’t read. I really just can’t.”. But he wasn’t having it. He kept pushing me, and said “Max, just take this book. Give it a shot. If you don’t like it, if you can’t read, then I won’t mention it again and you can just give it back to me. But I have a feeling you need to read this.”.

What happened next was what I think Max actually somewhat knew was going to happen, because he saw something in me that just needed to get out. Something I needed to start listening to, because he was hearing it, but I didn’t. And as I picked up that book from my bag on the bus back home from the library, I read the title “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. I opened up the first few pages and started reading, line after line, then paragraph after paragraph, and then page after page.

Before I knew it, I was stuck. I was completely enveloped by this fabel and the story that Paulo Coelho so perfectly expresses in words in every single page. It’s not a revelation nor is it like the best book ever written, but what it did was snap me out of the “coma” I had placed myself in. It truly made me wake up and realise just one thing about life. That life can actually be so much better than you think, and you could actually do the things you want to do.

Posting my first pictures

I remember those first few pictures I posted and what drove me to post them. I had, like most people back then, been using Instagram for a while and followed a couple of different people. And I felt a sense that I wanted to post pictures myself. But I didn’t want to just post regular pictures from my life like my friends did. I already knew I wanted to create a niche for myself and try to see if I could create a following of my own.

At first, the consistency was obviously lacking with spontaneous posts and the pictures not being as aesthetic as later on or much of any text content. But with time, as I posted more pictures in different contexts and as I started to gain a following, people started asking questions. Some wanted to know how I got started as a developer, some how I got the job I had, some what kind of life I had and so on. And that lead to me starting to share more about my life and my career.

So I started sharing more and more things, and eventually I started writing more candidly about things. And I think this was during the time when I really started to get into self-development through reading books like The Alchemist, Think And Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The 4-Hour Work Week and so on. What I found through writing these posts was a way to gather my thoughts and reflect more regularly, all the while creating content that boosted my following.

Burning out

This became a way for myself to journal and to put into writing the things I were dealing with and thinking about as I went through some years that were, quite frankly, rough and challenging. But what I didn’t expect was the difficult combination of wanting to grow a following, while also wanting to continue to write in order to reflect and grow as a person. And as things continued to grow past 10,000 followers and starting to hear from sponsors and other Instagram accounts wanting to collaborate, I started struggling.

This thing that I had created over a long time of regular writing and creating, had become a source of anxiety, almost like a job. I suddenly felt this immense pressure to keep posting, and for these posts to always be of the same quality, both in terms of the picture, and the text content. And when you think about pleasing others and their wants and needs, instead of your own when you do something to make yourself grow and reflect, you loose touch of why you were doing it in the first place.

That’s why I took breaks here and there in order to reflect on what I was feeling and why I wasn’t as happy with what I was doing anymore. And eventually, in 2019 after posting for about 4 years or so, I stopped posting completely. I had completely lost my reason for why I was posting anymore. I had simply burned out.

Why I’m writing again

Maybe you’re already putting the pieces together in terms of why I started in the first place, what lead to me quitting creating content on Instagram, and why I am actually writing again (but not on Instagram). If not, well, I’ll obviously tell you.

I’ve always loved creating. I’ve always made things out of other things. Pulled things apart to see how they work, and sometimes put them together in a different way to see if that changes things. This is how I got into computers and software engineering in my teenage years. And it is this quite weird drive to understand how things work, that deep rooted curiosity, that just makes me keep asking the questions “why?” and “how?“.

And during those years when I was writing for my Instagram posts, I think I found a great combination between the routine of writing something on a daily basis, and being able to reflect on the things I go through in life and the things I learn in the process. All the while creating things that could actually help people in their own lives, which is the only reason I want to continue sharing these things realy. I recevied truly amazing messages from people all over the world during these years that had gotten some kind of impact from the things I wrote. And that was just increadible.

Do I expect to have any impact on anyone with my writing? Not really. I have no expectations actually. What I want to do, is what I’ve wanted to do since about 2019 after I quit creating content on Instagram. I want to start creating for myself again, and sometimes create the things I wish I had when I was starting out in software engineering, or starting my own business, or getting into crossfit.

Because all this will be rooted in the fact that I will grow as a person from this. I’ll obviously become a better writer from writing content in an article format, and all that that entails. And this will of course carry over into my own life, both professionally and personally, as it will be a great big log in my fire to keep growing and learning.

If you’ve stuck around this far in the article, and you still want to continue reading my thoughts and ideas, then I am truly greatful and I appreciate you very much. Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, I respond as soon as I can to everyone I can.