Strumming Through Life: An Unconventional Journey

Embracing ups and downs of the journey, it's never too late to chase a new dream or find joy in the unexpected


Eduardo Alvim

2/20/20245 min read

It's been quite some time since my last piece, titled “Harmony in Diversity: A Family’s Agile Symphony” last January. I must admit, I've been experiencing a slight lack of inspiration. I'm uncertain whether this was due to the release of my latest book series on Enterprise Agility or simply a genuine lack of motivation.
January proved to be a challenging month, filled with a mix of emotions and valuable lessons. It's true what they say: learning never stops. I often emphasize in my classes that individuals dedicated to specific fields must embrace continuous learning. They are what we describe as "lifelong learners." So, why should I be an exception?
I am continually on the lookout for new knowledge, much like the days when I operated that elevator (yes, my very first job in life!), always ascending and descending, exploring different levels. My experiences are diverse, ranging from gardening to programming complex systems, from sewing to creating a stove out of stone and clay. My very first job, not a lot of people is aware of it, was elevator operator. I've played the roles of a father and husband, authored books, and led classes. My passion for learning is insatiable; there always seems to be more to explore. Naturally, there are many more things I'm not skilled at compared to the ones I am, but that's to be expected.

In recent years, I've gained significant insights about myself, especially through therapy. By the way, if you're not engaging in therapy, you're missing out on a crucial opportunity to learn about the most important person in your life: yourself!

One surprising revelation is that I am creative, which was a total shock to me. I've always considered myself one of the most conventional people I know in terms of creativity. Yet, here I am, recognizing my own creativity. I've always been drawn to fantasy, colors, sounds, music, and imagination. I love how learning and creativity allow the mind to journey through previously unexplored spaces.

I also harbor frustrations as an electric guitar player, stemming from a childhood experience. When I was about 11, my father enrolled my younger brother, who was five years younger than me, in guitar lessons. However, my brother lacked interest and soon quit. Seeing an opportunity, I asked my father if I could take the lessons instead. Unfortunately, he told me I was already too old to start learning—an opinion that has haunted me to this day. Despite beginning lessons on my own several times, I often start strong but eventually give up after a few attempts, much like someone who pays for a gym membership but rarely goes. Perhaps it's a sign that I'm indeed too old to learn the electric guitar, or maybe it's just a mental block I've struggled to overcome.
Reflecting on inspiration, I've realized my enthusiasm often lies in initiating projects rather than sustaining them. Throughout my life, I've embarked on numerous ventures but struggled to see them through. It's not a lack of persistence; rather, the maintenance phase simply doesn't excite me as much as the initial creation does. Everything becomes monotonous, even though, as someone who's colorblind, I perceive it more in shades of gray. It's possible I align with what modern science terms ADHD—a concept once dismissed as merely being an overly active child. I prefer to think of myself as a restless spirit, drawn to everything around me: beauty, ugliness, novelty, antiquity, harshness, and delicacy, with a special fascination for people and their interactions.
However, don't mistake my interest for empathy; that's not quite it. I'm genuinely curious about others, a trait so pronounced that my wife often needs to remind me not to get too absorbed in my observations. My children recognize this trait too. And no, I'm not the unsettling presence silently watching you at a restaurant; people have simply always captivated me.
This curiosity likely influenced my most recent career choice as a trainer and consultant. Indeed, 'most recent' is appropriate, given my history of career changes. I'm driven by a love of learning.
I'm intrigued by the idea of igniting minds, driving organizational change, and fostering environments where continuous improvement thrives. Like individuals, I see organizations as living entities capable of learning, changing, thinking, and moving. This perspective drew me to Agile development from the start. As a project manager with unconventional approaches, I always valued the collective power and self-responsibility of teams. I wasn't the domineering leader type but rather embraced servant leadership, focusing on empowering the group rather than leading from the front. This approach isn't always understood by those with more traditional mindsets, but time, as the ultimate teacher, influences all things and beings.
I'm penning this from an altitude of 30,000 feet, mid-flight to Paris, amidst what feels like the 10,000th instance of turbulence I've encountered. No, the fear of a crash isn't what occupies my mind, but rather a reflection on the myriad of experiences that have led me to this exact moment—or at least some of them. My journey to Paris is for a week of intensive work, teaching some of the brightest minds eager to drive change within their organizations. An auditor once questioned me in 2023, asking, "Do you work, or do you only teach classes?" The truth is, I do work. But reaching this point in my career, where teaching is my primary focus, has been the culmination of immense effort. My hats off to everyone who dedicates their time to teaching others in any capacity.
By now, you might be wondering what the purpose of this article is. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure myself. What began as an expression of my temporary lack of inspiration has meandered through various topics, memories, and achievements. Perhaps this article is precisely that: a tribute to the unconventional paths, much like my own career. The message here is to embrace your uniqueness and enjoy the journey. I can certainly say I've relished mine, and there's much more I look forward to experiencing.
Curious about my latest venture? It's a book—though not quite a revelation, right? However, this time it diverges from the realms of technology, business, or even agility. I'm venturing into the world of fiction with a police thriller novel. Yes, I'm embracing risk once again. Anticipated release? Around the end of 2024. The inspiration? It sprouted from a lively and joyous family dinner last year. My preparation has been thorough: extensive research, the initial pages written, the protagonist's character and psychological makeup fleshed out, among other developments. As I write, I'm engulfed by the thrill of the unknown, clueless about the story's direction or the fate of its characters. Even when my wife inquires about it, I often find myself at a loss for words. And that's precisely why: I'm in the dark as much as anyone else. Yet, as I uncover new elements and the narrative unfolds, I eagerly share these discoveries with her. Will this endeavor succeed? It's anyone's guess. But one thing is crystal clear: I'm thoroughly enjoying the journey. Perhaps that's the true essence of this article—finding joy in the journey. I hope you find enjoyment in yours. If not, remember, it's never too late to embark on new adventures. You're never too old to explore and learn.