Because a fellow has failed once or twice or a dozen times, you don’t want to set him down as a failure till he’s dead or loses his courage.
George Horace Lorimer
A while ago I was dating an … impressive young woman who had quit her PhD and became a therapist (in training). What got me was not that she did quit her PhD, but that she saw it as a rare occurrence. Perhaps it’s the company I keep, but I think quitting a PhD is not that rare.
I also got the impression that she felt solely responsible for quitting her PhD. And I think this is also incorrect.
A former colleague once said that if PhD students quit, there Read More
Of the four project development variables – scope, cost, time and quality – quality isn’t really a free variable. The only possible values are “excellent” and “insanely excellent”, depending on whether lives are at stake.
“XP Explained” by Kent Beck
Circus Ponies Notebook (CPN) is the lynchpin in my workflow — my notes end up in CPN files which I then use to write my own works. It works great and I rely highly on it. There is a lot of information in these files, information I will not get back — either because it takes too much time & effort or because they were ideas that I will not have again.
Thus, you can imagine the kind of moment I had when I saw the following message a couple of days ago:
The error message you get when you content is gone. It goes along with a tightening of the chest, a clenching of the anal sphincter, and a frantic mental search of the number and integrity of backups.
Looking at the file itself, the information seems to have been … gone. The file size is much smaller than it should have been.
The terrible and sneaky thing here is that the notebook file opened without problems. I could add and work on the content of other pages without problems. It was only when I tried to access this page (and others) that I saw this error.
Thus, it is a hard to detect but devastating error.
At the moment, I am Read More
MR JOHN SMITH
STORYTELLER OF THE [LARGE AREA]
PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM
MRS JANE SMITH
SHE WAS EVER LOYAL
Gravestone inscription of a famous author (and his wife), names anonymized
You know you have made it as a creative person when you are called “Storyteller of the [LARGE AREA]” on your gravestone and you have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (see quote above). But what about the wife? Would a gravestone sentence like “she was ever loyal” resonate positively with you?
For me, it would be a punch in the face. Being loyal Read More
Remember: Nobody ever lay on their deathbed thinking “gee, I wish I had spent more time watching TV/reading blogs/at the office.”
There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity — especially in long-term relationships. However, sometimes this spontaneity can interfere with the pursuit of longer projects, esp. if these projects show they payoffs only after long periods of work. When immediate, short-term satisfaction is pitted against deferred, long-term satisfaction, immediate satisfaction usually wins. Even if the pleasure it yields is neither as high nor as meaningful as the deferred satisfaction. To use the categories by Lazzaro, I think it’s then then usually a triumph of “easy fun” (blowing off steam, chilling out, goofing off, etc.) over “hard fun” (challenges, mastery, etc.) or “serious fun” (meaningful, good for others/world).
To use a practical example: When it comes to Read More
“Don’t worry, I’m not making the same mistakes again.”
“No, you’re making all new ones.”
John Hammond and Dr. Ian Malcolm in “Jurassic Park 2″
I love learning from experience, esp. via. reflection. In case you ever asked yourself whether anyone else is trying to improve themselves — yup, some are, the interesting ones. Seriously, the most interesting people I know are trying to improve themselves, challenging themselves to become better. This is one reason for this site and this book.
But sometimes you look back at yourself and think that you are moving in circles — making the same mistakes again and again. It’s a bit like Anya in “Buffy – The Vampire Slayer” (without the laughs): Read More
Resentment is an extremely bitter diet, and eventually poisonous. I have no desire to make my own toxins.
I am currently listening to the “Savage Love” podcast, which is … interesting. And given my interests (and hopefully cognizant of the dangers this entails), some of the advice he gives about sex and relationships can be applied beautifully to the area of creativity.
One piece of advice he gives often to … more heavyweight women is that they are often rejected by men of their own age until they are about 30. At this time, male coevals who are romantically and sexually interested in Read More
If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.
Spiegel.de ran an article about a person who started to mix a drink as an alternative to regular eating. He eats ‘normal food’ only two times a week, otherwise he drinks a food drink (suitably called “Soylent“, but hopefully with other ingredients). It reminded me of an old idea of mine — an Energy Bar for Busy Workers: Instead of eating normal food, you simple eat an energy bar that contains all you need to eat (the idea came when I was dating a doctor who said that she had not time to eat during the day due to her busy schedule). It also reminded me that this are problems that could be dealt with with better scheduling — and that these are typical ‘first world problems’. There are other regions where the question is not ‘saving time to eat’ but ‘having something to eat in the first place’.
But I am wondering — isn’t it possible to Read More