Hiatus 2 (Day 207)

When I started this blog, there weren’t many competing priorities in my life. I have since found some really interesting things to dive deep into and with strong reasons why. I’ll share them with you right now.

Communication – As I have worked at my company (and through the lessons I have learned writing this blog), I have developed a philosophy about the best way to run a company. Your vision and plan should first be meticulously thought-out and grounded in reason. Then, they should be championed by management and shared on a regular basis. That way, everyone can repeatedly buy-in and work with focus.

I haven’t seen that done excellently yet. I would often find myself wondering why we are doing something or what the plan is next. And it is up to the decision maker to make that clear. You can’t blame the child if they didn’t understand how the storyteller narrated the book. I want to be a part of that shift. I want to explore my theories in aligning a company. That sounds like a grand and worthwhile goal.

Creation – I want to try my hand in entrepreneurship. I want to explore my ability to find pain points in the market and build solutions that fill them and every aspect of that process in between. My friend and I have a project that has been lagging for a while. I want to get back to it.

These goals truly make me come alive and I can’t wait to explore where they will take me. These goals and strong reasons why make it easy for me to decide to drop this blog. Unfortunately, my blog doesn’t have as strong of a reason to exist and I found myself split with too many commitments.

Perhaps someday I will return, but it will be after I have truly given these goals the ol’ college try. This is goodbye. I am so happy for all the lessons I have learned.

(Note: I don’t want to become a boring fart that is all work and no play. I am not foregoing all fun activities for these two goals. I’ve been doing a lot of other fun things like Toastmasters, boxing, dance, and writing. So to complete this post, that’s why I’m dropping this because that’s a lot of balls in the air ūüôā )

Hiatus 2 (Day 207)

Day 171 (Start Again)

A few days ago on Reddit, I wrote about two mind-shifts I made while making this blog that allowed me conquer my mental blocks and continue posting here regularly.

There is a third mental shift I had that I wanted to flesh out in greater detail today.

You Can Start Again

When I started this blog, I was on a roll. I posted every day religiously for about 40 days.

Then life went crazy.

Over the next two months, I went to a music festival, I traveled to Japan, I went partying, I tried tons of stuff. And by the end of this fun, but chaotic time, I had lost the habit of posting to my blog. I probably posted 3 times over that time period.

After that span of time, I would wake up every day and make the decision that I would post when I got back from work. And most days would pass without a post to show for it.

This kept on happening until one day, I decided to sit down and reason through what was causing this mental block. I wrote my way through my feelings until I finally found the conclusion: I was trying to continue where I left off.

Here is that post.

I was on such a huge righteous push in the first 30 days that I had started stretching my posts to very high average timers. 20 Minutes A Day had become 1 Hour A Day.

Once again, I was setting the bar too high for myself. I was like the guy who returned to the gym after years away expecting to lift 2 plates just like the old days.

I had grown accustomed to doing nothing for the blog for a month, how could I expect myself to suddenly output so much again right away?

So I reset my goal to only 20 minutes a day and was able to post once again.


I think this happens all the time in life. People don’t realize that if they’re starting over, they have to reset their expectations too.

Athletes come back from injury expecting to do what they used to do right away and either re-injure themselves or quit because they get impatient.

People fall off their diets and gain back 15 pounds. Now in their minds they have to lose 15 pounds AND the 15 extra pounds they just gained. The bar is even higher than it was before they did anything at all.

That thinking is false. You aren’t more behind because you used to do something and then stopped. You are simply where you are now.

In fact, you are still ahead because now you know exactly what it takes to get back to where you were when you stopped. So go ahead and take those first steps again. Start again.

Time: 23:05

More work in dialogue. Used this tutorial.

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 10.16.34 PM


Day 171 (Start Again)

Day 24

Philosophy Friday: Calm

I looked through some of my old posts today and it was an interesting experience. I wrote about what I felt in real-time and because of that, the writing was so visceral. The same thoughts I was having in my head were on the page, which is as interesting to read as it is terrible to feel in real life.

Today, I feel much more relaxed. I am no longer a stalled engine, grinding its gears trying to get started. I am a humming baby engine, rolling slowly every day and occasionally revving to a higher speed. I am calmer.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have internal doubts and fears. Sometimes when I am talking to a girl, I feel the pressure to impress her with a joke and I am afraid I’ll say something that makes her not like me. Sometimes I’m afraid I will break down in an anxiety-driven fear when¬†speaking up¬†in front of a group. Sometimes, I wonder if I will just curl up into my shell, never to return to the social world again. But I accept these fears and doubts. They are me. I have those feelings and that is simply what it means to be human. That is where I am, I must accept that if I am to continue moving forward.

These days, I see those feelings for what they really are. They are my internal voice holding myself to unrealistic expectations. For a long time in my life, I had held myself to the standards of others and that was the root of my fears and doubts.

I had to be as funny as the funny guy at the party. I had to be as good-looking as the good-looking guy on TV. I had to be as confident as the confident people I see at work. I had to be as eloquent as that well-spoken guy who talked before me in the introduction circle. I had to be as smart as smart people I meet at school. I had to have enough friends to talk to that popular girl. But all of that is false.

If I have any other expectation of myself beyond a little better than who I am today, I am being unrealistic. I am where I am. How can I possibly cross the chasm from me to who I want to be today? That is frankly impossible. I can only hope to put in my day of work today. If I put in my day, I win. That is the only expectation I should have. And God, it makes life so much simpler. I can take pride in the fact that I did my work today. With each day I return here, I get a little closer to where I want to be.

After I drop expectations born of¬†other people, I can start to think about where I want to be and work towards it without any thoughts like “I should be here” or “how come you can’t do this?” Those are lies. I’m being impatient. I can only change one day at a time.

Time: 25:04

Git Commit


  • How to spawn shot objects using an input
  • How to destroy shots after they leave the game area


I am sick, so I prioritized sleep over getting this is by the deadline. Here’s to health.

Game development with Unity is a lot of fun. Try it out!


P.S. WordPress ate my other reflective post. I am pretty irked ūüė°

Day 24

Brainstorm (Day 18)

Post idea:

I want to write a post about how to reach the strongest solution to a problem. The strongest solution to a problem isn’t in any one person’s head. If a person attempts to solve a problem on his own, he has used only the information he has been able to gather in his head. If he shares the problem with others and everyone communicates their input on the problem at hand, they can pool their knowledge to come up with a much more nuanced solution. One that better reflects the world we live in.

No matter how knowledgeable a single person is, he only has his¬†perspective, experience, and mindset. When many people look at a¬†problem, the necessary questions needed to shape the best solution are much more likely to be asked. The channels for sharing this knowledge must absolutely be wide open for this process to work. No person should feel afraid to speak up during the critique, no person should feel like any question is a “stupid question” and no one person’s opinion should have greater weight than any other.

Now to write what I just wrote in an accessible way ūüôā Stay tuned.

Starting stopwatch…

  • Time
    • 25 minutes, 15 seconds
  • No Git Commit
  • Learned
    • Downloaded and installed Unity for Mac
    • Did some planning. My PC is due for a replacement, so I did some research on what replacement to get using this 20 minutes. I settled on getting a cheap, reliable gaming laptop (Dell Inspiron 7200), upgrading the RAM and disk space, and then going for a desktop at a later date when this laptop is no longer useful.
Brainstorm (Day 18)

Values Drive Expectations (Day 13)

In Day 6, I wrote about how it was only after I dropped the unrealistic expectation of being a good writer that I was¬†able to write freely and click “publish” so¬†you could read that post. (Thank you for reading it. I love you, have my babies. I have 3 minutes before I need to get on that plane ;)) Dropping the expectation that I had to write a good blog post was all I needed to make that post.¬†I had to accept that if I am a bad writer, that’s okay, I would be fine.¬†I’m still James, I’m still a valued person.

Let’s revisit what I was feeling before I dropped that expectation. I was terrified of writing a bad post. My mind was telling me, “I have to write a really good¬†post this time.” I probably set the bar¬†to what I wrote in Day 5. It had to be even better than that post. Or else I wasn’t “progressing”. Or else I wasn’t good enough.

I was able to relax when I realized that was false.¬†I had been writing¬†for 5 days. I’m not a writer, I’m a wannabe. And I’m going to stay a non-writer until one day I realize, “Wow, I write a lot. I am a person who writes.” At that point, these fears won’t really play into my decision-making. Just as you have no inner fears when you¬†lift your fork to your mouth when you eat. You are simply a person who knows how to use a fork.

(You weren’t always, but you were free to learn¬†because you weren’t expected to know how yet. I remember when I was around 10 years old, I would refuse to use chopsticks. I didn’t know how and everyone else did. And I felt stupid because I didn’t know how and everyone else did.¬†It was safer to use a fork. I eventually learned how to use the chopsticks, but I complained the whole time and hated the process.)

When I dropped the expectation of being a good writer and viewed myself as a newbie trying something out for the first time, I was finally able to post. This is an experiment. I’m¬†a kid playing with Lego blocks. I wonder what those blocks will become? That’s pretty cool, huh?


Now that I look back, I realize that there are deeper reasons for my unrealistic expectation. Now, I can ask the question, “Why?”

First of all, why does my post have to be any good at all? Why do I care so much? Does the 3rd grader care if his story about the tiger and the wooly mammoth is any good? No. He just thought it’d be cool to write a story about the tiger and the wooly mammoth and how they went to the jungle and the wooly mammoth stubbed his toe. Now that story is completely organic. Do you see any desire to “write a good story” there? No. And that’s what makes it awesome.

Inevitably, if a person’s goal is to “write something good” as opposed to “write”, his effort shows in his work. He ignores all of those crazy, creative ideas in his head and instead thinks, “What do people want to read? What will make me look smart?¬†No, that idea won’t work because I’ve never seen anyone write about that before. I need to live up to the expectations of college-educated readers. I want to look like I know what I’m talking about.”

(I just had this thought that I should write about crab-people. That will never come to a person who is caught up in the outcome of his writing. PENIS! Jakarta, Jamaica, Jordan, Hey Ya! Case-in-point, I write because I want to write. I rest my case. Cheers, guvna.)

Writing doesn’t have to be smart. It doesn’t have to be anything. I could talk all country-like, ya dig? as long as¬†I wrote what I wanted to say. That’s it. Just like that 3rd grader. Is his¬†story good or bad? Does it matter?


There is another “Why?” question. Why am I setting this expectation of myself?

Let’s tease apart this expectation. What is the expectation? The expectation is that I should write a good blog post. Why? Because I have written “good” stuff before. Why does it matter if it is good or bad? Because if I write good stuff, I succeeded. And if I write bad stuff, I failed. Why? Because I have attached my self-worth to whether I write good blog posts.

I held¬†the value that¬†it is good to be good at writing. And it is bad to be bad at writing. Is this a real value? No. Let’s go back to that 3rd grader writing that story. Did he fail because he didn’t split his story into chapters and his story didn’t have a beginning, middle, and end? No.¬†His story was just a story he wanted to write. No goals attached. He wrote it for himself and no one else and again,¬†that’s what makes it awesome.

I want to write. Period. As soon as I attach something to the end of that sentence, my intentions are no longer pure. If I want to write “to make millions of dollars”, I am writing the way I think others want me to write. My mind would think, “What other book made millions of dollars? Harry Potter did! Hmm… Larry Boulder and the Order Of The Blade…Chapter 1.”

This line of thought makes me think of this concept of people who try too hard. The “try-hards” of the world. What does it¬†mean to be a “try-hard”? Well let me think back to when I played League of Legends. I hated losing. And in retrospect, the reason why was because I thought losing meant I wasn’t good enough.¬†That is the key. I thought winning meant that I was good enough, and losing meant that I wasn’t good enough. Is this a real¬†value? No.

Losing is part of the process of playing the game. No NBA team has ever had an undefeated season. To get better, you must lose. But to a try-hard, you value winners. And you despise losers. And the higher you value winning, the harder it becomes to play the next game because you may lose. Some people can’t take this pressure and quit entirely.¬†These try-hards have chosen a completely artificial value to live by. Here’s something else, they are¬†also completely misunderstood by those who do not hold that value. The “non-try-hards”¬†are the people that say things like, “It’s just a game. I just play to have fun.” Those people¬†have not tied their self-worth to winning the game.


I keep¬†looking around and seeing all these values people apply to their lives. Some people value themselves based on their education. Depending on where their standard falls on the spectrum and whether they attained their goal, they¬†draw either pride or shame from it.¬†One person thinks a college education is “good enough”. He went to college and looks down¬†on the high school graduates. He may also think people with PhDs are so much better than him and maybe he feels a little inferior.

Another person¬†sets the bar at college education and couldn’t cut it. He’s the guy who claims “I could’ve done it if I had the right teacher” or “I had to work a job while I was there, you had it easy”.¬†He¬†views college grads like deities and despises people like himself.¬†Yet another person set the bar at high school and went to college. He tells himself, “Wow, I really achieved something here.” He views high school graduates as equals and college graduates as rock stars.

I observed all of this¬†and thought to myself, “So, is college education a real value?” Well, it is as far as it gives you something real¬†you want. Like a job (hopefully)… but beyond that, should we be valuing people based on it? No, a high school graduate and a Ph.D. have the same value¬†in reality. The bar you set is completely arbitrary. It doesn’t actually exist.

What I noticed is even if you are “successful”, you are still driven by¬†these values. You use them to judge others positively or negatively. Think about that the next time you look at a homeless person in disgust. Put yourself in their shoes. If you flip¬†the roles around¬†and think you are a failure if you are homeless, that means you hold the value that your self-worth depends on whether you have a place to live or not. Did the homeless guy¬†fail? I don’t think so.¬†He¬†gets food every day, he gets sleep. He is just as much a human as any of us are.

Starting stopwatch…
Git Commit
Time: 20 minutes, 32 seconds
-Stared at the code for a long time and pulled it apart thread by thread. Grueling ūüėõ

P.S. It’s a “longie”, but a goodie ūüôā I loved writing this post. Someone told me that the progression of my blog looks a little like I am slowly going insane. I take that as a compliment. I slowly stopped caring what others thought of me, and started writing for myself. I am that 3rd grader. And that’s fucking awesome.

Epilogue (The Tragedy of Mammoth And Tiger)

The wooly mammoth stubbed his toe. It broke in three places, but unfortunately, the fracture wasn’t caught in time. The tiger kept nagging him to go to the doctor to check on it, but he was too prideful and kept insisting that the toe was “just fine”. The toe got gangrenous and the infection spread everywhere until they finally took him to the mammoth hospital. The zebra doctor had grave news. They had to amputate.

The tiger was besides herself in anger at the world. “Why did it have to be Mr. Mammoth!? Why couldn’t it have been me? Oh, cruel, cruel world.” But the world didn’t answer. It wasn’t cruel. It simply didn’t answer. Fin. (My heart…)

Values Drive Expectations (Day 13)

Decisions have consequences (Day 12)

Note: Just so I don’t mislead you guys here, I spent more than two hours writing this post and a long time thinking about the topic¬†before I could post this. The time I list here is only for game development. ūüôā

No action¬†stands alone. I’ve seen this firsthand. Yesterday, I admitted I went to Thailand and I did “a thing”. Today, this girl I know refuses to talk with me. A few days ago, I admitted I don’t believe in God. I’m going to call my mom in a few hours to have a talk that I assume is about that very admission.¬†Completely fine. I was like the kid with the firecracker. I was curious. I had to light¬†it.

If you read what I wrote so far and decided you wanted to do something (like write a blog), I want you to make sure you really want to do it. To do that, you first have to look as many steps down the road of consequences as you can, and decide whether you still want to do that thing with them in mind.

Classic example: A man wants to leave his marriage. Why does he want to leave the marriage? The truth is he doesn’t love his wife and he thinks he can love someone else more. Sometimes people think that. He shouldn’t avoid that feeling. That feeling is the truth. Instead, he should think his decision through completely.¬†What are the consequences of that decision? Well, this man¬†has three kids. Let’s start there.

So his kids will have to experience the divorce process. What if¬†the divorce process can be¬†done amicably? If the man and his wife¬†have discussed this decision¬†and accept that the man¬†shouldn’t stay in a marriage he doesn’t want, they can split peacefully. Here the man gets what he wants with minimal trauma for the kids. But if this cannot be achieved and the divorce process is destructive for the kids, does the man still want to leave?¬†Let’s assume no.

There are other choices here as there always are (NOTHING is black and white, remember that. Nothing I can think of, at least. Except the colors themselves.). The real underlying problem here is this: to do this the way he wants, his wife has to understand his reasoning. How can he help her understand his viewpoint? They can go to a divorce counselor to mediate the discussion so both sides understand the other and come to an agreement. Now the complete decision is: if the man leaves the marriage and the kids are minimally damaged in the process, does he still want to? This is a much more complete, responsible question to answer.

(The¬†counselor may even bring up problems¬†in the marriage that are solvable and they don’t even have to divorce. But let’s assume his desire to leave the marriage is honest.)

As an aside, if¬†he wants to leave, why should he stay? He’s only lying to himself and he¬†will have negative emotions as a consequence. His lie is “I want to be in this marriage” and keeping this secret will only serve to hurt everyone involved. One negative outcome – he will resent his wife. Any negative emotions he acts on¬†while he lies to himself (like cheating, abusing his wife, neglecting his children) will probably¬†cause even more damage than an amicable divorce. Lying to yourself is the¬†root of negative emotion. One huge lie I made to myself was that I was good at talking to people. Every time I did something that revealed I wasn’t, I hated myself.

Let’s¬†roll up the marriage¬†example in a summary. A man wants to leave a marriage. Fair. There is a possibility that if he leaves, his kids will be traumatized. Why will they be traumatized? The man and his wife¬†do not understand one another and will fight. Is he okay leaving knowing¬†they will be traumatized? No.¬†What can he do about that possibility? He can work to explain himself more clearly to his wife. How does he do that? Divorce counselor. NOW, we ask the complete question. If he can leave the marriage with an understanding wife and minimal damage to the kids, does he want to? If the answer is yes, he should.

So what does that mean to you? Well, the main reason¬†I’m writing about this is¬†I wanted to add some more detail to my suggestion in an earlier post. Write a blog. After a few days, I realized that suggestion isn’t the entire truth. The entire truth¬†is this: you should admit your flaws¬†if you want to and only if you believe the benefits of admitting a flaw outweigh the costs.

(Let me urge you¬†that many¬†admissions are completely harmless, like admitting you are socially awkward or admitting that you don’t know everything or admitting that you don’t know what you are doing and you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS admit them. The benefit is you don’t have that expectation of yourself anymore and the cost is everyone in the world who fucking feels the exact same way is able to see that someone else feels that way too and they all feel a little better about themselves. Which isn’t really a cost at all.)

If you read my post¬†and decided you want to write a blog too, I want to make sure you understand your decision completely first. Let me distill my¬†suggestion to its simplest form. You should¬†admit something you’ve kept secret.

Imagine a dude wants to admit that he is an alcoholic. He has read my post and he knows that if he admits it, he will eventually know that deep inside he is an alcoholic and can be free from hiding it. After that, he can finally accept help for it. Fuck yes, admit it, hypothetical dude.

Okay, so what are the consequences? Well, now his family, friends, and co-workers will know. If it means his family, friends, and co-workers will know he is an alcoholic, does he still want to admit it? What if he works in a rigid workplace? Say this guy is an elementary school teacher. If he admits his problem on a public blog, he may lose his job. So the complete question here is, does he still want to admit he is an alcoholic if it means he will lose his job? No. Okay. Then he should not admit this on his blog. Maybe at some point after he has been sober for a while, he can safely admit it on his blog. You can think your admissions through in this way to make sure you really want to admit a certain flaw to the world.

What¬†other options does he have? Can he admit it,¬†but in a way he doesn’t lose his job? Maybe he can¬†admit he is an alcoholic to his doctor. Or¬†Alcoholics Anonymous. Then he can finally get the help he needs without risking his job. These¬†are more responsible ways to¬†become free from his¬†secret flaw. There is a completely good reason he shouldn’t admit that on his blog. Very good.

Sometimes you want to do something at first glance, but if¬†you consider the consequences fully, you don’t want to anymore. That’s not the end of it though, you still want to do that something. Explore alternatives. There may be¬†other ways to get what you want that do not have¬†those consequences. Think it through and find it.¬†Don’t just leave your hidden desire unmet. Good luck.

(That being said, make sure you are basing your decision on honest reasons. Every admission is freeing as fuck.)

Email me, text me, call me with your secret and I’ll help you find the solution you¬†really want.

Starting stopwatch…
Git Commit
Time: 44 minutes, 57 seconds
-Starting to digest what the purpose of each module is. Namely Randomizer, Stat Manager, and Tetramino. Slowly making more sense.

See you next time, my fellow human beings.


Decisions have consequences (Day 12)

Expectations build walls (Day 11)

I distinctly remember during my trip to Thailand having a conversation with my friends about what we wanted to do. To be honest, I wanted to check out the red light district. Maybe not necessarily partake… okay, I wanted to partake. But this statement¬†kept me from bringing this up. It went as follows:

Friend: “It just seems so sad to me when people go to the red light district for women. I mean, come on, don’t you want to go to a club and meet a girl organically, flirt with her a little and take her home?”

When I heard that, man, I absolutely did not want to bring up the fact that I wanted to go. I thought he would judge me and think I was sad and pathetic. It was only until two days later that I said, “Okay guys, I really want to go to the red light district while we’re here. If you don’t want to go with me, that’s okay.”

After that, the mood shifted, he was able to address the topic directly. He wanted to know why I wanted to go. Well, can’t a person be curious? That was really my only reason. He wanted to know what the area¬†looked like. He wanted to know what the process was like. He wanted to know if there were any really hot girls there. And I told him. And it was absolutely a bonding experience.

I say this to say, if you want to truly connect with someone, you have to demonstrate to them that you will not judge them for anything they do or think. Or else they will close up.

For example, imagine two people are exchanging details about their lives and one of them says, “Yeah, I did¬†undergrad at¬†Harvard.”

The response here is very important. If the second person says, “Wow, you must be really smart.” That person has just set an expectation on the first person.¬†The first person now internally thinks, “Alright, well I can’t bring up the fact that I partied all the time and had a 2.3 GPA.” Wall constructed. (“Really? How was it?” is a much less defensive question.)

But the walls can also be broken. If the second person then asks, “Well, you had to have partied though. I mean, it is college, right?” Wall destroyed. The first person can now safely say yes, he was absolutely a party animal. Second person: “And no one’s perfect, what was your lowest grade?” Huge internal sigh of relief by the first person. He can now admit “Nope, I wasn’t really that great of a student, 2.3 GPA.” Almost immediately, you are back to two people talking and no one is putting up walls to the other.

The opposite is also true. If the Harvard grad said something like, “Man, college¬†was so easy, I got straight As and honors. I don’t get why people thought it was so hard.” He¬†just set an expectation that¬†getting good grades is expected. The other person raises his guard because he dropped out of college.

Every time you pass judgment on something in your life, you set that expectation on those around you. If you tell someone, “Man, that bar stinks! It doesn’t have good martinis or beer or anything!” and he actually likes that bar? His response will be, “Yeah…” and he’ll secretly think you two won’t get along.

If you instead began by asking, “So what’d you think of the bar?”, he can safely say, “Oh, I thought it was great!” But maybe he’s just being nice, so you can ask, “Oh, what’d you like about it?” After his response, you can safely say you actually didn’t care for it and now everyone has been able to express their true feelings. No walls, just two souls on this earth.

Your values show in your interaction with the world. And your values reveal your expectations. For example, if someone values being smart and learning on your own, it will absolutely show in his actions. There are so many times, especially in the developer world, where I’ve observed the following situation:

A developer doesn’t know a certain technology and it comes up in conversation. A second developer speaks up and says,¬†“Man, I learned that ten¬†years ago. Any developer worth his salt should know that already.”

The second person has just set the expectation that people should already know things.¬†Now, only the bravest of the first persons will be able to come to the second person for questions or help. And even then, the first person will feel the need to demonstrate how much he knows so the second person doesn’t judge as harshly.

If the second person instead responded, “Oh yeah, I remember running into that. It took me a while to learn.” or even just “Oh, that tech. Do you know what it is?” The second person would¬†demonstrate to the first person that it’s okay to not know something. It’s cool that you learned. Wall fucking destroyed.

This has been a huge revelation to me ever since I started this journey of being honest with myself. The easiest person to talk to in the world is a person who demonstrates to you that you don’t have to impress him. Not one bit. He wants to know you, not the prettied-up, perfect facade you put up everywhere you go. And a huge part of being able to do that is not having to put up a prettied-up, perfect facade everywhere you go.

If I know I am socially awkward and I walk up to someone and can work through my pauses and strange behavior without getting angry at myself, I have demonstrated to the person that I think it’s okay to be socially awkward. The person I am talking to now feels at ease. Now he can do something awkward because he knows I don’t care. This applies to everything. Valuing yourself based on¬†money, possessions, knowledge, experiences, what kind woman you can pull, who you married, the size of your house, how you talk, your accent, the size of your fucking nose, your height, your morals, your virtues, I don’t know. If you are not comfortable accepting¬†something in your life, everyone around you will not feel comfortable opening up¬†about it either.

That’s why becoming comfortable with yourself allows you to connect with others. And to¬†become comfortable with yourself, you must expose your flaws in a fashion that forces you to admit they are your reality.

I know most people reading this instantly wanted to ask me all about my experiences at the red light district after hearing me bring it up. Go ahead, ask me. I’m all ears.

P.S. I didn’t know where to shoehorn this in, but there’s also the situations where people¬†open to a stranger with bravado or a tease. This sets an expectation to deliver on the witty comeback. That’s fine, as long as you demonstrate that you are fine with any possible reaction they have, be it shyness, laughing, stuttering, a bad joke, or a good rib.

Again, email me at 20minutesadayblog@gmail.com.

No game development today. It’s 5 AM, I haven’t slept yet and I’m camping today. Next time! (Gasp, chain broken. But in the big picture, it’s just a day.)

Expectations build walls (Day 11)

Praise can be debilitating (Day 9)

Someone told me today that they really liked my writing style. I want to let you know this isn’t my “writing style”. This is my thoughts directly onto the page. And writing something unfiltered like this¬†is absolutely terrifying. But also gratifying. First, I felt¬†naked, then I felt¬†open. I love everyone.

I can’t write about League of Legends today because I’ve been wrestling with something else. I am past the self-doubt phase. I look at my past posts and am more-or-less in agreement with them. If no one else thinks it’s true, that’s fine. I think it’s truth and hopefully,¬†you do too. The new fear that I’ve been wrestling with is this. “How can I keep this up? How do I keep writing good stuff every day? What if I just write something really shitty today?” I don’t really know the answer, let’s walk through my thoughts and see¬†if I reach one by the end of the post.

I went out to dinner with my team¬†today and it was excellent. We had a really great time, everyone was so open and it was probably one of the most fun times I’ve had in my life. The new thing I experienced was direct praise for my blog. People were bringing it up and telling me, “You inspired me to do (something)!” “You are a really good writer, James!”, “Wow, this blog is really cool!”, “I look forward to seeing your game some day!” I was happy to hear that, but after a while I couldn’t help but think, “I hope I don’t let those people down.”

I sit here tonight with nagging fears that I might not write something as “good” as the things I wrote in the past. This isn’t really an uncommon occurrence. That’s the first thing that is calming me right now. History is riddled with “one-hit wonders” who collapse under the expectations of their newfound fame and praise. I imagine Eminem was thinking exactly the same thing after he released “The Real Slim Shady” to raving success. He was probably besides himself sitting at that desk, pen in hand, thinking, “What if the well dries up? What if I’m not actually that good?”

I realize now those¬†questions aren’t¬†the right questions to ask.They are the symptom of this recurring theme I keep coming back to. Unrealistic expectations. Praise can be debilitating if you internalize it. If you take it and tell yourself to hold yourself to higher standards, you have just raised the bar past what you can comfortably climb. You need to realize that you haven’t made that jump yet. You are at step three, or in my case Day 10. You are still new, even though the outcomes say otherwise. You are still new, you are still learning.

Sudden extreme success has that effect on people where they begin to believe they are their success. “I won the World Series of Poker, I must be the greatest poker player ever. Hey girl, want to talk to the best poker player ever?” And then that person never enters another poker tournament again. He is paralyzed by this newly-formed,¬†artificial¬†expectation of himself. He will forever be in fear of not living up to that standard and therefore avoid doing that activity ever again.

This is exactly what happens to so many students once they start to reach a point where they can’t coast anymore. I was that student. I was pretty damn smart as a kid, but at some point in life, smart doesn’t cut it. I couldn’t take it since I had built my self-image on being smart. Building your self-image on being smart really hurts you everywhere in your life. You start not speaking up in fear of saying something wrong because if you say something wrong, you can’t possibly be¬†smart. You start not trying things because it’s supposed to come easy to you and you can’t do it wrong the first time. No, I am not smart. I make mistakes and I am learning, like everyone else.

Really, building your self-image on anything external makes you a slave to that external thing. Your self-worth is now tied to whether you have that external thing or not. If you base your self-worth on how much money you make, you will be unhappy if you don’t make that much. And even then, you will view everyone else on this hierarchy of how much they make. “Oh man, that guy is a millionaire, he’s so much better than me.” That’s false. He is exactly as good as he was before he had that money. If you base your worth on how many friends you have, your self-worth depends on whether or not you have friends. You are a slave to friends. If you reject that and accept that you have worth even if you have no money and no friends, you are no longer beholden to those things. I had to accept that I might¬†not be a good¬†writer. I might not write a good post today. If I accept that, I can post with a clear conscience.

So no, I am not a good writer. I am James, the awkward, fallible developer¬†who thought it would be cool to write what I think every day for the past 10 days. It’s been 10 days. I can’t possibly be a writer. I refuse to internalize that praise. I give myself permission to write a shitty post and try again tomorrow.

Please subscribe, share and like so I can share my realizations with more people like you ūüôā

Starting stopwatch…
Time: 29 minutes, 49 seconds
Git Commit
-I am commenting up all the source code I wrote over the past few days
-Revisited RequireJS
-Finished commenting up main, still wrapping head around rest

To be honest, it has been hard to focus on this while I write these candid blog posts. Productivity will increase when my mind is settled.

[P.S. This has been¬†amazing writing my way through these mental blocks with you and I think it’s really unique. I feel like people who do¬†radically new things go through exactly these thoughts, but they only talk about them after the thoughts are a memory. That’s when they start saying things like, “Take it one day at a time” or “Don’t let it get to your head”. That isn’t a mindset, that’s a trite saying. It doesn’t tell the whole story.¬†I hope I have succeeded in walking you through how I settled my¬†internal fears as they arose and maybe helped you settle yours.]

Praise can be debilitating (Day 9)

My mind is racing (Day 8)

There was a time today where I was dreading writing this post. I just wanted to write the 20 minute diary and be done with it. The last post took a lot out of me emotionally. My mind was racing, my mood was like a sine wave, up and down. Sometimes I was sure I was posting something good, other times I was wondering if I should edit it and make it less radical. I stayed up late into the night wondering how people would react to my thoughts. I was sitting there rattling off IMs to my friend talking about how this is the most open I have ever been and how it is extremely uncomfortable.

But I put some thought into it and realized I had to write about this. If I am to demonstrate¬†exactly what it’s like to start something completely new, I have to show the highs and the lows. I would be doing a disservice to you (and future me) if I left out the negative emotions and pretended we all just slowly walk to where we end up and never are unsure of ourselves or in a panic over something we’ve set into motion. The future person would read this part during his panic attack and think to himself, “Man, what is wrong with me? This isn’t supposed to happen.” It’s supposed to happen.¬†You will feel lost.

I would like to thank all of the extremely supportive people in the office and in my social circles. Each supportive word has given me the courage to keep coming back here. I would even like to thank my resident troll (check my past comment threads for a taste). His reactions really helped get my mind going and helped me process my thoughts so I can better understand what I really think.

There are two realizations that helped settled my mind in the end.

One, I don’t know what the fuck I am doing. This is a journey with no map. I am doing something I have never done before, and really something no one I know has ever done before. It’s an experiment and experiments sometimes fail. That’s completely fine. I am content that I tried. More content than I have ever been.

Two, this nourishes people. Truly. Man…people feel these things every day and just pretend they don’t. I realized that because once I wrote this stuff here, people started opening up to me everywhere. We all just look around thinking no one else feels this so everyone just keeps it to themselves and the cycle continues. I want to shine a light on that.

Starting stopwatch…
Time: 35 minutes, 28 seconds
Git Commit
-Finished Tutorial #4!
-The game looks and feels like Tetris! Play here
-You can press space to drop the piece
-Next, I’m gonna comment for every single line of code until I understand the reason behind it all.
-I need to look into having a working prototype link¬†for each commit of the game so you guys can see how the game came together as well… (and so my past post links still work)

Okay, next time I’m really going to write about League of Legends… if I don’t have another realization.

Side-note:¬†The really interesting thing about blogs is when you put up something uncomfortable, it stays up there forever, and works at you every time you remember it’s there until finally, you come to terms with the fact that you wanted to write that post¬†and you can rest.

My mind is racing (Day 8)