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What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? How we will create our world?

What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do in your life? Raise one’s hand who has never been asked such a question. Understanding or having clear in mind how to create our world is a central point in everyone’s life. But today I want to suggest you a different point of view on this topic.

Which object did you use to become the person you wanted to be?

In the life of each one of us there is an object that we have used, consciously or not, to create our world.

For someone of you it has always been clear what this thing was, for some others not.

But there is no doubt that in our life we can find a clear moment where we understood that a particular thing has been so important for all our life.

Drums, guitars …

Well maybe we could cut some place of our own with these drums and these guitars

The first time I thought about this topic was when I was sixteen. It was still the era when CDs and digital music where far from having being invented.

So, I bought the Bruce Springsteen’s LP Born in The USA.

I was listening to one of my favourite song: No Surrender while a couple of rhymes of that song caught my attention:

“well maybe we could cut some place of our own with these drums and these guitars”.

Bruce Springsteen – No Surrender

Few words explain in a clear way the aim of this emerging rock’n’roll star; drums and guitars to express himself and create his world.

In fact, Bruce and his band had perfectly clear in mind what they were doing.

I guess this is a common feature of every person of success. Indeed I think it is the real reason of their success. In fact, they exactly know what they want and which are the tools they are going to use to realize it.

… and wings

At that time I had a passion for flying and I wanted to be an airlines pilot… well, thinking twice on it, it is still one of my passion. So it was very easy for me to change those rhymes into a more appropriate:

“well maybe we could cut some place of our own with these wings and these guitars”.

Biplane - a way I thought I could cut a place of our own

I always wanted to be an airlines pilot, but I left that a little weakness in my sight deeply conditioned me and made me think that I could have never been a pilot.

I spent the years of my youth stupidly repeating myself those rhymes, but deeply convinced that I would have never been an airlines pilot.

At a certain point of my life I read the books of Richard Bach and I started imagine myself flying with an old biplane all around the prairies of the United States, giving life to an airshow (you see….wings and guitars).

But it was nothing more than a nice, romantic idea… no concrete plan behind it… on which I could worked on…

Universe helps

Fortunately, Universe is wiser then a stupid kid.

Years later, in fact, Universe made me found a job, almost by chance, which allowed me to fly more than I could have ever imagined.

Between 2010 and 2013 I flew quite like a pilot; during summer of 2012, in only one month, I flew more hours than a flight attendant.

I was not using wings to create my world, but surely Universe gave me a hand to follow my young boy passion.

Artists and person of success have clear in mind what they want and, most of all, how to realize it.

Fabrizio De Andrè

Some months ago, I was looking at a TV-movie about one of the most famous italian song-writer: Fabrizio De Andrè.

Part of the movie was also about the relationship, never easy, between Fabrizio and his father. There is a scene, in the second part of the movie, which I think it is illuminating in understanding how it is important to understand which is the thing we will use to create our world.

Abraham Lincoln Biography

Fabrizio’s father is dying and is making a sort of balance of his own life. Speaking with his son, he says that his best investments were the guitar for Fabrizio and Abraham Lincoln’s biography for Mauro, Fabrizio’s brother.

Let me be clear on one point.

It’s not important that both of them gained success and became famous.

What counts is that, thank to those two things, they both could recognize their way in the world and follow it.

I wish myself to be as lucky as Fabrizio’s father in understanding what will be the equivalent things for my daughter and my son.

Again a guitar

Bruce Springsteen helps me in finding another example of this idea. One of the last rhymes of the song he dedicated to his mother, The Wish, says:

“Last night we all sat around laughing at the things that guitar brought us “.

Bruce Springsteen – The Wish

Again, I wish myself to be so lucky to help my son and my daughter identifying clear which is their own thing to create their world.

So, Universe made me found a job which gave me the opportunity to realize a passion of mine. Indeed, deep in my soul, I know that “wings” were not my way to create my world… and I understood it only in these last days, working on this post.

How I created my world

It was early 1990, the second semester at the Politecnico di Milano. I was attending the Course of Aeronautical Engineering and one of the exams was: Fundamentals of Computer Science.

We are speaking of the prehistory of the digital age in which we are now living.

I have never seen a computer in my life up to that moment, but I needed one. Internet was far from being invented, so I bought some journals about computer science, I spoke with some friends of mine, with some of my colleagues at the Politecnico and finally I found my “dream machine”: an assembled desktop computer by Philips; its architecture was an 8088 with no hard drive, but two floppy disk drives: one for the 5.25″ and one for the 3.5″ ones.

It’s funny, but my son and my daughter don’t even know what a floppy disk is…

My dream machine…

The operating system was MS-DOS 4.01, and it was a really brand new Operating System … most of the machines at the Politecnico still had MS-DOS 3!!!

In bundle with the computer there was an amazing game about the Battle of Britain, fought in the British skies during the II World War. Edited by Lucas Film, its name was “Their Finest Hour” and it was stored on two different floppy disks.

To play that game you should insert the first floppy, wait five to ten minutes to allow the system to load the game; then you could setup the mission and go with your plane on the runaway. During take off, everything froze and a message asked you to insert the second disk. Then, after some others five minutes, you could recover the take off and go in search of the enemies. When you found them and started engaging a battle, a black screen appeared asking you to insert the MS-DOS disk. All in all, it was very far from actual computer games and from what is our experience with a computer.

Indeed, that computer fascinated me.

It cost about one and a half million of Italian Lira, more or less 700 Euros (Euro was still far from coming). Me and my family have never been very rich and it was an important amount into a family budget.

Indeed my father bought it without questioning: maybe he had already seen it would have been the way I could cut a place of my own.

… to cut a place of my own

And yes, I used it, mostly unconsciously, to create my world.

It is strange, years have gone and I don’t even know how many computer I have had or simply used (I’m speaking of hundreds, maybe thousands…), but I can still remember what I have done with that computer.

I learned programming using a programming language known as Turbo Pascal. My first software was an utility which analyzed each programming file, listing each semantic structure, checking if it was correctly written. It was a very simple prototype of a modern IDE. Then I created a database to manage warehouse and selling for a videotapes productions Firm. Finally, the electronic version of a very popular board game named Connect Four.

It gained me a 27 in course’s final exam!

Have you ever thought about the things you used to create your own world? Would you like to tell us?

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