Remember: Winning Isn’t Normal

Winning Isn’t Normal is a great blog post by Jason Shen about just how much goes into being good at something. Particularly great is this quote:

Remember one thing… winning isn’t normal. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with winning. It just isn’t the norm. It is highly unusual … So it requires unusual action. In order to win, you must do extraordinary things.

It seems too many people forget that, and I’m certain I’m no exception to that. Putting intelligence and innate gifts aside (they only get you so far), being good at something to the point of earning any respect takes an incredible amount of effort, sacrifice and time. The old standard for being viewed as an expert was 10,000 hours of experience or 10 years. I suspect in many modern-day professions that’s way below standards.

It’s way too easy to look at the end results and overlook what goes into something. From that 2 minute Olympic performance to the 5 minute medical diagnosis etc. Even from a purely academic standpoint we rarely realize what goes into anything other than a law or medical degree, and even there most people don’t get the late nights and dragging yourself through hell it takes. Most just think about sitting through the Bar Exam and MCAT’s like another SAT and not the prep that goes into it.

Advice From Lord Polonius To Laertes

Learning Shakespeare in High School is done more out of tradition than practicality. Lets face it, there’s little to learn in Romeo & Juliet that you can’t learn watching MTV or Jerry Springer except perhaps Iambic pentameter.

One of the notable exceptions is Act I Scene III of Hamet when Lord Polonius gives some advice to Laertes. This seems like pretty sound advice for anyone:

Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

“Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice” always reminds me of Plato’s “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something”.

Really Busy

I’ve been really busy lately, hence posting is a bit light. I plan to pickup soon. I’ve been working on many things.

On a side note, switching programming languages (Visual Basic .NET, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Perl) all in one day can be very confusing at times. I’ve been finding myself mixing up syntax quite a bit in the past few days. Yuck. For those wondering, Visual Basic is by far my least favorite.

Finals Nearly Complete

School Diagram
I’ve got 1 more final tomorrow evening, and I’m pretty much done (one assignment left, but that’s no big deal). Sorry for recycling old images, but that one really seems pretty accurate.

I think it’s bed time, so I can get up early and enjoy some more studying.

It’s the most annoying time of the year

While some will be at the Firefox Summit, or enjoying the snow expected this week around here, I’m getting ready for some finals. Needless to say, my availability will be limited at some times during the next few weeks. So if you don’t get a reply from me, don’t think I’m ignoring you, your just in my backlog of stuff to get to. People who have write access to my transcript have a higher priority right now ;-).

I’ve got a ton of stuff in ‘the lab’ right now, so hopefully I can let some stuff out into the wild soon. If only these finals didn’t get in the way.

Woke up this morning

Woke up this morning, went to my Enterprise Computing class (an amusingly basic programming class I was encouraged to take because it’s VisualBasic .NET), to do this silly problem where using a loop calculate how long it would take to pay for payment making wage per hour:

Private Sub btnCalculate_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles btnCalculate.Click
        ‘ Declarations
        Dim payment, wage, totalWage, hours As Single
 
        ‘ Get input
        payment = Val(txtPayment.Text)
        wage = Val(txtWage.Text)
 
        ‘ Do the magic
        hours = 0
        totalWage = 0
        Do While (totalWage < payment)
            totalWage += wage
            hours += 1
        Loop
 
        ‘ Print the result
        lblResult.Text = hours
    End Sub

Yea, I feel really good. And yes, that’s supposed to be a loop. 😀 Well worth getting out of bed ;-). Got a good laugh out of coming to class to see that as the lab.

Schools Out For Summer!

Well we got no choice
All the girls and boys
Makin all that noise
‘Cause they found new toys
Well we can’t salute ya
Can’t find a flag
If that don’t suit ya
That’s a drag

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Well we got no class
And we got no principles (principals)
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
My school’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Out for summer
Out ’til fall
We might not come back at all

School’s out forever
School’s out for summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely

Some TV, perhaps some food, packing/cleaning the few things in this dorm room. I’m tired. Kinda strange finishing on a Friday. Lots of people moved out already (mainly yesterday and this morning). I seem to be one of the last, though a few have finals through Monday. I think it’s going to be a rather lonely evening as it’s dead silent around here.

Fun with Todo Lists week of 10/11

Every so often it becomes necessary to make a todo list public so I actually feel motivated. Without further delay:

  • Finally write that cheesy International Business Paper (4 pages double spaced, on pretty much anything) [4/14/05]
  • Finally write that History of American Art Paper (no clue how long, more complex, and really boring)… this is long term, not this week.
  • Commit a few reporter patches (simplify UI, figure out the rest of localization/prefs)
  • Get Mozilla building on my Thinkpad… this has been the most frustrating experience ever [4/16/05]
  • Start work on a Prototype UI for my Principles of Systems Design Project… may be long term. [4/14/05]
  • Ping Asa for some icon love, and see if the last patch I’m working on will make mozPod 0.1 (yea, I’m late again). [4/14/05]
  • More work on project aquarius
  • Add Firefox counter to blog (added 4/14/2005) [4/14/05]
  • A special little project 😉 Those who know me well will be surprised I didn’t do this long ago. More info coming soon.
  • Another special little project (added 4/11/2005) [4/13/05]