Me, my path, my rules. [~2.5k words, 10 mins]

in introduceyourself •  3 years ago 

Hello world!

My name is Radek and I am a new Steemit user. Well, maybe not exactly new. My browser already hints 'steemit.com', when I press s in the URL bar. I have been around for several months to have a really good feel of the platform. I read the white paper and downloaded the source code. Still, besides technical aspects, I had many questions and doubts in my head. Who is a typical user (or rather an early adopter)? How people react to others? etc. I am here, so you already know a bit about the verdict. I guess, it is time to introduce myself.

I am:

  • Radoslaw, 28yo, from Poland,
  • an extrovert, an agnostic, a nonconformist, a stubborn perfectionist, a music junkie,
  • an IT professional, an MSc in CS, a Software Architect, an Information Security enthusiast,
  • a cryptocurrency user, a TA newbie, a beginner trader,
  • a Steemit user.

And here ends the sneak peek...


My fingerprint

It all starts with a correct perspective. Some people believe it only matters 'where you are with your life' not 'how you found yourself at this point'. I find it to be an inappropriate or simply wrong way of reasoning and judgment. The 'how' matters. Both for AI algorithms as well as for humans.

It is not about where you come from

I was born and raised in a small city in the southeast part of the country, near the border. Growing up on the periphery back in the 90s was an experience different from colorful life seen on TV, especially now. It was generally a quiet place. There were small villages, farms and forests around my hometown. People were ordinary, hardworking, focused on a daily life and proving food for their families. In some way it was a happy place. Far away from perfect but at least being a child in such an environment lets you get some useful skills. There was no chance to grow up there without learning how to cook or use basic tools like a screwdriver. Would I trade it for selfies, 13yo girls with makeup, smartphones, facebook and Pokemon Go trainers running across my backyard? Well, no.

I had a happy childhood with no big dramas. I spent time on a fresh air with friends, ate healthy food. I have been always a curious one, occasionally even too much but usually tried to stay away from troubles not to make my parents sad. I am the oldest of three sons of a lawyer and a electrical engineer, grandson of teachers. My name: 'Radosław' is a slavic name that roughly means happiness and glory - and that was what my parents wished for me. Well, I would lie saying that I do not remember high expectations of my family. I have always had something to prove (or it has been only in my mind?).

Don't compare yourself to others

It is not only a heading; my mom has often used this phrase and moms are usually right about such things, don't they? I could talk about it for hours as it is one of the best advices that one can get in the early life. It is also a life-saving hint if you live in a small city where everyone knows everyone and you are always being compared and judged. Believe it or not but your life is better if you realize that there is only one person that you truly compete with and it is you. It is about your goals, your dreams, your weaknesses and your happiness.

Explore and learn

For me, it has always been important to understand things around me. As a child, I was surrounded by books (these were everywhere in grandparents house) so I picked one after another to check what it is about. Plants, animals, human body, genetics, brain, psychology, math, logic, science, physics, mythology, religion, philosophy - it all was worth the time and seemed interesting. Life was not only about books though. I got a bit of piano and dancing lessons (unfortunately, dropped both too early), became an acolyte, spent countless hours playing chess or listening to the rock music, later also trained martial arts (karate and aikijujutsu). All these 'explorations' slowly clarified to me who I am and who I want to be in the future.

Follow your path

When I was much younger, being a so called 'hacker' or an offensive security team member attracted me a lot. It was not even about computers. The whole idea of being in a Red Team was just blowing my mind. Of course, I did not even know such terms as a Red Team back then... It was simply about being a 'smart badass'. I found things like lock picking 'exciting'. It was fun. Generally, you start with a hair or paper clip and after a while you have customized scissors in your pocket etc. I learned how to open any room in my house (almost broke one lock, but shhh, my parents still think it jams because it is old). A dial combination lock in my dad's suitcase was also not a problem. Happy times! However, unless you have a false sense of power that you would like to use, there is not much more where to go with it. And I didn't. It applied to other OffSec related 'things' as well.

Meanwhile, along with a crush on math I got fascinated by computers. Nevertheless, my 'programming journey' has started in a naive way. I was spending countless hours going back and forward through Win 95 and 98 directories and files, playing with CLI, writing lame batch scripts, modifying register etc. for no particular reason - I was just trying things out. I learned LOGO language (yes, the turtle) and basics of Web programming (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) back in 90s, then C++ fundamentals as a teenager. Studying at the university in Cracow was, however, a real game changer. I have done my BSc and MSc in Computer Science (specialization: Software and System Architecture). In the meantime, I gathered a bit of experience working both in big IT companies and as an assistant trainee at the university during my last year (teaching: Operating Systems and Algorithms & Data Structures)

Overall, I have picked software engineering over information security as my priority and focused on software principles, design patterns, programming paradigms etc. A software architecture has become my true love. It is probably one of the nearest to art form of creation that you can get in this industry (okay, that is maybe not entirely the truth, but I like to think that way). It requires a deep understanding of purposes, constraints and trade-offs of modern systems. I like especially big, complex, distributed systems. One can work with these beasts for many years and still feel like a junior. And it is a good thing!

Recently, since February, I have been also playing with cryptocurrencies. It started as a kind of remedy for an unhealthy situation at my ex-work. I know it may sound weird to you but it worked for me. It helped me to keep my mind occupied with something else than problems found at the office. Actually, I have been monitoring the whole crypto space periodically since early 2012 but until this year had been focused only on technical aspects. The market, however, appears to be an interesting and fairly mature one. Obviously, I have no intention to make every analysis or trade manually. A solution based on e.g. algorithms from the machine learning area, running on a homemade cluster with full analytics and trading bots sounds better to me. Well, it is a nice challenge but requires more knowledge. So, I have become a beginner trader; started to learn about technical analysis and trading techniques, made first profits on investing, trading and arbitrage. This great world of patterns can be a fascinating place for scientific minds. One can expect many 'wow' moments once things start to make sense despite their weird chaotic movement.

Know yourself

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Life, on the other hand, happens to be a bit more complicated than software or cryptocurrencies. You may think whatever you want about yourself and your potential. It is, however, what you do that makes you who you are - not what you think or say you would do. Going deeper into this topic makes it even more complex. How can we pick the right perspective? Who is a better observer? You or others? Whose judgment should you listen to?

For me the answer has always been the same. It is my life and I am always the one to make a call, I am the one to be blamed. I have learned to listen to opinions of others to broader my perspective but never pushed myself to do anything just to make someone happy if I did not believe in it (okay, school grades were occasionally an exception here...). As a result, as a young one I often heard that I was 'thinking too much about everything'. Guilty, as charged. I stopped overthinking discussions with people and events in my life when I found patterns in my behavior. It was an important thing to me. I never really fought with my character, but wanted to know what to expect of myself and be able to clearly express it.

One can say, it sounds like a weird thing, but does it really? Try to write some things about you on a piece of paper and verify it. Ask yourself the question: why? Ask as many times as you can. Ask a whole variety of questions. Question everything like a child who wants to understand. Can you answer what you stand for? Can you say why? Can you give an example... or 5 examples. Can you truly justify your words?

I am a christian.
Why?
I am an artist.
Why?
I am an anarchist.
Wh... Do you even know what does it mean?

I think that after many years I am quite self-aware and know both my strong and weak sides. And these are not just labels stuck to a moving flesh. I don't fear of being judged as I judge the outside world as well, according to my own scale.

Nevertheless, I have done more than several so called personality tests over the years (unfortunately, without an assistance of a certified consultant). For example my MBTI type is ENTJ. This result repeats each and every time and sounds pretty valid to be fair. Things can be, however, once again - a matter of perspective. I guess, it is better to learn about yourself, define your own system of rules and values than check what almost half-century old techniques have to say about you. These not always provide good answers but may help you to look for correct questions.

Find your reason. Find your rhythm.

Lately, I had an 'occasion' to remind myself who I am and why I do things. I suffered from a burnout and quit a very toxic job. It was a 'new experience' from which I decided to recover for several months. I let my emailbox get filled with 'great job opportunities' and stayed out of the business world for a while. 

I think, it is a lie that your happiness is defined by a set of goals created at some point in life. It may appear to you later that they were wrong in a first place. Money, carrier, family, fame, traveling around the world, partying all week - it may look good on paper, but it is not necessarily what you are looking for. Therefore, it is better to focus on reasons than targets. Once you find your why, every small success on the path toward the right goal can make you stronger and more satisfied with your life. Just think before you create a big list of plans.

What I personally lacked the most to get better, was not an answer to who or why but how. Symptoms of a burnout made me almost a different person and I wanted to get rid of them as soon as possible. Fortunately (actually, I does not have anything to do with a fortune...), free of commitments and with some savings on my account, all I needed was to choose a right 'direction'. I did. I picked Mexico. Together with my girlfriend we booked a last minute flight to Cancun (two days before the departure) and made a reservation for one night. The rest just happened. It was a crazy trip and a great experience, but it is a story for another occasion. Long story short, 11 days and over 1500 km later we were sitting in a plane to Poland with memories of small cities, Mayan ruins, jungle, a coast and islands with beautiful beaches. 

Since then, I've been trying to get my balance back. I feel like I was in a comma caused by being both a workaholic and depressed one for too long. Lately, I spend a lot of time on studying topics related to technical analysis, reading or working on my own research and ideas. Doing nothing all day, every day? That is not a choice for me.

Meanwhile, I am trying to limit my bad habits. I have this "thing" called a Gilbert's syndrome. Its is not dangerous to my health but makes my skin and the whites of my eyes yellowish (like jaundice) in cases like: stress, lack of sleep, bad diet, illnesses or strenuous exercise. Let's get it straight- in case of my lifestyle- always. So I can even lie to myself and my friends but one look in my eyes will tell you the truth. Therefore, after many years I decided to fix it and e.g. stopped abusing coffee (going down from 6-10 cups a day in March to 2-3 per week), started to eat healthier and sleep more. And do you know what? I have to admit it. It works. 

Join Steemit

Okay, I guess you have noticed this rule was written with a tongue in cheek. Nevertheless, I have looked for a solution that shares many concepts with Steemit for a long time. To be fair, the platform does not fully match my expectations. There is, however, a huge potential hidden behind ideas presented by @dan and @ned, which used properly can make this experiment very successful. And I plan to add my piece to make it that way.

I would like to tell you more about my observations but we will have a lot of opportunities to go through this topic. Right now it is time to finish my introduction as it seems to be a classic "TL;DR" candidate already.

My draft had over 12k words which was a madness, but I hope that ~2.5k is "reasonable".

Ending

I read about you, now you read about me. So we know each other a bit better now. Rules above refer to my inner world. I don't think these are unique in any way but I am comfortable with them. There is one more rule. It may sound naive because I created it when I was ~12. Still, it defines my whole interaction with the outer world. I guess, it will define my presence here too.

Honesty for honesty,
respect for respect,
respect for honesty,
honesty for respect.

Thank you for reading!

See you around
@radoslaw

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Welcome and great intro! I understand what you mean about programming being the nearest thing to an art form. I have a feeling that the Steem network will serve as an artistic 'canvas' for many skilled programmers. It allows storing basically arbitrary data, with distributed rapid (~seconds) consensus, and no transaction fees. There are so many creative possibilities.
Welcome!

Thank you! It is great to see that someone mentioned this particular part. You made my day :)

Welcome to the Steemit Community!

Check out this helpful post from me to newcomers.
https://steemit.com/steemit/@augustinsong/are-you-new-to-steemit-well-if-so-come-join-out-steemit-chat

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Hello radoslaw, I enjoyed your introduction. Welcome to the community. Yes, 12k words would have been too much, but 2.5k was great.

Thanks @jthej70! I really appreciate your comment. Honestly, I was a bit scared about the size of this post. I am glad you liked it.

welcome good Christian, great is your effort. what was the pilgrimage you sat and watched. great thing to over come all the challenges. you are tested and proved. pull-down all the strong holds of the dark.

Great intro and glad to see you touch on some things I've been grappling with myself. :) It's a pleasure to have you here, and I hope you can make the most of Steemit for whatever purpose or why you're pursuing!

Thank you very much @anarcho-andrei! I hope, I will not disappoint you. I guess, I will start from a pretty important thing to me, i.e. information security, but definitely you can expect a whole variety of topics. //btw nice T-shirt ;)

I'm part of the Hate Crew Deathroll, what can I say? :D Well, good luck, and I've gone ahead and added you to follow. I'm fascinated about different infosec issues and topics, even though I'm not much into coding and computer science myself. I like to say I know just enough to get myself into trouble.