It's hard not to worry about things working out. The uncertainty of building something you care about also being cared about by others can be incredibly overwhelming. It's easy to let negativity creep in and take hold of the steering wheel, leading you down paths you don't really want or need to be on.

Especially in the "technology" world, it's easy to find yourself regularly re-plotting your course. Darting from here to there. From there to here. Never quite feeling like you're at home or like you've "got it." There's always something new, always something changing—it's stressful beyond belief.

This feeling isn't "just you." Anyone who tries their hand at something will feel this way at some point, especially if it involves technology. Where you can find peace, though, and make some serious headway is in making one important decision.

Your singular focus

If you ever read the news or thumb through a social media feed, it's likely that you've had moments of anxiety. Listening to the greater consciousness around you, it sounds like things are going in a hundred different directions.

"You need to learn this! It's the future!"

"If you're not learning this, you're going to be in big trouble! Trust me!"

"THIS is future-proof. All that other stuff is obsolete."

The truth is that not only are all of these things true, but simultaneously they're false, too. The reason why is that all of the things that are "new" and "the future" now will inevitably be obsolete one day. Maybe not tomorrow, but eventually, they'll be replaced.

Once you understand this, you start to realize that what matters isn't the how of what you do, it's the what and the why.

Commitment to an idea, not a how

Where you can start to find some peace from all of this is by thinking about the over-arching theme of your work.

What problem are you trying to solve? Why are you trying to solve that problem? Really think about this. Think about it internally, just for you, not to share with others.

When you focus on this, you start to understand that how you solve your problem doesn't really matter. What matters is sticking to that one idea, solving that one problem, and then adapting your solutions to whatever the current "how" is.

For example, at Clever Beagle, the problem being solved is reducing the complexity and overwhelm of building, shipping, and running a piece of software. Right now the "how" behind this is using JavaScript in the browser and mobile devices. Later, it might be using some other programming language to solve that problem in a virtual reality environment.

“I very frequently get the question: 'What's going to change in the next 10 years?' And that is a very interesting question; it's a very common one. I almost never get the question: 'What's not going to change in the next 10 years?' And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two -- because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. ... In our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that's going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It's impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, 'Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,' [or] 'I love Amazon; I just wish you'd deliver a little more slowly.' Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

— Jeff Bezos

Even though change is guaranteed in the how, because there's a commitment to that singular idea—making it easy to build and ship software—there's nothing to panic about. The how is guaranteed to change and so is the what. Maybe later the goal will be to make it easier to build software for robots.

Thinking about the how as a tool, not the idea

Making this a bit less abstract, a good way to think about all of this is looking at your how as a tool, not your primary focus. For example, consider someone who runs a construction company. The idea they're committed to is building a house extremely well.

In the past, they used hammers, nails, and sweat to build a house. Now, they use nail guns, electric drills, and other "modern" tools to build. A few years from now, they'll have a robot that holds up wall frames and can do the nailing itself.

Still, the point is that the goal is to build a house really well. Worrying about the how of that, whether hammers or robots, is wasted energy. In the end, nobody cares how the house was built as long as they can rest comfortably in it and take shelter from the elements.

When it comes to the problem you're solving, this reality is no different.

Making room for change

As you start to adapt to this way of thinking, it's important to understand that eliminating or reducing change should not be the goal. That's unnecessary friction. Things will always change and there's nothing you can do about it. What you can do, though, is accept this, commit to an idea, and then when it makes sense adapt to the change.

Avoid getting committed to the how. Yes, especially in technology it can be frustrating to have to change how you do things. But realize, in most cases, the energy and effort required to make the actual change is limited. It's when we overthink and worry and panic about the change where we physically "feel" the change; ultimately, that negative feeling is the thing we dread, not the work.

If you can make room for the change, mentally and in respect to your workflow, then change can be welcomed. This requires patience. During times of change, things may need to slow down as you adapt.

But realize, as long as you're moving down the same path, focused on the same problem, that adaptation can be effortless. Any worry about the how is just wasted energy that can be better applied to solving the problem while realizing that things will always change. It's just part of the game.