5 Tough Lessons from Linus Torvalds on Success

If you are unfamiliar with Linus Torvalds, allow me to provide a brief summary of his accomplishments: If you are a software developer, you ought to be familiar with Linux, and I can nearly guarantee that you have made use of Git at least once. In a lot of ways, he is the mastermind behind these two significant endeavors.

You can do some research on the internet if you are interested in finding out more about him. I won’t go into more detail here since I want to move on to the lessons I’ve learned. Before I begin, I have something important to share with you: I can’t promise that you’ll like these ideas, but I can tell you the truth, even if it’s not pleasant or makes you feel bad.

1.No One is Special

There is a frequent concept that is conveyed in motivational books and films. It goes as follows: “You are not average. “You can accomplish whatever it is that you desire by working hard and providing all of your energy, and then you become someone exceptional.” They have a good chance of being correct given that, if you consider the past, there have been billions of individuals, yet we are familiar with the names of many of them. They are well-known because they were successful at something, and the main point is that we can also be successful if we make the right decisions.

A very long time ago, I had similar beliefs in my mind. However, they are total fabrications. Nobody is particularly exceptional, and there is only so much that a single person can do. Successful individuals are able to accomplish their goals not by putting in a lot of effort themselves but by harnessing the efforts of others to get them where they want to go. This is the one thing that most of us fail to see about them. This is something that humanity has been doing for a very long time. Great leaders have always been able to manipulate nations to accomplish their goals. In more recent times, we began doing the same thing by founding firms. These businesses came to the realization that by compensating people and harnessing their potential, amazing things are possible to accomplish.

Big names like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs… These individuals have all achieved financial success via the use of the same approach. Even Warren Buffet… The consensus among us is that he amassed his wealth via years of careful, self-directed investing of his own funds and that his success may be attributed to the fact that he invested for such a significant period of time. However, at one time he realized that his own money was not enough, so he began using the money of other people and created new methods to accomplish the same thing. Currently, he is still utilizing the money of other people.

Where does one stand with Linus Torvalds? He came up with a novel approach to accomplish the same goals as before. He took the chance and made the decision to make his kernel’s source code accessible to everyone; after doing so, he found that many had offered useful suggestions. Later on, he developed Git to facilitate the implementation of other people’s ideas, which sped up the process. Additionally, by maintaining the same routine for 25 years, he was able to produce something unique.

Having said that, he did not accomplish this feat on his own. If you go to the Linux page on GitHub right now, you’ll notice that the project has had contributions from more than 13,000 different people. More than 13,000 individuals gave their time willingly to work on the initiative that he had founded. In addition, we didn’t even consider the number of individuals working in organizations that utilize Linux to design new kinds of businesses. The current version of Linux is the result of the effort of millions.

In summary, nobody is unique. Each of us is a relatively small part of a much larger system. Together, we were able to accomplish a lot, much like ants and bees. No one individual was responsible for the creation of the internet; rather, a large number of people worked together to lay cables at great depths in the ocean in order to link people living on various continents. So, if you want to be successful, you need to work with other people on a project and learn how to take advantage of their strengths and skills. If you believe that you have the ability to do a lot on your own and that you are special, then you are just another Buzz Lightyear.

2. It Is Not Necessary to Be Polite

I, like everyone else, am employed in the field of software engineering, and the company for which I work places a premium on courteous behavior. This is due to the fact that one of the primary criteria used in determining the size of the bonus an employee will receive at the end of the year is the individual’s character. In point of fact, whenever human resources decide to terminate an employee, one of the most important criteria, alongside performance, is the individual’s conduct. People are being coerced into being polite because, else, they will be eliminated.

I believe that we are acting in this manner because we do not want to be confronted with unpalatable realities. Even if it is our fault, we want them to talk to us as if it is not our fault. Nevertheless, I don’t believe that what we’re doing is the best option. Of course, there are circumstances in which politeness is obligatory. For instance, if you’re providing care for a senior citizen, being kind ought to be a must for the job. On the other hand, I do not believe that the same is true for the technology sector.

A number of academics put this hypothesis to the test by establishing two control groups comprised of individuals selected at random. One group was coerced into being kind and helpful to one another, while the other is free to argue more forcefully for their point of view. These two groups were both presented with an identical challenge, and their solutions and outcomes were analyzed.

They observed, after many repetitions, that the aggressive group consistently came up with superior ideas and solutions to the problems. Finding the most effective answers to challenging challenges is at the heart of every new technological advancement. Consequently, I believe that we need to be allowed to argue against one another’s views until we come up with the most effective strategy by using mathematical proofs or conducting tests.

At this point, I want to make something clear: defending something forcefully does not entail fighting your notion to the point of exhaustion even if you are incorrect about it. You should acknowledge that you were incorrect if there is evidence or a rational justification for it, and then you should allow other people to enhance your level of understanding. When defending your opinions, you should do it in a sensible manner.

Torvalds is responsible for the same thing happening in Linux. Both in front of committees and in the media, he defended his beliefs with a lot of force. I don’t agree with this at all, but he did break a lot of hearts. Despite this, I believe that this was the finest technique to use in order to locate the best answer. Because of this strategy, Linux has evolved into something quite distinct. Linux, on the other hand, works on all devices by requiring a little bit of professional touch and is optimized in such a great way that the call trace of the kernel is significantly better than Windows. This is in contrast to macOS, which only works on certain hardware, and Windows, which frequently displays “blue screens of death” due to memory leaks and inefficient implementations.

3. Aims, Concepts, and Everything Else Are All Lies

Do you have any knowledge of the concept of survivorship bias? During the second world war, experts from the Center for Naval Analyses carried out an investigation of the amount of damage sustained by aircraft that had been used in combat and then brought back to base. They then suggested installing armor in the regions of the bomber that had sustained the greatest damage in order to reduce the number of casualties sustained from enemy fire. Abraham Wald, on the other hand, proposed an alternative interpretation.

Mathematician Wald was a Hungarian, and he was a member of the Statistical Research Group, which is where he used his knowledge of statistics to a variety of issues pertaining to the war. He made a somewhat obvious observation, namely that the aircraft they were examining were the ones that had been returned. This indicates that these aircraft were able to return even if they were hit in those locations, which indicates that they were unable to accomplish the same result if they were attacked in any other locations.

My viewpoint is that objectives, thoughts, and objectives are all products of the same mindset, which is a result of survivorship bias. Many individuals have focused their attention only on successful people and come to the conclusion that every one of them has a plan, an objective. On the other hand, I don’t believe that’s the case here. Consider the entrance tests for universities. Do you believe the individual who came in one-millionth place purposely tried to get that position? This individual most likely shot for the stars but fell short in other areas due to their lack of preparation. If individuals who are successful and unsuccessful have similar aims and aspirations, then those things cannot be the factor that distinguishes them from one another.

During the interview for his TED Talk, Linus Torvalds said that he doesn’t have a long-term plan or a vision for the future. In general, he finds and uses solutions to problems when he comes across them. At the same time, he looks for ways to improve the solutions he has already made. He employs a method that involves problem-solving and the pursuit of improvements. Having used this method for the last 25 years, Linux is driven by this achievement-oriented mindset.

4. There is no evidence of an intelligent creator.

I used to be one of those individuals who would spend much too much time worrying that they couldn’t begin the activity that they really want to do. Before beginning the real task, I would do some research to determine the most effective approach. In the end, I would never get started since I was already lost in the search of discovering the best approach to attain my goal and learning the necessary stuff to do so.

A little while later, I became aware of something. Through trial and error, humanity has gained all of its knowledge. We learned a great deal by putting forth the effort, doing new things, and even failing sometimes. Allow me to illustrate by way of example: If you are familiar with the geological setting of Japan, you may already be aware that the nation is often struck by a significant number of earthquakes. Because of the risk of earthquakes, their dwellings were often not very long and rather broad.

This is because if they construct anything that is too long, it would be demolished. Today, they were able to find a solution to this difficulty, but how? They started by making a miniature model of the earth, into which they included their many concepts, and then they put this model through its paces by simulating earthquakes. They developed an excellent design for the foundation of their structures by putting different concepts to the test, discovering new challenges, and addressing each one of them in turn before moving on to the next. At this time, Japan is one of the nations that have structures that are exceptionally long-lasting.

Torvalds claims that there is no intelligent design present in Linux during one of the interviews that he has given. In essence, he is testing out his ideas, and through the process of making mistakes and finding solutions to issues, he is uncovering them. At this point, it is possible for you to respond “No intelligent design exists and there are tons of books about them,” and you would be accurate in doing so. The book “Clean Code” by Robert Martin is one of the titles in this collection that I like the most. In his book, he explains some of the most important aspects of design. However, if you read it, you will quickly see that he came up with all of these concepts by learning from his failures. Not only did he learn from his own mistakes, but he also learned from the mistakes of other engineers and failed businesses.

In a nutshell, the concept entails gaining wisdom from the experience of making errors. However, take care not to repeat errors that have already been committed. Experiment with new things, and learn new things by finding solutions to the challenges you experience. Stop wasting time figuring out the most efficient approach to doing the task and get to work without worrying about doing it perfectly.

5. Distractions have the potential to cause fatal accidents

Silicon Valley culture… The characters are software engineers who have a history of switching employers regularly. What exactly is the point of all of this? My guess is that there are two: This results in the dissemination of technology ideas and advances among a number of different firms. Second, it kicked off a race to employ the most experienced engineers, which has resulted in the remuneration for hiring such individuals increasing at an ever-increasing rate.

We may see wonderful workplaces with free food supplied to employees, as well as high remuneration amounts, in the fancy YouTube films that software developers have uploaded (I really love viewing some of these movies). There are a lot of individuals that want to be a part of these dazzling goods since there are so many of them.

This, like anything else, comes at a cost that we often don’t perceive; nonetheless, we should. Every business has its own system, as well as its own implementation style, which incorporates a variety of methods. We are quitting these firms before we have had sufficient time to get familiar with every aspect of any of them or complete any of their projects. The majority of today’s large corporations have an employee turnover rate for engineers that is lower than two years on average.

Where exactly does the problem lie? I would want to provide an alternative viewpoint to you. Linus Torvalds began his career as an employee at one of the Silicon Valley firms known as Transmeta. Rather than moving around to other companies, he remained with this company for close to seven years till he laid the groundwork for the Linux Foundation. Why did he act in that manner? Why didn’t he just work for a few different firms like everyone else? In regard to what he said in the interview for his TED Talk, he is quite obstinate and did not give up on the ideas. Due to the fact that he is so obstinate, he has been toiling away at the same project for more than 25 years.

Because Warren Buffet maintained the same mindset throughout his career in the investing sector and maintained the same straightforward but successful technique for a significant amount of time, finally he became the wealthiest man in the world. The takeaway from this is that success comes to those who are able to concentrate on one thing at a time, as opposed to those who are always switching between many projects.

This piece of advice is not applicable to everyone since some of us undertake software engineering just for financial gain, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. However, there are a lot of individuals out there who have the ambition to create amazing things, and the unpleasant truth is that the only way to do this is to concentrate. If you want to be successful, to build something that other people and you want to use, then you really need to concentrate on the challenges and the projects you want and stay with it. This is because many people are trying to accomplish other goals at the same time.

You May Love: Larry Ellison’s Advice on Work Satisfaction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.