Accomplish Mints

If you examine games for instance, the things you accomplish in-game aren’t that awesome, yet you still have a drive to do them. The point being: you don’t need something epic in order to feel entertained. In Tetris for example, you’re simply stacking bricks — you merely accepted the artificial goal of completing rows.

Do you need prizes for motivation? Clearly not, or else video-games wouldn’t be a thing. Time and energy are invested for arbitrary awards that mean nothing outside the game. It’s like a coloring book: you accept the goal of filling in the blanks and you’re rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment when it’s done.

Even a “to-do list” is a simple means to create the circumstance of accomplishment. In other words, accomplishment is easy. But if you’re a masochist, you’ll use the process as a means of frustrating yourself. For example: you’ll select goals you don’t believe you can reach, or you’ll design criteria that’s nebulous and ever-changing.

So if you’re not feeling accomplished, guess what? You’re a masochist using the mechanism of achievement as a means to torture yourself. STOP THAT! Relax and pick easy, well-defined goals for now. Practice winning for once. Stop teasing yourself with feelings of lack and limitation. Get out there and win!

Arbitrary Goals

It amazes me the hoops I’ll jump through to complete an arbitrary goal. In other words, if a pointless objective strikes my fancy, I’ll put a lot of time and effort into completing it despite the fact that nothing changes, I simply check it off my to-do list. This pattern of behavior is found in real life as well as in video-games where I’ll grind away hours for a meaningless trinket.

In other words, what I do doesn’t matter. I need simply pick an end, and pursue it. I’m not progressing or improving anything, I’m merely keeping busy. That’s the nature of games: you apply effort for the entertainment-value received by expending energy. At the end of every game, nothing changes — it’s GAME OVER whether you win or lose. The ultimate goal for you-the-player is to extract enjoyment from the experience.

So pick a goal, any goal you like — and do THAT. Life is a game, and if you take it too seriously, you’re going to have a VERY bad time. Imagine yourself as Alice in Wonderland for instance, you could play along with the absurdity that surrounds, or you could fight it tooth-and-nail attempting to establish some form of order. Playing along is the only reasonable option to take. There is NOTHING of significance happening here, it’s a game, have fun.

Oh sure, people act solemn at times, but so do children playing pretend. Drama can be fun to act out, with soliloquies of betrayal and tragic tales of woe and dire predictions of gloom & doom. But at the end of the day when playtime’s over, none of it matters — just admire the production for what it was. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”.

Appreciation Station

What’s ice-cream without appreciation? An insult, an undigestible concoction, absolute garbage? Without appreciation, it’s nothing special at best, and something horrible at worst. This condition applies to everything: something is only worthwhile if it’s appreciated. Therefore, appreciation is the secret-sauce that turns mere rock into pure gold.

That’s magic by the way — a spell of sorts. Something of no-value becomes something of high-value through the application of appreciation. In other words: if you can focus your appreciation, you can turn anything into a treasure. Simply devise a story in which the object-in-question becomes the hero — and voila, you create gold.

The inverse is also true. Devise a wicked tale in which the object-in-question becomes a villain — and voila, you create crap. It’s an amazing power you possess: the ability to add or subtract value from anything, simply based on the story you tell yourself. The enjoyment you experience in life is directly related to these stories.

Not enjoying life? Then you’re obviously focused on unpleasant stories that make appreciation difficult. Whereas the logical path is to focus on amazing stories that fill you with delight. Why aren’t you doing this already? Because, a vehicle in motion will tend to drift and crash if no one’s steering it. You’ve neglected to steer your mind, letting it swerve this way and that.

Grab the wheel! It’s okay, it’s within your ability and it’s expected of you. Yes, it’ll take some practice to get the hang of it — but the sooner you start and the more you do it, the better you’ll get. You’ll no longer veer-off course and into every tree. Eventually life will become the awesome adventure you knew it could be.

Small Scale

Sometimes I play video-games. Oftentimes it’s for research purposes. If life is a simulation, a simpler and smaller-scale implementation of it can aid in understanding the larger game I find myself within. The way in which I interact with games can provide clues as to what I’m doing wrong in regular life.

For example, I notice that I’m often fighting with the controls. I’m often blaming them for my poor performance. Ah, these friggin buttons! Gah, this touch-screen is slowing me down! If only I had better tools to work with!! Yet, it’s the same interface everyone else is using — but for some reason I’m having a major problem with it.

That’s an issue because I focus on the controls as the sole source of my problem. Rather than adapting to them and working within provided parameters, I struggle against them in a hopeless battle of attrition. You WILL submit to ME!!! Yet being just a collection of buttons, they sit there silently and never change.

It’s true in this game as well. I’ve been complaining about the interface forever. I honestly don’t get it. I don’t know how to do anything in this world so I sit staring at the scenes flashing by. And when I do try to engage, I crash. No not an actual crash, but things get unpleasant — fast. Therefore, I simply resign myself to watching.

In games I complain the entire time, yet due to an inherent masochism I keep at it — losing 20 times for every 1 win. I get a rush when the odds are stacked against me — the hopelessness and frustration is intoxicating. It’s like poking at a sore-spot just to feel the tingling sensation of pain. BUT it’s stressful and ultimately I don’t enjoy it. Therefore, I don’t want to experience that kind of scenario anymore.

So what are my options? I suppose I have to accept and appreciate the controls for what they are — and NOT criticize them. I have to adapt, not them. It’s MY timing that needs work, not the control mechanism. I have to seek aspects of the game I DO like, facets I can comfortably enjoy. And I think it’s fine to watch other people play, but I might try to squad-up more — isolated adventures are inherently harder.

I tend to default to solo-mode, trying to do everything myself. Yet in games, I know my stress-levels are higher when all the pressure’s on me and there’s no room for goofing-off. It’s nice to be part of a team and allow other members to fill in the gaps. When alone, I have to know everything, whereas in a team I just have to do my particular part.

I came into this world with my back to the wall, not trusting anyone. “Those suckas won’t catch me slippin.” And they never did! They never actually tried, but I was ready! Hm, what I think this all boils down to is this: it’s NOT the controls, it’s NOT the game itself, it’s the fact that this is a squad-based game and I’ve rejected team-play in favor of trying to do things on my own — yet my character is not capable of performing every role, and consequently fails at the overall objective.

Therefore, to succeed at this game, I need to be an effective teammate. I can’t do it all on my own, nor should I attempt to do so. There’s no trophy at the end anyway — the overall objective IS the squad. Who cares about attaining arbitrary goals, it’s the camaraderie you develop along the way and the shared experiences that make team-games worth playing. It’s not about how well YOU succeed, it’s about how well you contribute to the success of the team you find yourself within.

Without a team, you’re just a freak on a field with a ball and no one to pass to. As an individual, you obviously can’t compete in the larger game. No matter how hard you train, you simply can’t fill all the positions. And even if you tried, what a boring experience it is without a celebratory victory party and no one to high-five — nothing but you struggling against impossible odds for a trophy that isn’t there.

So here is the lesson for today: strive to be the best teammate you can become.

Big Brain Time

What do you do when you know you’re in a dream and you also realize that dreams don’t adhere to logic? It’s Big Brain Time! That’s right, it’s time to apply amusingly absurd solutions to all your dream-world problems. In a dream, logic is for losers, it won’t work — B does not necessarily follow A.

For example, do you want to completely change your life? What you DON’T do, is start a gradual process of incremental improvement. That’s dumb — it’s too logical. What you DO, is make a collage of pretty pictures that visually describes the life you want to live. Eventually, your life will morph into whatever you imagined. Sound stupid? Good, it should — THAT’S how you know it’s right.

You may think I’m being facetious, but I assure you I’m not. As a former logical-thinker who utterly failed at life due to the over-application of logic, I’m simply speaking from experience. Logic IS for losers. If you want a great life, you gotta go big-brain. You have to come up with crazy ways to go from A to Z. Or better yet, A to Alpha-Centauri. In a dream, you can go wherever you want.

Do you have a goal you want to achieve? Then do it! There’s no “right time” to wait for, there’s nothing you need to know, no preparation necessary, no luck involved, no stars to align, no talent needed — you’re in dream, you simply wish it into existence. Focus on the goal and it manifests around you. If you believe you need a logical path to get there — you’re wrong. Get there the big-brain way!

Rich and Famous

Are you rich and famous? If not, why not? No offense, but you’re in a freakin’ simulation designed to bring dreams to life!! If you’re not doing something amazing, you’re being an absolute tool.

Imagine playing Minecraft for the first time. You enter the world, lost in the middle of the woods — so you seek out the nearest village. You reckon that your only course of action is to rent a room from one of the villagers while helping to pick crops from the local farm. You go to bed every night for fear of monsters and never stray too far. What a stupid way to play, right?

You should be out exploring and building grand monuments as testament to your creative power and saving villages from pillagers. You should be building portals to other realms or collecting treasures or mining to parts unknown. Your name should be known far and wide in that world — your mark should be made everywhere you go. THAT is how you play!

Imagine living out that mundane life in Minecraft and meeting up with other players at the end of it all. You might ask one: so what did you do while in the world? “Well I sought the End Portal and defeated the Ender Dragon. What about you?” Oh, well I lived in a small room in a village and picked carrots mostly. “WTF bro!?!”

But that’s a game, blah, blah, blah! Yet, in interview after interview of rich and famous people, you’ll hear them talk about how they once wished to be where they currently are. Then one day, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by the physical manifestation of their dreams. It happens again and again — it can’t be a coincidence!

In addition, they always add: and you too can fulfill YOUR dreams. Are they lying? Are they simply the “lucky ones”? OR maybe you’re a moron that’s been playing this game wrong. Which is more likely to be true: that rich and famous people are lying to you OR you’re clueless? Spoiler Alert! You’re a chump.

Have you not seen untalented people rise to the rank of rich and famous!? How is that possible? Because this is a world where dreams come true. Whereas you’re focused on thoughts of lack and limitation, they go through the world unencumbered by such nonsense. It doesn’t take luck or hard-work or talent or any in-world stuff at all — it takes focus.

Filter out the lack and limitation and focus only on the life you want to live. This is a dream-world and your path is selected through focus. Believe in a mundane world and you shall have it. Believe in a scary world and it’s yours. Believe in a grand world of fanciful delights and you’ll have that. Become rich and famous, there’s no reason not to.

Space Game

I’m still knee-deep in computer-programming activities. My latest experiment/release is an Astroids-like Space Game. It’s using Javascript to draw on a Canvas element by utilizing a bunch of trigonometry. Because I like using vanilla Javascript and a raw Canvas element, I had roll my own collision-detection mechanism.

I’ve also been watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix (I’m currently up to the middle of season 3). That particular series is chock-full of competency by the way. If you want to bathe yourself in the concept of people performing their jobs exceptionally, that’s the one to watch. Picard is professionalism personified — and of course the entire crew steps up whenever duty calls.

I think the show has been keeping me from getting road-blocked by problems that spring-up along the way. In the past, I’d often quit when the going got too tough. But now, if something isn’t functioning properly, it means I need more research or perhaps a different approach. With enough perseverance, there’s always a solution. Quitting is not an option: there is only the performance of one’s duty till the end.

It’s dedication to the craft. In Star Trek, that craft was an actual craft, the starship Enterprise. In my case, the craft is the art of programming. It’s authoring and organizing sets of complex instructions. It’s coercing pixels to dance across the screen in predictable as well as unpredictable paths. It’s seeking out new ways and unique solutions, boldly coding where no developer has gone before.