Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quit Making Excuses Not to Succeed

Like Alice in Wonderland, I often give myself very good advice but I too seldom take it. This is one of those times.

I know I need to suck it up, quit whining and apply to a couple of accelerators. I know that I need to spend less time working on making adventure games, which I very much like to do, and more time meeting with potential investors whose funds would enable us to build out what we've envisioned much faster.

Last weekend, my granddaughters were over on Saturday while their mom was at a conference, and on Sunday my third daughter, Ronda, turned 28. This made me realize something ...

In 1987, I had three children under five years old, including one newborn.  I took one week off from graduate school after giving birth and went back to class. Less than two months later, having polished off my second masters degree, I started on my Ph.D.

So, what is your excuse for not finishing school?

Now, I have to admit that I had an advantage. I was married and my husband made a good enough salary that we could afford a full-time, live in housekeeper. My job as a research assistant covered her pay, and Ron was able to cover all of the bills. I had a fellowship so not only did I not have to pay tuition, but the university paid me.

On the other hand, I had no family within 2,000 miles, I had three children under age five, including a newborn, I was working part-time, going to school full-time and my husband was working 60 or 70 hours a week to support us all. It was exhausting and sometimes it sucked. But then it got better.

Maybe you can't afford a housekeeper but you have family who will watch your children while you go to school.

One young woman I know earned her masters degree in nursing when she, her husband and their children moved in with her parents to save on rent and child care. After she earned her degree, the family moved out into their own home, with relatively little in the way of student loans.

Let's recap - she could not afford child care and even with free child care, she couldn't pay rent if she didn't work - but she found a way.

My daughter, Jenn, moved back home into her old room at age 22 when I had been hired at USC, back when tuition was free for children of employees. She said,

As much as it will suck to move back home, how many chances am I going to get for an $80,000 education for free?

She could have looked at it this way, "I can't afford to pay rent if I don't work and the program I want, a masters degree and teaching credential in one year, going four semesters without a break, is impossible to do while working."

I know she was exhausted a lot and broke. Plus, her friends were out living in their own apartments, getting married, going on vacations. It sucked. And then it got better.

There may be situations where it is impossible to better your situation - held captive by ISIS, for example - but I think those situations are really, really rare.

Before you start telling me that I have no idea of how difficult life is, living in my townhouse by the beach, let me just point out to you this - I left home at 15 - an age at which I wouldn't even let my children stay out past 10 p.m. It totally sucked. And then it got better.

So, now I have convinced myself. Tomorrow morning I will get started on those accelerator applications.


Jordan R said...

I like this Doctor Maria. It has inspired me. Thank you. If you are ever in Dallas I'd be honored to have you make my elbow very sore and teach me the finer points of the armbar :) When I saw you do it on TUF I said "That's not the first time she's done that."

Jagadeesh Waran said...

Inspiring as always!

Anonymous said...

Dr. AnnMaria ,
First I want to apologize for my bad English.
I would also like to tell you some things , even getting or no answers .
I was a victim of domestic violence as a child ( this is something that absolutely nobody knows , except my mother ) .
Since I was born I heard I would be nothing in society ... More precisely, a " shit in life."
I do not want pity or feel sorry for me because that's what made ​​me go to karate . Conquered friendships , important titles ... I made a career.
My parents , although they were not very present and have not helped me in several times I fell , they paid my studies through high school .
But now , at the height of my 18 years I run the risk of becoming what I feared most : no one .
Every time I want something for my life the first thing that comes to my mind is: you will never get , you do not have this ability .
I am a girl who has no idea what you do with your life and probably a future homeless here for some time, since my parents will not support me much further .
So , I entered the most emotional crisis I've ever had . I have no one to talk about it .
I look vent my frustrations in the fights that I do ( and love to do ) , but some things are much stronger .
That's when I met the image of Ronda Rousey , which does not have much time. I had never seen anyone believe both in himself, which made ​​me very curious about who she was.
The way Ronda says: " I ​​will destroy her " , " I am the best in the world ."
Of course I do not know if this image is true or not , but that's what television show .
And then I heard of you , by the Ronda, at the TUF 18 .
It was very funny because the way she spoke of you gave to understand that Ronda just persevering, with this energy , because of you , because you taught her to believe in herself.
And now I 'm asking myself : if she can , because I do not ?
I confirmed this when I read your blog texts .
You do not know how much your words helped me.
And I'm now a big fan of Ronda's work, both in UFC as in Judo, and your fan too.
I know you and she deserve much success... Big fighters.
I prefer not to be identified .
Att .

Simone C. said...

I love this blog entry. My father coached women's basketball at USC for four years... and it just so happened that I was in community college at the time, wondering where I would transfer to. I often think about where I would be now had I not been going to community college with the ability to transfer to USC at that exact moment. A free education from a top 25 school in the nation?! Blessed to say the least!! That taught me to step out in faith... the next step will appear:)
Thank you for a great post. I had NO excuse not to succeed!

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Hi, there anonymous -

Let me give you some advice, even though you did not ask me. First of all, you are not "no one". Sorry your parents cannot see that but their problems are not your problems. As far as being homeless, I would recommend trying to find a job where you can live in until you figure out your next steps. There are jobs where someone needs help taking care of an older parent, a person with a disability or young children and they will provide room and board plus salary in exchange. You are probably better going through an agency if possible because you don't want to end up in a bad situation with people who take advantage of you. Some churches also have employment listings, so you might find such a job there.

Once you have a place to stay and a little money, you can take the next step of figuring out what you want to do next.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your support, Dr. That is a great ideia, I will do it.
And, again, these words helped me a lot. Really, thank you.
I wish much sucess for you and your family.

Ventus said...

One more message for the anonymous girl up there. I would just say a few things that i have learned through personal experiences.

When people are telling you that you are no good and that you will never become anything ... they dont do it because they know something.
They do it because they do not know. And because they do not know anything at all - they go for the easiest way to make themselves feel better. And that is to hurt someone else. Its sad to realize that about people, but its true for many.

It is only some everyday accident of life that they get to be in that position, at all. To have someone who will care about their opinion. Then they ruin that too and lose the last good thing in their life.

Now, as for you... i would advise listening to dr. Annmaria advice first, then taking things easy. Step by step.

You should not push yourself to succeed in ever little thing the first time you try it. That will only make you give up sooner.
You have to work at it for a long time and make yourself learn from everything you experience along the way.

There is an old Japanese proverb that i like very much. I think it goes something like: "Seven times down, eight time up."

Those that are able to get back up and continue on make a string of small victories behind them, everyday. And in doing so, you change your whole life, step by step.

Hope it helps.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Hi, Ventus -

I saw you had asked elsewhere where you could post suggestions about the game. Go to

info@7generationgames.com All suggestions are read by our staff.

Thank you.

Ventus said...

Ok, see it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ventus Sina,

Thank you, it helps a lot... It's really nice see different people around the world helping me and making me fell better with complicated things to me. Now, I can see everything with a new perspective and work with that's ideas. I know my problems maybe are too much simple and I'm not saying that your or Dr. words changed absolutely and fast my life... Of course not. But, in this moment, those words matter so much, because for me your and Dr. AnnMaria's words is experience of life and it will help me to continue, they showed me I can do something to beat this things in my way. I'm thinking more: "Oh, ok. This is not the end of the world and I need to do the first step".

I am grateful to have had advice from you two, Ventus and Dr. . I do not have much life experience, then learn from people who have lived most things is always a good lesson.

"Seven times down, eight time up."


Anonymous said...

I'm still working on my degree and make no excuses for not finishing school. It's taken me a little longer because I'm not getting it for free nor am I getting paid by my university. I have no family willing to help me, they're all jerk faces who are only happy when they're angry, and everything I've ever accomplished in this world I've accomplished either on my own, with reluctant support, or in direct opposition of everyone else around me. I grew up in an emotionally abusive household. If you want to get a picture of what that's like, then picture what Ronda was going through during the filming of TUF 18, except everyone involved is a Meisha Tate and you're the only Ronda Rousey. By the way, some of the Meisha Tates control the money and sabotage you when you try to make it on your own.

These Meisha Tates don't pull silly pranks to mess with you. They directly down talk you and try to spit on everything that you hold dear in the worst possible ways and then make you out to be the bad guy, no matter what. If you be the bigger person and ignore them, they try to squeeze a response out of you. If you tell them to back off and set clear boundaries, they become more aggressive. I had to go through all of that and still pushed through to gain my success. If you can't even handle Meisha Tate's little pranks, there's no way in hell you can handle that. I've had everything taken from me, been made out to be a bad guy for no good reason, harassed mercilessly because all I wanted to do was succeed and took responsibility to do so. It was a long, uphill battle, but in the end I did it. All on my own. My own cunning, my own resilience, my determination, my own courage. I wouldn't have done that if I were the kind of person who made excuses.

Ventus said...

I wish you the best of luck Att. Glad i could help a little.