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About WF

by wforbes

Nothing is more daunting than writing about myself. I’ve tried for years and it’s never come out quite right. Here’s an honest attempt to describe the story of what brought me here and what I’m about.

Photo and Concept by Hannah Smith @shiningbarrier

I’m Will Forbes; a software developer, skateboarder, illustrator, and musician. I live just north of Los Angeles, California. I’m in my mid 30’s and I’ve reached a point now that I’d like to teach and share what I’ve learned with an aim to help others, either to avoid my mistakes or benefit from my successes.

Developing and analyzing software is my main passion. So far, it’s been a head-first pursuit into a career that’s now been almost a decades-long journey of discovery and amazing insight. Learning to write code has brought me a new sort of fascination that continues to grow every day and has expanded my horizons exponentially. Working in the tech industry has brought me a tremendous amount of hope for my future and a whole new set of opportunities. My foremost concern and daily mission is to work toward helping others in their pursuit of learning software development. Help people discover new abilities that will improve their minds and their lives.

Growing up, my family struggled with money and I was raised in a relatively impoverished area. In many ways, I saw how much of an inescapable trap poverty can become. Yet at the same time, it’s not without its romantic simplicity and humbling modesty. Not everyone wants to be a millionaire and a life above the poverty line is something that isn’t always the best fit for many people’s condition, in whatever capacity it may endure. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I resigned myself to enjoy the underclass prosperity that fate had gifted me. Devoid the distractions of the struggle that social ladder climbing could bring, I was blessed with a life of creativity and self-expression, an opportunity to cultivate a free-form exploration into drawing, skateboarding, and music.

By the time I was an adult, I found more solace in working minimum wage warehouse jobs than I did with forcing myself into academia to simply quest for a lucrative paycheck. Though I started to feel the gravity of society’s expectations of me to be a man and earn a living wage to support a family, the day-jobs I kept supported my passions and that’s why I worked them. That’s virtually all they were good for. As time went on, I met great people that had difficult lives doing the same thing, but I caught glimpses of something better – hints at a life of prosperity. Yet, I didn’t think I deserved it.

From an early age, I was taught that I’d probably never be good at math because I was an imaginative, creative, artistic person. It was a mantra I heard from so many people I knew, people I was inspired by. The rules were that if your brain was abstract and creative then that meant it couldn’t be very analytical and logical. So this was my ethos. People in my life that think logically and analytically got great jobs, making six-figure incomes, living good lives. Many more people in my life that could think in the abstract and creative realm were destined to follow their passions, living on lower wages unless they got lucky and landed a hit success. It was just the way life was.

One day, at the age of 24 … near the end of 2011, something changed. The colors I saw in my vision took a different tone, the ambiance of light as it reflected from the things around me grew more vibrant. I saw that the life I would have if I kept on the path I was on would be incredibly difficult. That day I suddenly felt an uncontrollable urge to refuse the destiny that had been decided by my self-limiting aspirations. This was the beginning of the path I’m on now.

Having failed algebra four times in a row during high school, and only ever taking puzzled dismissive glimpses at computer code a few times when I worked as a web designer at the age of 17; I was the last person in the world anyone would have ever expected to all of sudden proclaim to want to be a software developer and finish all the math necessary to get a degree in it… but I did. I made that proclamation. So I began. That was it.

I enrolled in community college and forced myself to get good grades, for the first time in my life. I would play with numbers, endlessly. Lining up digits, finding their exponents and their differences, building patterns of polynomials, and turning mathematics into a creative hobby – just like doodling and drawing, or jamming out some riffs on my guitar. To my surprise, I was suddenly great at math. I loved it. I took my first programming class, taught by John Mill at Spokane Falls Community College, and became obsessive over all the possibilities and endless combinations of patterns of source code that could be used to construct virtually any app you could imagine. The limitlessness of it all. I was enraptured. All else fell away and I was fixated on a vision of my better self. A future self that I could be if I just cultivated the discipline and hyper-focus needed to make it a reality.

The trajectory of my life-path was altered inexorably and since then life has changed dramatically to fit the quest I set out on. To bend and reconfigure to accommodate my attempts to become who I knew I really wanted to be, who I needed to be. Many failures and disappointments fill the margins of the many successes and accomplishments I’ve been blessed with in the last decade. My young and budding marriage ended, I lost loved ones that inspired me, I got so sick with an infection that I almost lost my own life, and I’d gone through phases where I overworked myself to the brink of insanity just to fill all the gaps in my knowledge and test the limits of what I was capable of. Yet, I’ve made fantastic grades in college, gotten a few very challenging job roles in the tech industry, learned 5 programming languages with professional proficiency, and have now written over 400,000 words in a set of personal development/research journals. I’ve read more informative articles, watched more educational videos, and consumed more enlightening instructional media than anyone I know… which doesn’t include many people by any means – but I still feel as though I should be proud of what I’ve come to be, apologetic to those who I’ve wronged on my path, and endlessly excited at what the future promises with all these lessons learned.

Through it all, God’s presence in my life has been a guiding light in moments of confusion and a source of inspiration in my perseverance. Even though I grew up as a devote atheist and I still ground my structure in the pursuit of science and provable knowledge; God has shown me, very vividly and literally, that It exists and It’s here to give us the life we need. I’ve found wisdom and insight in nearly every religious and spiritual source or media that’s crossed my path, yet I’ve remained steadfast in my convictions that a good, righteous, truthful life is possible without any specific religion. So every day I seek to purify my mind and hold importance in being a good, decent, and inspired person. I am a Pantheist and I’m committed by personal oath to uphold the defense of all that is good and right in the world to the best of my earthly ability. I pray for guidance from God to know the better path and to always challenge me to be a better human being each day.

Every moment of our lives we’re given a choice and opportunity to do the right thing and put in an extra effort to help those around us. I make those choices, take those opportunities and put in that effort; on purpose; every day.

I can’t help but constantly be driven by the thoughts of sharing what I’ve discovered and learned through all this, to aid the people that need it. That’s what this website is about, and really, that’s what I’m about. Contact me anytime. will@wforbes.net

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