January 25, 2012

Crown of laurels or crowning morals?

I'd like to keep this blog personal. I do like to write the occasional essay on a topic that I feel strongly about but feel it's also very important to provide a little bit of a window into who I am for those who are interested.

One thing about me is that I have very high expectations of myself and might be self-confident to a fault (or maybe not, that's debatable). Given those facts, I'd like to do a little bit of an informal self-analysis to discuss the pros and cons of such beliefs.

High expectations will be first up. Some will argue that having high expectations can be dangerous since it sets you up for disappointment more easily if things do not go the way you want them to. That seems fairly logical and I do agree with that. Others say that you should have high expectations if you want to accomplish great things. That makes a lot of sense to me too seeing as if you set the bar low you'll only aspire to mediocre things. So which is better and why? Well, as you've no doubt guessed, I've already decided that high expectations are better. I want to be a big hitter in life. It kind of reminds me of that saying, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." I think there's a lot of wisdom in that quote. Besides, even though it does set me up for disappointment, I'd rather have the opportunity to do something amazing down the road. In order to swim you've got to be okay to sink.

How self-confident am I really? Does it interfere with my humility? Oh yes, I'm sure it does at times. But to be honest, I'm usually pretty humble. I know how lucky I am to have a lot of the things that I have and try to maintain realistic views. But I'm dodging the main question a little bit. I'm extremely self-confident - even in failure. In my view, I'm bound to fail because that's how life works. I think that if I'm able to maintain self-confidence I'll have a greater probability of succeeding again down the road. So, is this ever a bad thing, really? Not really. Not if it stays in the realm of self-confidence and doesn't evolve into cockiness. At that point, I would be characterized by believing that I have a rite of passage to do whatever the hell I wanted just because of who I am. That would not be good.

Better not to rest on a crown of laurels.

January 23, 2012

Mistake Equity

School is back. School is all-consuming.

You'll have to forgive my lack of posting lately. I'd like to say that it was because I was so busy - and it is - but I know that I haven't felt particularly inspired to make a new post anyway. Evidence of my writing here and now would seem to indicate that this has changed, right? Well, yes. A little bit, anyway.

I've had a few thoughts I would like to express on "paper." I'm a late starter; it takes me a while to get in the groove of things. I've definitely felt that way about school this term and I think it trickled into other areas of my life as well. What this has done is giving me a reminder of how making mistakes can lead to good things.

It goes without saying that I was in a little bit of a slump at the beginning of the month. School felt hard, curling didn't go well at all. Social relationships seemed pretty much unchanged, which I take as a good thing. (No change means no bad change, right?) I felt myself slowly digging out of that groove. Now that I'm out of it and back to performing the way I usually would, I find myself taking a few moments to reflect on this type of experience and the countless times that I've had it happen to me.

I've made mistakes. I've made a lot of mistakes. I probably make more mistakes than your average person. I probably know a little bit more than your average person. Well, about certain things. I've learned over the years to look at mistakes as opportunities to learn. Keep in mind what you did to make the mistake and what course of action led you to the desired outcome and you come out on top in the future. Example: I fuck up on a test. I find the underlying reason is not that I didn't study but was actually in the method that I used to study. Solution? Use a better method from now on and apply that to avoid making the same mistake again. It's kind of like that. Now, as you can imagine, this gets way more complicated for things like social situations and the like but it's a good example in that it illustrates a principle.

I think mistakes and learning go hand-in-hand. I've found through observation of others in myriad disciplines that those who learn slower by making mistakes usually make less later on than those who learn by blindly following the advice or teachings of another. Maybe this is because the lesson doesn't mean as much until you see directly, for yourself, how you can benefit from the action. Maybe it's some psychological and philosophical thing where we're all a little self-centred and absorb information better through personal experience. Seeing as I learn best this way, it's no small wonder that I've come to prefer things written in the first-person perspective.

To put the whole thing into a business analogy, let's say that you are a firm. You produce awesomeness and need to succeed at things in order to do stuff. You need to learn. How is that learning financed? In other words, what are the ingredients required to learn effectively? My answer is mistakes. The other answer is following or being taught in a less direct manner. You are your greatest asset. It goes without saying that we prefer to be financed by equity rather than liabilities; rather than debt. If you blindly follow, you risk the debt. The debt in this case is what you owe to life for learning this way: potentially incomplete understanding. Why do dentists have to sculpt teeth moulds out of soap before they work on a real mouth? Why do people assist before they become the masters? The answer goes to the point I've been trying to make: We should all take some time in our lives to generate a little mistake equity.

January 1, 2012

A few resolutions

New Years Resolutions. Typical, eh? Oh well, it's pretty much just like a casual update anyway.

Concerning this blog, I'm going to try to find ways to make the posts more interesting. Might change the layout, add some special things, etc.

Concerning my own life, I'm resolving to get in better shape and take a big break from drinking after the upcoming party (assuming we do indeed have one). I'm also going to learn piano with the keyboard that I got for Christmas. In somewhat less of a "changing" frame of mind, I also resolve to do just as well in school as I did this last term and to try and find a better balance between school, work, social life, piano, curling, and all the other stuff I do.

It sounds like a lot but it's really just a lot of little things that add up. With that in mind, I'm sure all of you have a ton of resolutions as well. Let's hope that we manage to stick to them! So that being said, I'll try to find something interesting to post for next time!