Don’t be afraid to Fail – Start Now with Data Science

An argument for why aspiring data scientists should stop waiting for permission and start doing data science.

analytics-failureAll the hype around Data Science leads to outsiders feeling intimidated by it.  All these articles about what a “True” data scientists is and the “50 Essential Skills”.  This is probably why so many people feel like impostors.

But don’t let this distract you.  This thinking can become damaging when it makes you tell yourself that you’re not ready to start yet.  Not ready to start the job search or start the project.

You are ready because failing is a good thing.  The person that has tried and failed knows a lot more than the person that never tried.  Failing makes you more valuable.  It is tremendously valuable to be able to say, “Don’t do it that way because I’ve tried that and it failed due to X, Y, and Z.”  If this blog is useful at all, it’s because I failed at the job search 100 different ways and now understand a little better about why.

Something about our human nature seems to hold us back when it comes to trying new things.  We feel like it’s not the right time because we need just 1 more course, or the perfect idea, or the right partner.  But these are lies we tell ourselves because we’re scared of failing.  That feeling is never going to go away, no matter how many courses or experiences you’ve accumulated.  The best you can do is recognize that familiar voice in your head and then choose to ignore it.

Seth Godin is a thought leader in this space and talks about the “Lizard Brain”.  I have found him to be tremendously helpful in clarifying many of these sorts of things.  I encourage you to check out some of his interviews on YouTube and investigate his books, especially if you have any interest in entrepreneurship.

I can’t recall the exact reference, but I remember Seth giving some advice on how to overcome this fear.  Paraphrasing his response, he said that it’s really hard to start with big things, like launching a new company.  The best way to build up confidence is by starting small.  Find a little project that takes you out of your comfort zone and commit yourself to starting and finishing it.  It’s critical that you actually finish it or you will reinforce your little voice instead of quieting it.  Build up a collection of these successes and you’ll exercise this muscle.  This skill alone will differentiate you from the overwhelming majority of people.

Today is a great opportunity for you.  You have access to essentially unlimited resources via the internet.  You have everything you need.  So, Start NOW.