One common trait I’ve observed in all great engineers is their sense of adventure. People who pigeonhole themselves into a specialty and do the exact same job for years tend to grow complacent. The problem is that stability is an innate human instinct. So you need to deliberately counterbalance this tendency. Taking risks and being uncomfortable is a muscle you have to train.

A friend of mine told me this story about wild ducks — Wild ducks migrate in the winter not because of the cold but because of the food. If you feed them, they won’t migrate. Keep feeding them for a few years in a row, still won’t migrate. Then stop all of a sudden, they won’t migrate, and they’ll die. The moral is that you can tame wild ducks, but you can’t wildify tamed ducks (that’s why there isn’t even such a word as wildify). So you have to be careful not to lose that hustle.

Apoorva Govind