On a day-to-day basis, what's the difference between "influencing and guiding it" vs. "pushing it"? No snark, just trying to understand your POV a bit better.
Forcing it: I learn everything I can about AI. I attend meetups, conferences, whatever. I begin obsessing about how little progress I'm making towards my goal. Eventually, I either give up in frustration, or I take a sub-optimal leap in that direction just so I can make some progress.
It is the frustration and the sub-optimal leaps that cause the problems. The frustration leads to self-loathing and depression; the suboptimal leaps result in me being somewhere that, ultimately, doesn't lead where I want, leading me back to frustration.
Guiding it, on the other hand, starts similarly: I learn everything I can about AI. I attend meetups, conferences, whatever. What changes is the obsessing part. Now I'm trying to enjoy the experience, the knowledge and the people. Eventually, I find that it's not what I thought it was or a place where I fit opens naturally. If its the former, there's no frustration; if its the latter, huzzah.
I don't want to sound like I have some zen capability or anything (trust me, I'm far from that!). I have to remind myself very regularly the pitfalls of pushing things because I'm a very impatient person. I also have struggled with depression, so I also have to continually remind myself that, even if I feel like I'm not making progress, I am and that the alternative, feeling like I'm making progress when I'm not really, is far worse.
Yes life is what happens when you get too busy making just plans. A plan is where you want to be, but to get there your plan needs action items when when executed one at a time or in iterations will get you there.
Basically you need to do work to make it happen.
I could give 'day-to-day' examples, but maybe that's not even necessary.
I'm not the parent of this thread, but I'll try to give my side of the story. The thing is that you cannot control absolutely everything. When you think you have it all, there's suddenly divorce/nasty break-up (as it also happened to me), disease, loss of loved ones, a once in a century economic crisis while you're stuck somewhere in the middle of no-where etc.
I'm not arguing for fatalism :), on the contrary, but I think that if one has this on the back of his/her mind (s)he'll be a stronger person.