Thursday, January 1, 2015

What I learned this year

Today is a good day to reflect on what I have learned over the past year.

To admire people who admit they are wrong. 

It started a year or so ago when I ran across Tavis Smiley's book, Fail Up, in the public library. I'd never paid the slightest attention to him or his show, but the book was thought-provoking. Here was someone who talked about his most embarrassing failures.

I have run across a couple of columnists writing about what they got wrong in 2014, for example, this one on political predictions from fivethirtyeight.

 Many people grow up in environments where every mistake is attacked, taken as a sign of weakness or stupidity. As adults, they're less likely to admit to being wrong because they have equated making a mistake with being inferior and they have a giant need to prove themselves.

Being able to admit that you made a mistake takes maturity and self-confidence. Sometimes it takes overcoming your childhood.

That if I find myself repeatedly thinking, "I should ...." then whatever it is, I should just buckle down and do it.

Three examples of MANY
  1. I bought a bike. I've been thinking for years of buying a bike. Now I bike into the office 2 or 3 days a week, do my banking and other errands around town on my bike. It helps me keep in shape, and being outside getting exercise puts me in a better mood whenever I get to wherever I'm going. I can't believe I didn't do this before. 
  2. I cut back on other consulting and teaching so I could focus more on making games. I love my life and am shaking my head that I did not make this shift a year ago.
  3. I replaced the carpet downstairs with wood floors. I had been meaning to do this for years. It looks much better and is so much easier to keep clean. I've probably saved half of what I spent on it already on carpet cleaning bills I didn't have to pay. I can't believe I didn't do this sooner.
To be grateful every day.

I read a good book with the title, Help, Thanks, Wow - the main point was that these were the only three prayers most people need. When I was young, there was a lot of, "Help!"  Now that I'm older, it's mostly, "Thanks."

I'm thankful for the good weather, even if it is a freezing 46 degrees right now, I remember living in North Dakota when it would not get above zero for six weeks or more. So, I'm grateful I live in Santa Monica.

I'm grateful that I'm as rich as I can possibly be in material terms because I have that most elusive of all possessions - enough. 

Jenn got married this year, in Las Vegas. The same place Dennis and I got married 17 years ago, with our friends secretly betting it wouldn't last five years. Now, we have a 16-year-old daughter who just got her driver's license. My family is wonderful, and I am grateful.

The importance of continuing to learn

Years ago, I had a department chair who put down on his faculty development plan form,

At my age, I figure not going backwards is an accomplishment. I figure I'm as developed as I'm going to get.

Back then, I thought he was funny.

Now that I am the same age, I disagree. This year, I learned more about javascript, css, specialized search engines, multivariate statistics, Ojibwe legends and books written by literary prize winners (mostly learned that I don't like those books).

I can't wait for what I will learn in 2015.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

Ventus Sina said...

Just wanted to say these were two very strong, just telling it like it is posts to finish and start the new year with.

I wish you and your family a very balanced and happy new year.

mike ripple said...

You are right Mrs. DeMars...she is a good kid. I saw your tweet that Marina retweeted and clicked on the Armbarnation link. I have never played the rice contest but have purchased numerous items from the AN store. Am I to understand that one would have to answer 100,000 questions correctly in order to donate 1 mil grains of rice? And all over a 7 week period? Maybe you can enlighten me about the rules of the game since you are so adept at getting points across. I would really like to give it the old college try but it seems that in order to end up the overalI winner one would have no time to eat or sleep!


Mike R.

mike ripple said...

Good move...I wish everyone would realize what a waste of time it is trying to separate the humans from the you have!!

I am not a robot