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2011 Resolutions

Most people abandon their new year’s resolutions before February, not because the resolutions are impossible, but because it’s easier to maintain the status quo. Resolutions are appealing in theory and execution, but usually require sacrifice in practice.

The key is to either be committed, or set extremely vague resolutions like “be more forgiving” or “exercise more.” Resolutions like “lose 30 pounds” or “stop smoking” are much harder to fulfill.

In 2011, I am going to finish my A.A. degree, travel to China and California for three months with my Mom, and start on my B.S. in the fall. I’m going to start a micronation called the Thripp Republic and print Thripp Dollars on the back of 4×6 photos (I have nearly 10,000 already). I am going to be a math tutor at Daytona State College and I am investing most of my money in precious metals, common metals, and material goods, because the U.S. dollar is going to suffer massive inflation (possibly 30%) next year. I plan to learn the guitar, viola, and saxophone, code and release Tweet This 1.9 and 2.0, and work on creating photos that are as well-received as my 2006-2008 portfolio by breaking the rules and using more Photoshop.

I also want to release a sequel to Inferno and sell off all my web domains except about 40 personal domains.

I plan to do a great deal of writing in 2011, but I don’t plan to find a girlfriend or start a photography business, since I will be doing a lot of traveling and don’t want to be tied down. However, I will be doing a lot of networking and meeting many new friends in Florida, California, and China. I plan to create a social network around the Thripp Dollar, so I need to learn the Facebook Application Platform and write my own application. I already have the MySQL and PHP backend done, but nothing on the frontend.

Before I leave in May, I want to start learning Mandarin Chinese. My Mom is Chinese so she can help me.

I am going to continue living with my parents (Dad and step-mom) and driving my Dad’s vehicle throughout 2011, because my income is still very low (under $1000 per month). I would like to make more, but it isn’t a priority.

Even though I am overweight (170 lb. at 5’9″), I’ve decided not to go on a special diet, but I will avoid gaining more weight. As with the past 17 months, I’m going to continue being a vegetarian except fish, and I’m considering a 30-day trial in veganism. Here’s a picture of me playing the violin from this week, but I got a haircut since then:

Dec. 2010 self-portrait

This is the flag I’ve designed for the Thripp Republic:

Flag of the Thripp Republic

This flag is really wonderful, because it can be printed on a monochrome laser printer or drawn with a Sharpie. It is also unique, because I could not find any other country using a black-white-black tricolor flag.

In 2011, my Dad will be turning 50 in January and I will be turning 20 in August. While I was very unproductive in the first half of 2010, I plan to work at a steady pace throughout 2011, without overburdening myself. I will work on selling the unsold copies of Along the Far Climb Down, my father’s book from 2006 (all new copies say 2011). If you live in the USA and want a copy, send me your mailing address and $5.00 by PayPal. For foreigners, email me and I’ll look up the shipping rate (the book is 6×9, 96 pg., 6 oz.).

Happy new year everyone!

Making Up for Lost Time

Wasted time can never be reclaimed, because you never have the opportunity to repeat the past. Therefore, you must make sure you are working toward your goals and making the best use of each and every day.

If you find you have wasted months or years of your life as I have, nothing good can come from dwelling on it, as this only wastes more time. The only thing we can do is learn from the past and not repeat the same mistakes in the future.

Average people waste most of their lives. Watching T.V., surfing the Internet, playing video games, reading fiction, pointless conversations, Facebook, day-dreaming, over-sleeping—eliminate this from the average person’s life and you will see their productivity triple. People who seem like super-humans are actually ordinary—they just don’t waste their time on garbage which takes up 12 hours of an ordinary person’s day. Even replacing television with doing nothing is a step up. Just call it meditation and you are instantly a monk or philosopher.

Anything important can be measured—save a few intangibles like intelligence. Schools and colleges measure your academic worth through exams and graded assignments. Employers measure your worth as a slave with performance reviews. And you can measure your productivity by recording how you use every hour of your time. Though this is something I’ve never done, I imagine it would greatly boost my creative output. There’s no point doing it now—I already know I’m nowhere near optimal efficiency—but in a few months small optimizations will become important.

Even recreation is essential. It should not be the result of procrastination, but a bona fide item on your schedule. “Multi-tasking” produces crap, not results. When you are working, whether your job is writing, painting, building, or cooking, don’t do anything else. Don’t work through lunch, ignore incoming emails and phone calls, don’t read pointless blogs, and don’t look outside. When you’re eating lunch, don’t do any of these other things, and the same for talking on the phone or taking a break. If you give your undivided attention to each item on your schedule, you will see massive performance gains.

Cutting off relationships with people who drag down your productivity is a positive step. Block that friend or coworker who forwards you 50 emails a day. Clear out your friends list on Facebook and Twitter: only keep people you know in real life and have seen recently. Banish energy vampires from your life. Surround yourself with positive people or no one at all.

Above all, never lose faith in yourself. You can do great things, even if you only have months left to live.

Are you a specialist or a dilettante?

In life you can choose to grow your skills horizontally or vertically. Vertical growth involves specializing in a field while ignoring others. Horizontal growth involves gaining cursory experience in a wide range of fields while remaining an amateur in them all.

We live in a society of hyper-specialization. Some astronomers study planets, others study gas giants. My college offers hundreds of majors for very specific subjects, and it gets even more specialized at the baccalaureate level. Man’s knowledge is so vast that it is a necessity to choose a narrow direction. Conversely, there are connections you will miss if you overlook history, classical literature, music, theoretical science, religion, or other fields. Don’t dabble in a dozen different trades, but if you’ve been a cooper, branch out—start a blog about barrel making.

I had a great Spanish tutor in high school (I was home-schooled by my father), but I never put forth effort and I’ve forgotten my Spanish books and everything he taught me. Because my mother is Chinese, friends suggest I learn Chinese. Employers want fluent Spanish-speakers because we have a lot of Mexicans in Florida. I’ve never learned a second language. I know English and I know it well. You could say I’m an English specialist, because I’ve written hundreds of posts on this blog, I always spell words right, and most of the time I use proper grammar. My language growth has definitely been vertical.

Students taking foreign language courses in high school often lack English skills. They are fluent in chat speak, not real words. They use “literally” in place of “figuratively,” for example: “I literally died laughing.” Apostrophes are to be used in contractions (“it isn’t so”), for possession (“Richard’s camera”), and to clarify (“12 students got A’s on the test”), yet half of America’s teenagers are dumbfounded. They resort to inserting apostrophes into their papers willy-nilly. These students should not be taking another language. If you want to learn a whole bunch of languages, it’s best to become an expert in your country’s language first. Start out with a solid base of vertical growth before expanding horizontally.

Music is another field where specialization should precede dabbling. When you become very good at the piano, it is much easier to pick up the guitar, the harpsichord, or even random string instruments. You understand sheet music, keys, chords, scales, rhythm, and tone. These skills carry over to other instruments. However, if you try learning six instruments at once as a newbie, you will fail, unless you want to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on them all.

On this blog I am a dilettante. While I am focusing on releasing new art photos, I’ve spent many hours in fields I have little experience with. I’ve written novelettes about technology, personal development, photography advice, and what I call “photography ramblings.” Even these fields are vague: for technology I’ve written about memory card readers, programming languages, computer monitors, flash drives, printers, and other items. Many of my posts cover a whole bunch of disconnected topics in a haphazard way. Not many people read them. Last month, a commenter said I “try to make too many points and [I] go into too many directions which are hard to follow.”

I pay a high price for my dabbling. While I have the advantage of having my activities under one roof (this site) rather than multiple sites, I’d be better off focusing on a narrow range of specific topics. I talked with Melody Anglin, who was hoping to find technical articles on my site because my Twitter tweets are often about computer problems or cameras. Instead she found articles like Transcending Limiting Beliefs, philosophical articles written from a position of little experience which she described as “not useful.” Unfortunately she’s right.

Old habits die hard. Even in this essay I’m all over the place. Focus! Specialize! Creativity is nothing without discipline.

Four years ago I stopped playing the piano, instead spending hours each day taking photos of mundane objects. My parents and grandparents were disappointed because they’d invested so much in my music. My Grandma used to talk of me going to Stetson University to be a concert pianist—abandoning music for photography made no sense. At 14 I gave up something I was fairly good at for something I had no talent for but which gave immediate rewards. Like many other teenagers I found piano boring and unrewarding while I could instantly share photos on deviantART and have them seen by dozens of people.

My shift worked out well. I’m playing the piano again and I’ve become good at photography. However my decision last year to write about personal development has not been so good. I’ve written posts that have value, I’ve defined myself, and I’ve gained writing experience, but I could be making good money from this site if I applied myself to marketing and technical writing instead of airy-fairy posts about beliefs and goals.

There’s a quote by Steve Jobs that I like: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” You may have to dabble in a half-dozen careers before finding your calling. Many times you will pick a path and hit a brick wall, and you will do this again and again. The true danger is not lifelong amateurism—the true danger is never picking a path. Never taking that first step. If you want to be a composer, you have to compose music. If you want to be a writer, you must start publishing your writing, in a blog, the newspaper, a book—whatever. Just set goals and get something done. Most of us make inefficient use of our time. If you are committed you can always make progress.

But if you are a habitual dabbler, just call yourself a Renaissance man and be done with it. :grin:

Practicality

Your success is tied directly to your merit. If your business is profitable with many customers, you’ve done good work. If your business hasn’t gotten off the ground and you’ve been working hard for a year, you’ve done bad work. If you are rich, you deserve wealth because you’ve provided services of value to your community. If you are poor, you got into your situation by providing no value, or never charging for it. If you provided value for free, it wasn’t useful. If it was, you would have received unsolicited donations.

If you are famous, you are an attractive, interesting person. If you are unknown, you are neither. If you’re a good author, you can get a publisher to pick up your book. If you are a bad author, you cannot. If you are good at playing the piano, you should be able to go into any Target or Wal-Mart and attract a crowd by bashing the keys. If you do not attract a crowd, you are a bad piano player. Or you aren’t bashing hard enough. :grin:

These paragraphs may seem laughable, but they are practical. They are true 90% of the time, but half the people who read them will not like them. Most of us have created a different model of reality—one based on chance, privilege, and divine right. All of these advantages belong to our competitors, and all of these reality models are used to explain our lack of success. They have no other purpose other than to vindicate us from the vagaries of reality!

Is this practical? Hell no!

90% of the time, success is tied directly to merit. 10% of the time, there are hidden or special factors to consider. The exceptions usually involve rich or famous people promoting unworthy people or products. However, if they do this too often, they become untrustworthy. They will fall from grace themselves. While most people might say that success is tied to merit only half the time, in truth the two are almost always correlated. People with government contracts still have to put out good products.

When I started writing about personal development over a year ago, I wanted to help people change their lives for the better while becoming a better person myself. I wanted to make an impact on the world. I wanted to give new perspectives on time and money, limiting vs. empowering beliefs, working for yourself vs. working for others, negativity, intrinsic value, happiness, and other topics. I wrote articles about many things—they’re each several pages long and still seem fairly good to me.

I haven’t made an impact. Most of my articles are skimmed by few people and read by fewer. I make less impact with 60 posts than a popular blogger makes with one. I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve received a piece of critical feedback. No one ever says anything about whatever I write, even when I give out print copies, which I make a habit of. If I get a meaningful comment, it is the rule, not the exception. There is a grandiosity gap. The goals I set do not line up with the practicality of reality. Pretending that I’m changing the world is laughable. I haven’t even started. I haven’t made a quantum leap. I’ve worked hard, but I’m still on the launchpad.

How many goals have you set yet never reached? How many of them have stayed on the launchpad? How many projects do you work on each day that are still going nowhere? Are you being practical?

If something doesn’t work, ditch it. Don’t be trapped by dogma.

The posts I’ve written aren’t working. They appeal to the mind but they do not appeal to the heart. They don’t touch anyone. I may be writing in the wrong field—I have no life experience and am hardly empathetic. However, I am sticking with this field because I want more of both (life experience and empathy). Examining my circumstances practically, I see that I need to write shorter articles tackling lower level, practical concepts, rather than grazing high level, theoretical concepts which I hardly understand myself. I must adapt or die.

In the past two months, I’ve done a lot of programming on Tweet This, a WordPress plugin that integrates your blog with Twitter. Before I started, I considered working on Bookley, an open source library management system I designed over the spring. I never wrote code to let you search the catalog. It has no support for different library branches. You can’t set closed days and have due dates automatically forward. There are no alert emails for hold requests. It could use a lot of work.

A couple years ago, I would’ve considered Bookley my main project and Tweet This my side project. I’d add a few features to Tweet This while putting the bulk of my effort into a white elephant. Today, I chose Tweet This. It is purely a matter of practicality. No one uses Bookley and it is likely that no one ever will. Hundreds of people use Tweet This every day. If well-designed, Bookley is the type of software that would win an award. Tweet This will get no academic recognition, but it will always be used widely. It is the practical choice, and that’s where my effort belongs.

In 1942, the comedy team Abbott & Costello were at their peak, and their movies brought in $10 million at the theaters, even as America was going into a war. Movies like Hold That Ghost, Pardon My Sarong, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein would bring in more money than first-rate productions, even though Abbott & Costello were B-actors. A practical studio would have put all their money behind the team. The props and sets would be stunning and realistic instead of laughable. The movies would be in technicolor rather than black and white. Instead, Universal Pictures would paint the studio every time an Abbott & Costello picture was released. They would take the profits from the team’s movies and use them to fund sacred cows like Hamlet and Phantom of the Opera. Movies designed to win awards rather than sell tickets. Movies that interested no one received lavish funding and the best color film stock.

The same thing happened to The Three Stooges. Their short films are more popular than the features of their time, yet they were given second-class treatment for most of their careers. Is this practical? Of course not. More money would not have made them any funnier—in fact, it may have detracted from their appeal. However, we cannot consider this because it was not something the studios considered. A&C and the Stooges were simply considered second-rate actors. They did receive the proper recognition for their work, but from the public, not the studio executives. If the executives were any good, they would’ve let the Stooges lead the show rather than putting them on the back burner.

The practical choice is always present and often obvious. We only miss it when we are trapped by dogma. We overlook it when our model of reality is inaccurate. We choose hard solutions when practical solutions are readily available. We try to shock and awe when it would be better to get the job done quietly.

The practical choice is often the most obvious and readily available solution. You don’t have to look hard for it. Don’t make life too complicated.

The practical choice can change based on your situation. When you’re looking for a jar of peanut butter at the grocery store, the practical choice may be the store brand if you are poor, or a brand name if you are rich. Consider your needs and priorities. But don’t spend fifteen minutes selecting a jar of peanut butter. Be practical.

Egregious Failures

2009-12-20 Update: Don’t be a jerk toward others and take this article with a grain of salt as it has a lot of negativity in it.

It sucks when you fail hard. That sentence will get a lot of search traffic, right?

I had you all set up for an awesome article before I typed that opening. Seeing the unusual title, you expected me to share one of my massive failures in the first paragraph. Instead, you got a joke that is annoying rather than funny. The sad part is it probably will get search traffic.

50% of you are hovering over the red “X” now. This opening is an egregious failure… unless you’re writing a post about egregious failures.

Six of my readers don’t know what “egregious” means. It means awful. Terrible. Massively wrong. Glaringly horrible. “Conspicuously bad or offensive,” as the dictionaries are fond of.

In life, you will become a master failer. Sooner or later, no matter how cautious you are, it will happen. The only way to avoid it is to never risk anything. You might be able to pull this off by holing up in a trailer, writing a blog about personal development while trying to make money with ads, ordering everything you need online, and barely covering your utilities. But then, your whole life is an egregious failure. You have a doctorate in failure and a cabinet full of awards.

Yes I am describing myself. It’s funny in a depressing sort of way, and my mission in my nineteenth year is to change it. If you’re failing now, there is still hope for the future. As a human being you are allowed to fail. You’re allowed to write your budget and totally forget groceries. It is okay if you give a whole speech in second person. You can release a WordPress plugin and crash hundreds of blogs for days on end (I’ve done this sadly). Failure is not only okay—it is a necessity. The more egregious, the better.

If you don’t believe you are allowed to fail, I can’t do anything to change you. The best I can do is this: I offer you my personal permission to fail. You may now disconnect success from your ego. Massive failure does not have to dent your self esteem. You have to do that. When you fail miserably, you have not failed as a person. Your actions, your ideas, your words, and your implementations have failed. Not you. You are not your actions, because you remain constant while your actions change. You change as a person but you do not morph into your neighbor. You are always unique.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

– Winston Churchill

Churchill was an evil man, but he has some damn good quotes, and that’s one of them.

There is huge risk in tying your ego to success. After a string of egregious failures, you will feel like crap. Combined with your battered ego, these feelings will allow your superego to indulge in sadistic torture¹. You will begin to unconsciously sabotage your new projects and you will continue to fail. You will lose all enthusiasm. At the extreme end, you might ruin your life, becoming an alcoholic to numb the pain. You may also convince your children that alcohol is an admirable escape hatch. I learned this two days ago, while taking my Traffic Laws and Substance Abuse Education course on the way to my Florida driver’s license.

What’s worse than committing an egregious act? Never forgiving yourself!

A year ago, I created a URL shortening service called Th8.us and a WordPress plugin called Tweet This, which puts “Tweet This Post” links on your blog with URLs shortened by Th8.us. In 2009 July I was going to spend the entire month not dealing with email or my websites. I checked my emails anyway on the 12th, and found that my URL shortening service had been completely shut down because of too much server load.

It turns out I had some very bad MySQL queries on the home page and preview pages. They showed the latest shortened URLs, the most clicked URLs, and the other short URLs for a given domain. I always knew the code was bad, but I let it slide because the URL shortening service itself gets almost no traffic. It’s the API (application programming interface) that does, through the Tweet This plugin. Still, those few visitors completely crashed me. The functions worked fine with one million short URLs, but two million was too many. Lesson: It’s really bad to do a wildcard SELECT with a wildcard LIKE query on a MySQL table with two million rows. But, I digress. I’m a bad programmer.

Due to my untimely response, my host was adamant that they would NOT continue to support me unless I started paying them $160 per month instead of $90 per month. Out of the question. After two days of begging, pleading, and promising to repent, I was back online. Rather than fixing the poorly coded features, I completely removed them. I also removed hit counters to be safe, because WiredTree said it would be over if this ever happened again. Since then, Th8.us has been a spartan URL service, and the integration with Tweet This has been flawless.

Where was the egregious failure? During the three days of downtime, I completely crashed the nearly 1000 blogs that used my plugin with my URL shortening service. I had contingency code in the plugin to switch URL shorteners if this happened, but it was also badly coded and completely failed. Because Th8.us stalled, all the blogs accessing its API without a backup plan (e.g. using my plugin) stalled. There are about 15 accurately negative blog posts about it. I mentioned it on Twitter at the time but chose not to blog about it.

One of the options I had at the time was to completely abandon both services, make profuse apologies, and exit with a black reputation. Instead I continued with a black reputation.

Some people switched short URL services to fix the problem. Others removed the plugin and came back recently. Most removed the plugin and vowed never to use it again. Ruining peoples blogs is a BIG DEAL.

How did I estimate that this affected 1000 blogs? Tweet This 1.3.X would phone home data to my server. If you used Tweet This between 2009 February and early July, I have your email, your blog URL and title, your description and language, your WordPress and Tweet This versions, your blog’s post count, and your exact Tweet This settings. I caught flak for this, rightly so. I stopped collecting this data at the same time I fixed Th8.us. Recording this data helped crash my server. Every time you updated your settings, activated the plugin, or deactivated the plugin, I’d save a copy of all your information. I’ve removed the database from my MySQL server and the 105MB MySQL dump containing thousands of blogs is stored in an encrypted file on my computer. I never have and never will use it for anything bad. I thought about using the list of emails to notify people of new Tweet This versions, but never did.

I acted like Google. I collected as much personal data as possible, regardless of its usefulness, and stored it indefinitely. Acting like Google never works… unless you are Google.

I’m surprised people weren’t outraged, or at least, not many publicized it. If a plugin did this to me I’d be angry and would defame the author (I need to become kinder). Many of the blog posts acted like this was a common occurrence with plugins. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. WordPress has never been enterprise or mission-critical software, what with the constant bugs and security flaws. When you use WordPress or a WordPress plugin, you expect problems and you learn to deal with it.

So, I have two big black marks on both the reputation of my programs and my person, because my name is directly tied to this software. The Internet is forever. People will always be able to find this information. If I apply for a job as a computer programmer at a software company, the personnel department might Google me and find out about these egregious failures. I may never be able to get a job as a programmer!

Does this bother me? Yes it does. I don’t want a marred reputation and I don’t want to wreck peoples livelihoods. I’m sure I cost my users a few hundred dollars in ad revenue, since many of them rely on Google AdSense as I do. I can’t dwell on it though, because there is no turning back.

Two weeks ago another URL service, tr.im, which receives a thousand times more visitors than I do, announced they would close at the end of 2009. They could not guarantee that their URLs would keep working due to their bills and lack of income, though they made no attempt at collecting donations from their tens of thousands of users. Two days later, Eric Woodward, tr.im co-founder, flip-flopped, citing overwhelming public response. He made no apology, only stating “perhaps we should have taken a different course.”

Even though I don’t use tr.im and expressed callous disregard for my service’s users recently, I was very angry at Woodward’s post because I found it patronizing. Really it was self-directed anger, because I was seeing someone else do the same sort of thing I did. These are the statements I dislike the most: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the popular response, and the countless public and private appeals I have received to keep tr.im alive,” and “This was not a public-relations stunt. At all.” The first is condescending. I hate it when people hide behind “we” when they mean “I,” and Woodward slips up here by saying “we have” and then “I have.” Both times you know he meant “I have.” The second statement is simply patronizing, and I still believe it to be patronizing.

What action did I take? I posted a comment calling the tr.im developers “rotten people” who get a “sadistic thrill” out of playing their users for fools. It was the single harshest comment in the list of 200. When I do something evil, I take it really far. It is an unfortunate character flaw and it diminishes my credibility in the personal development field. I’m sorry for that comment.

Remember that egregious failures are only good if they teach you. For example, my hard learned lesson from the Tweet This incident is that you must create stable systems if people are counting on you. I don’t care if my home network is stable, because I am the only person who uses it. However, if the failure of your software really hurts people, you must ensure your software does not fail, or implement fail-safes. If I kept making the same mistake again and again, the value of the failure will be null.

Microsoft, did you hear that?

Microsoft Windows is an egregious failure. It’s done a few revolutionary things, but that happens less and less often. It’s buggy, inconsistent, has many incompatibilities, and crashes way too often. Every new version has more bugs than the previous. The latest version only becomes usable after a few years and a few service packs. Bill Gates never learns. And now it doesn’t matter because he’s hardly involved in the behemoth.

I released Tweet This 1.6 yesterday. It’s been downloaded 1000 times already. Most people don’t care what happened six weeks ago—they only care if it works now, which it does. Just as I continue to use Windows despite its big problems, bloggers continue to use Tweet This despite my egregious failure.

Not long ago I would rarely challenge people even if I believed them to be wrong. Now I’m working on kindness because I do it all the time, even if they mean no disrespect. I’ve become overly mean. Eventually I will reach a middle ground where I don’t get stepped on and I don’t step on people. You can’t do this if you stay a nice guy all the time, because you will always harbor hidden resentment for what you could accomplish if you became a jerk. If you don’t ever try being an ass, your personal growth will hit a glass ceiling which you will never be able to break through. If you are smart, you’ll try being a jackass for a while. If you’re average you won’t ever try it, or you will stay a jerk permanently.

2009-12-20 Update: Don’t do what I suggest below because it’s just mean and wrong. :frown:

I recommend running a one week trial in jerkiness. Adopt aggressive postures and attitudes, within reason. Try the things in my article, Becoming Evil. Just the stuff that’s fairly harmless. See what results you get. You will find that certain areas of your life improve, while others decline. If you don’t tell them about your trial ahead of time, you will alienate friends and family. People stop opening doors for you when you stop opening doors for them. You will become a lone wolf. You will stop yielding at the grocery store checkout and while driving, which will save you time. If the cashier refuses your Juicy Juice coupon, you will not give in. You will assert its validity and get the manager involved. If you are a man, women will become attracted to you for obscure and complicated reasons. If you are a woman, you will repel everyone except submissive lesbians.

Your experiments as a jerk will fail, possibly egregiously. Believe it or not, you will still have to run multiple trials in jerkhood, or if that is your default state, multiple trails in niceness. Only through practice will you implement the good qualities of being a bad boy and the good qualities of being a nice guy while discarding the rest. Any article on becoming attractive to women will tell you this.

To be a balanced person, you must try both sides. Not the extremes of both sides; just the moderates. Go extreme if you want, but remember the high costs in both directions. Being extremely evil obviously has high costs, but being extremely good has hidden costs. You give too much and get burned out. You don’t respect yourself enough. The truly wise don’t go all the way. Gandhi had respect for his time, and Hitler cared for his henchmen. In Star Wars, the emperor kills his henchmen left and right. Even for evil people, this does not work. There is always honor among thieves. If you are evil, your henchmen will only serve you as long as they know you will be good to them. Fear can only take you so far. Even the devil is nice to people.

Everything in life requires practice. This bugs me sometimes, but you can’t do anything about it.

Remember that you can always apologize for your mistakes. Announcing that tr.im would close and then reversing the announcement was a failure on the part of the tr.im developers. However, they apologized and are launching a new project to make tr.im community owned, which is a noble effort. Today, I finally made a comment in apology.

I’ll be giving out a bunch of print copies of this article, so I’ve decided to include my slanderous comment and my apologetic comment so you don’t have to look it up on your own. The bad comment:

What is this bullshit? What kind of fools do you take us for, anyway? How dare you pull this shit?

First, you make a whiny announcement about how there’s no point continuing tr.im with no way to make money and no support from Twitter. Then, you announce that you’ll be breaking millions of links at the end of the year by turning off the tr.im servers. Finally, you tell us it was all a joke.

That’s what this is, anyway. A joke. An insult to your users. Do you get some sort of sadist thrill out of pulling these stunts? You obviously had no intention of ending tr.im. This was just a publicity stunt. A very bad one at that, because it alienates your users. How can anyone take you seriously again?

Until recently, Twitter favored TinyURL. Why weren’t you squawking then? Twitter shows disfavor to you now no more than they did then. GET OVER IT. If you can’t make tr.im popular without sponsorship from Twitter, then you don’t deserve to succeed. Do you hear Steve Jobs constantly complaining about Microsoft?

You were “overwhelmed” by the response? 300 comments and a handful of emails overwhelmed you? You have a popular service. When you announce that you will be shutting it down and breaking all your links, how can you not expect an overwhelming response?

A service like tr.im should not cost more than $1000 a month to host. If you need money, don’t pull this shit. Ask for donations. You would have gotten them. But now, you’ll get nothing, because you’ve proven what rotten people you are.

And the apology:

This is good news. Sorry I was so nasty about your reversal before. Everyone makes mistakes, as I did.

I wrote a blog post called Egregious Failures, where I included the scathing comment I gave you, and cited it as an egregious failure on my part. If you read it, you’ll realize I’m a hypocrite, because my URL shortening service Th8.us had a three day outage one month before. My service receives 1/1000 of the visitors that tr.im gets, but on principle my comment was wrong. Unlike my service, your service did not go offline at all. You just made an announcement which made people angry. TinyURL and Twitter have had major outages in the past few months. Your mistake was insignificant in comparison. If I did not read your blog or check your home page when you had the announcement up, I would not even know about it now.

Do you know what Twitter should do? Ditch all URL shorteners and just flag all URLs as 25 characters toward the 140, regardless of length. Problem solved.

Sorry and good luck,
Richard

Apologizing for a wrong doesn’t absolve you, but it helps, and you learn from your error. I will fail again in the future, even with Tweet This, but I am not afraid. *500 people uninstall Tweet This* :blindfold:

Note that my scathing comment, from a pragmatic point of view, is very effective. It stands out more than any other comment on that post, and it’s probably garnered me fifty hits. But it is rude, soulless, and incongruous with my image. It is definitely NOT what I want to project. That is why it troubles me.

Anyway, my gut tells me I will own tr.im as much as I own General Motors. “Community ownership” will be a failure. But the tr.im staff will gain a boatload of experience.

Egregious failures build wisdom. Sadly, failures detract from your reputation. Failures involving character flaws obliterate your reputation. Once it’s done, it’s done.

“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!…
Lala how the life goes on…”

– The Beatles

You are not supposed to end an article with a statement intended to be profound, followed by lyrics from a light-hearted song. But we aren’t following the rules today. So here comes something really dark.

Murdering someone does not get you a free pass into evilness. You are only evil if you do not feel remorse over it. If you feel any remorse, you are not evil. I believe there are agents of pure good and agents of pure evil in this world. Like in The Matrix trilogy, some people become hosts to these agents. Good agents NEVER become parasites, because it removes free will—an act which is inherently evil. Unlike in The Matrix, evil agents must be provoked or invited to possess you. Only very strong people can resist the full wrath of evil forces in the nether realm. Weak people cannot. Sometimes they remain agents of evil their whole lives, feeling no remorse because they’ve been transformed, just like when Captain Jean-Luc Picard became Locutus of Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Every once in a while a shred of their old self pops up, and in these moments they have the power to escape the grip of the evil agent, as Picard did.

Do not tempt fate! Do not tempt dark forces! Do not offer yourself as a host to an agent of evil! Do not use weegie boards or tarot cards! Do not try to communicate with the dead unless you have confirmed psychic abilities! Before attempting to communicate with the dead, make sure you have confronted evil forces numerous times and persevered! If you have great difficulty communicating with a dead relative, you’re doing it wrong! If anyone does communicate with you, it will be an evil agent trying to trick you! Do not think that being possessed by an evil agent will be a fun, interesting, or beneficial experience! Do not think you can “handle it”! If you think you can “handle it,” you most certainly cannot! You have no idea how powerful evil is! You will end up murdering numerous people if you become an agent of evil!

Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this stuff is really important, and we all know that when something is important you do lots of shouting. :grin:

Everything fades in time. Even being possessed by an agent of evil. It will fade when you die and cross into the afterlife, and you will only be punished there if you punish yourself. Still, it is the ultimate egregious failure. Everything else pales in comparison. Fortunately, evil forces do not unleash their wrath on you unless you challenge or invite them.

“Richard, you were doing really good up until all that metaphysical crap!”

*50 people unsubscribe from my blog* :blindfold:

Earlier I said that Churchill was evil. Churchill appears to be evil because he got England involved in World War II to make a name for himself. He did not do it for the benefit of his people. His cowardice is well documented. 65,000 English civilians died needlessly because of him, and numerous colonies were lost, yet he is now deified. England would be much more powerful now if not for him. He deserves no praise. I judge him to be evil because as far as I know, he expressed no remorse. His actions may not represent him, but you take that risk when judging someone. Your judgment is often wrong because you do not have complete information. The only person who can judge correctly is God. However judgment is convenient, powerful, and often necessary, even though we can’t get it right. We get as close as we can, and we use a sliding scale. A man must be proven guilty “beyond a shadow of a doubt” to be executed, however the accuracy requirements are appropriately lowered when the stakes are lower.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Before writing this, I had defined my beliefs on the meta-physical less completely, but the beliefs came to me intuitively while drafting this. They may not accurately represent the realities of the metaphysical world, but I will use them until I uncover better beliefs. I hate putting a codicil on this, but I have to.

This post is so OVER!

¹ As opposed to torture used to extract information.

Doing Nothing

I didn’t get anything done today. I was going to write an article about focal length on camera lenses, but I ended up spending five hours reading about it on dpreview.com, Wikipedia, this great explanation of f-stops, etc. It was interesting, and I learned quite a bit, but I still didn’t write anything. Writing about photography doesn’t feel like writing about personal development, because it seems like I can write whatever I want with the latter. With photography, I spend more time researching and worrying about technical details than writing. General ideas are more important. Really specific articles are beter than all-encompasing ones. That’s contradictory, but I’m sure it’s true. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll certainly fail. I can’t write an article called “The State of Digital Photography,” because there’s way too much to cover and I’ll never get started.

I was home with my parents and we had dinner together (sort of), which was nice. No turkeys were involved. I wonder how turkeys become food for us. It’s cruel and unusual. I ate a salad with lettuce, dark green vegetables of some type, cucumbers, black pepper, sea salt, and garlic dressing. It was delicious. Salad won’t nourish you much because your body can’t digest much of it, but it provides great vitamins, keeps your system clean, and tastes good.

I slept till 9 A.M. this morning. That messed me up. If you spend two hours getting out of bed and three hours reading nothing, then the rest of the day is shot. Being in college almost every day does build discipline. Having a job does too. You end up getting more done in the gaps between work than you would if you had all the time to yourself. Personal development is all about using your own time and resources efficiently, rather than relying on other people or businesses to schedule your life. To rely on yourself, you need discipline. When you have self-discipline, being bossed around by others is no less than silly.

Today, I learned how to play the song I composed for the piano on Monday. I’ll post it tomorrow. I’m going to spend a couple days with my grandmother starting tomorrow. She’s 102, so she needs my support. :silly:

I shipped out lots of packages from my eBay auctions yesterday, and more are going out tomorrow. A lot of stuff didn’t sell, and what did didn’t make too much, except for the Kodak ink cartridges and miniDV tapes which profitted me $50. Counting Craigslist, my total profit is at $150. Plus the $65 I made on ads on this site this month, and the stuff I sold earlier, I’m over $300, which is more than my old job.

I applied for a job at Office Depot. Dad and I go there so often to use the ink cartridge recycling coupons I mentioned in Selling Stuff, that I may as well work there. Working has a lot of perks, after all. Applications are really funny these days. There’s all these threats and psychological evaluation questions. I don’t take them seriously.

The best way to have a job is to not care at all about being fired or reprimanded. You can do that when you make money from other things or you have few bills to pay. Stay out of debt. Having a normal job can be fun for a time, especially if you have no fear. Then, you can do whatever’s best for yourself or the company rather than looking over your shoulder, limiting your dialogues with customers to two minutes, and memorizing details of policy. In fact, these are the people that do best in the workplace because they don’t take crap. They also do the worst and get in trouble, but it doesn’t matter. If you have a job which you cannot walk away from at a moment’s notice, you’re a slave. It doesn’t matter if it’s for your rent or your cable t.v. bill or your car. Being a slave is inescapable for a while, but you do want to constantly be working to get out of it. Taking Thanksgiving off is inexcusable. :grin:

Tomorrow I’m getting up at 5 A.M. and I’m going to take some cool photos and get stuff done, even if it kills me. I will not be participating in Black Friday. There was some guy camped out by the Daytona Beach Best Buy on Wednesday, tent and all, but I think he was just there to be a public spectacle.

Good night all. It’s okay to get nothing done once in a while. You can even get depressed about it if you want. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s therapeutic. :cool:

Personal Development is for Smart People

The biggest challenge in personal development is not creating systems—it’s using them. You can know perfectly well that you need to quit your job, change religions, stop eating animals, and move to Mexico, but unless you take action, you’ll never get anywhere. In fact, as you dilly-dally, a whiny voice in your head takes over, telling you to remain complacent. You think that’s the only voice that will talk to you, so you become friends with that voice out of desperation. But it turns out that if you deny friendship with that voice, a far better, intially quieter voice will take over. That voice is your heart. The other voice is a mediocre part of your mind that gets way too much airtime.

When you kill off your naggy voice and listen to your confidant voice, you’re being smart. I’m two-tenths of the way there.

This is a review of Steve Pavlina’s book, Personal Development for Smart People, 2008 October 15. Thanks for the free copy, Steve!

Personal Development for Smart People cover

I like the title of this book. If you’re even interested in personal development, you’re way ahead of most people. Most people don’t even give a passing thought to the subject.

What happens to many smart people, is that they run into phony, substanceless personal development. Stuff like “do what you feel” and “be yourself.” Then, they dismiss the whole field as being wimpy hand-holding fluff. Psychology gets dismissed this way, too. Even photography. I’ve heard way too many artistic explanations that make no sense or sound wishy-washy, and I hold little reverence for photography schools or museums.

The problem, of course, with “be yourself,” is that in means nothing to most people. Most people think they are their jobs or their thoughts or their friends or their lives. So if your surroundings are boring, that must mean you’re a boring person. Which isn’t true, of course, because the closest thing to being yourself is being committed to personal growth. Trying to “be yourself” without knowing yourself is like trying to understand Einstein’s theory of general relativity without knowing the speed of light.

Steve Pavlina does not do this. This is a really down-to-Earth, practical piece of work.

If you’ve read his blog extensively as I have, I wouldn’t recommend this book. You pretty much already know all the stuff that’s in it, and in fact you can apply it with just a personally developed mindset.

In fact, I found Steve’s book a chore to read, and I couldn’t even finish it. I just flipped around a lot. It’s like trying to read an English paper. Or anything with an MLA Works Cited page, for that matter. When I read one of Steve’s great articles like How to Get from a 7 to a 10, Overwhelming Force, or 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job, I feel completely engaged and motivated. He pushes against the flow, but you know he’s darn right, and he loved writing those. He completely convinced me to not work in a normal job ever. This book, on the other hand, feels like something he was forced to write. I also think there were several committees involved.

Of course, if you read any of the reviews on Amazon.com or in the blogosphere, you’ll here people saying just the opposite—that this book is completely different and revolutionary. Most books in the personal growth field are garbage anyway, and this is 100 times better than a book by Wayne Dyer or Anthony Robbins. They’re just trying to sell books and DVDs and tapes. I don’t even think they apply or like any of the stuff they write. Pavlina is writing most of these 256 pages from personal experience, but he often paints too broadly and refuses to step on toes. He crucifies organized religion on his blog, but he avoids that in chapter 13 on spirituality. While he encourages his readers to disconnect themselves from the fixed viewpoint of one faith, he has diluted his message to offend fewer people. This can be justified: he’s opening his ideas to a wider audience who may not be ready to be challenged in that manner, but that is misguided because it goes against the principle of truth. I wrote this in my conclusion 17 Lessons from 17 Years: offending others is good, because it means you’re pushing them toward their fears. The only way to conquer fear is to move toward it.

This is unimportant, though. It would be creepy if Steve’s book was entirely perfect, and it is not important to quantify truth anyway. Don’t write for the critics or write for the past. They exist only in your mind.

I like the part about how Steve left his church on page 87: “At age 17, I finally recognized I was being coerced to participate instead of being offered a truly free choice, so I left.” I’m glad I haven’t spent years in the haze—my father has identical reservations and doesn’t believe we can know all the answers. If God is at all personally developed, he’s not going to respect you if you pay lip-service to church. In fact, that’s an insult. Either be a Christian 100% or 0%. Don’t sit on the fence like most people. You can’t fool the creator of the universe.

I like how Steve keeps saying “you are the commander of your life.” You can read that and think you don’t need to read at all, but reading about personal development helps you to think in different ways, which you eventually translate into action. Most people either read way to much while never getting anything done (PD junkies), or take action repeatedly without ever stopping to think. Steve would call these ready-aim-aim-aim and ready-fire-fire-fire types, respectively. The best way is ready-fire-aim-fire-aim, which is really just trial and error. No one else can ever teach you anything, because you’re always actually teaching yourself.

The chapter on courage is the best. I like this part: “People often take circuitous paths to their goals to minimize the risk of rejection . . . The idea is that if they can sniff out a negative response in advance, outright rejection can be avoided” (page 105). I was doing this with a girl over the past month, but it was stupid to lead her on, so I just asked her to be my girlfriend because I like her a lot. That’s the wrong way to start a relationship, and I was rejected, but it’s completely better than doing nothing at all. If I could know the result ahead of time, it would in fact be awful, because I would never build any courage.

The main problem was that I was doing unattractive things (i.e. not leading, being shy, etc.), but I’ll develop those skills through baby steps. As you become courageous, powerful, truthful, loving, etc., you become more attractive toward others. So personal development is exactly the same as pickup artistry.

The other great thing about being rejected is that you can focus on 100% on forging new relationships, rather than wasting energy on people who you’re not even being truthful with. Rather than waiting and hoping for other people to take command, you exercise courage yourself. That’s what Steve’s whole chapter on courage is about. It’s actually what all personal development is about. Instead of waiting for God or other people to do things or create opportunities for you, you create them yourself through unwavering dedication and extraordinary effort. Instead of hoping someone else will sponsor my photography and make me rich / famous / successful, I don’t make wishes at all. Success must come from my own efforts, not the efforts of others.

I wish (ha ha) Steve would have spent more time debunking the concepts of true love and destiny. Those are both empowering when you’re on the right side of them, but for most people they are disempowering. If you believe in destiny, you’re giving up control over your life. You are no longer the captain. Destiny means that you have a destination, and you’ll get there no matter what you do, even if you actively thwart it. Sure, you can redefine destiny in positive terms, i.e. you’ll let no obstacles stand in the way of your dreams, but it’s better to just abandon the concept all together and call the whole thing courage. It’s the same with true love. If you have one true love, doesn’t that mean that if she is eaten by sharks or grows to hate you, you’re ruined for life? Steve’s concept of oneness says no because we’re all people, part of a larger body, connected and the same. But the real solution is that love is a condition of circumstance. True love just means there are a whole lot of circumstances piled up—hopefully ones you’ve both created through courage. That may sound bad, but it’s actually really good because it means there’s an abundance of love. You can both totally find other people if you need do, and that’s great because it eliminates fear. You have no fear of losing each other, so you can live completely in the present moment. That’s true love.

Steve defines truth, love, and power as the three principles of the universe. Three derivative principles are oneness, courage, and authority (respectively), and the consummate of the six is intelligence. It reminds me of photography. You have red, green, and blue as your primary colors. The derivatives are yellow, cyan, and magenta, and the consummate (all combined) is white. Or with subtractive (print) colors, cyan, magenta, and yellow are your primaries, blue, red, and green are your derivatives, and black is the consummate. I could draw a triangle, but I don’t feel like it.

Steve loves to tell this story about how he dropped out of college and became a shoplifter, went to jail for a while, woke up, went back to college and got his 4-year computer science degree in three semesters, then started his computer games business while becoming insanely personal developed on the side. All I’ve got is that I started college last year at 16, and the closest thing I have to shop-lifting is scamming coupons and rebates out of companies. I’m not going to go for my Bachelor’s degree, though. I’m just going to end it after getting my AA degree in computer science this spring. I don’t have a good reason to be in college. On page 235, Steve has a quote by Robert Heinlein which says “religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help.” Just replace “religion” with “college.” That’s why I refuse to go to photography school. It’s all people telling you what to do because they think they know what’s right for you. If you’re really dedicated to your art or subject, you’ll learn it all yourself and you don’t need college at all. Standardized education will just drag you down.

The first part of Pavlina’s book is theory. The second part is applications. He has lists of good habits, like “timeboxing,” batching, no-communication zones, deadlines, etc. One of these lists goes on for many pages (149-157). There’s more lists on pages 124-132, for quizzing yourself about following the principles. I didn’t care for them. The first half is much more interesting. Most people will enjoy the applications more, especially newbies to personal growth. Others will find them totally mundane.

Personal Development for Smart People is a good book, especially if you haven’t read anything of its type. If you can’t afford it, read Steve’s blog, which is even more interesting (to me at least). Right now, he’s doing this experiment where he’s eating no solid foods for three months. He’s grinding up nuts and leaves and grass and bark in a blender and drinking a gallon of that everyday. I thought that would kill you. Fascinating stuff.

Keep learning and growing.

Prove Me Wrong

One simple way to get motivated is to have someone else tell you you’ll fail.

Then, you’ll work really hard to do prove that person wrong.

This can be quite effective. Some people build their whole life around it, because it’s such a powerful source of motivation.

One common story you hear among hospital patients is this: “The doctor said I’d never walk again. Look at me now! I sure proved him wrong.”

I think there’s a doctor doing this as his full-time job. He drives between hospitals, goes to each patient’s room, and tells the patient he’ll never walk again. Even if the ailment is just a toe infection or a broken finger. It doesn’t matter who the patient is, the diagnosis is always the same. “You’ll never walk again!”

What better incentive do you have to resume walking, than to be told your situation is hopeless?

If I become terribly injured, but everyone tells me I can walk again with lots of hard work and effort, I might just lose interest and give up. I’ve already been told it’s possible. But if I’m told I’m hopeless and I should just give up on walking, I’d work ten times harder. It’s much more fun to do the impossible, than to do the expected.

There’s a lot of drama in being told you’ll fail. It should be dramatic to be told you’ll succeed, but it just isn’t. Everyone says you’ll succeed. Every day, people tell me how I’m going to “go far” and “do great things.” I’m not even sure what they mean anymore.

Most of my friends and family are going to fail. They’re failing right now.

I talked to one lady last week, and she said she’s going to be a pharmacist. I asked her why. “Because it’s easy.” It’s not that easy; there are lots of technical concerns to being a pharmacist. You have to read illegible handwriting. I’m not even sure what pharmacists do, but I’m sure there’s a good deal of complexity.

I asked her what she’d do if she had a big house and ten million dollars. If the answer was “be a pharmacist,” I could tell her she’d have success. But it wasn’t. She wants to find the cure for cancer.

I already know the cure for cancer. It’s fruit seeds. Millions of people know it. Most people don’t, but the cure is there and it’s been proven through extensive anecdotal evidence. All that’s left is to implement it.

2009-12-20 Update: This whole section is wrong and I shouldn’t have been mean to this lady. However, the cure for cancer is still apricot kernels which makes working as a pharmacist difficult because it requires you to support ineffective and dangerous cancer treatments.

I told her that she’s going to fail, miserably so, and she’s going to waste years of her life with something she doesn’t even want to do. She wants a stable job to support her mother and receive a regular income.

I’d prefer to support my mother with an exciting job.

To do something you love and make money from it requires extraordinary effort. It takes far more effort than doing something you don’t love. Finding a stable job is easy. Creating an exciting job which also pays the bills is hard.

I have an exciting job right now (my photography and writing on this website). It doesn’t pay the bills very well, but I don’t have bills. So once I have bills, I’ll have to take a dull job or put in an extraordinary amount of effort into this exciting job. Who am I trying to prove wrong? Society, for telling me I should take the easy way out. But what is society? It doesn’t exist. There is no hive mind, and normal people don’t care if you fill prescriptions or write poetry for a living. As long as you’re not hurting others and people are willing to pay you for what you do (no thievery or coercion), you’re golden.

You can’t work for free if you’re going to make money. Remember that when you give your time away, you’re saying that other people will use it more effectively than you. When you give money to a bum on the street, you’re saying that he deserves it more than you. To deserve something, you must make good use of it.

Is that true?

I’m writing this for free, meaning that you can use my time better than I can. The difference is that this isn’t just for one person; it’s for hundreds of people. So the answer is a definite “yes.” Other people will use the time it took me to write this far better than I could use it on projects for only myself.

There’s a problem with living to prove others wrong. Most of the time in most of your life, no one is against you. Only when you defy the hardened ideals and limiting beliefs of others, do they rise from apathy. Then, you’ll hear lots of people crying for your failure. But if you can’t get motivated unless others are predicting your failure, then you’ll pass up lots of great things you want to do.

Instead of proving me wrong, why not prove yourself right? I think that’s a far more empowering belief. Eventually, you rise past having to prove anything to anyone at all… I’m not at that level yet. So for now I prove to myself that I can do things. I prove to myself that I can write stuff that makes no sense.

The other problem with proving others wrong, is that the other people lose interest. You succeed in doing what your teacher said you could never do, but then he says it was just a joke or he knew you could do it all along and was just testing you. Your mission isn’t to hold your friends’ interest—it’s to define your life in your own terms rather than by the terms of others.

That means: stop proving things to others. When you want to prove something, you’re looking for approval. If you need friends to approve of you, then that means you don’t approve of yourself. Don’t ask permission to live.

Dumb People, Smart People, and Smarter People

2009-12-20 Update: I revoke this article because it is negative and condescending. Read it anyway if you want.

Dumb people ignore the rules.
Smart people follow the rules.
Smarter people make the rules.

Dumb people live below their potential.
Smart people live up to their potential.
Smarter people live beyond their potential.

Dumb people can’t focus.
Smart people multi-task.
Smarter people obsess.

Dumb people eat meat.
Smart people never eat meat.
Smarter people eat meat when they’re starving to death.

Dumb people don’t go to college.
Smart people go to college.
Smarter people think college is a joke.

Dumb people become lazy and fat.
Smart people stay fit by going to the gym.
Smarter people don’t pay others to lift weights.

Dumb people can’t keep to a budget.
Smart people set a budget and stick to it.
Smarter people don’t need budgets.

Dumb people don’t know.
Smart people know.
Smarter people don’t care.

Dumb people follow trends.
Smart people set trends.
Smarter people transcend trends.

Dumb people fail IQ tests.
Smart people ace IQ tests.
Smarter people don’t take IQ tests.

Dumb people are angry.
Smart people are tolerant.
Smarter people take action.

Dumb people buy cheap stuff.
Smart people buy good stuff.
Smarter people buy stuff for free.

Dumb people are emotional.
Smart people are analytical.
Smarter people are intelligent.

Dumb people read magazines.
Smart people read books.
Smarter people read books, magazines, blogs, and more.

Dumb people rent.
Smart people buy.
Smarter people sell.

Dumb people don’t read.
Smart people read.
Smarter people write.

Dumb people go with the flow.
Smart people go against the flow.
Smarter people get out of the water.

Dumb people text message.
Smart people telephone.
Smarter people shout.

Dumb people are afraid.
Smart people are courageous.
Smarter people are contagious.

Dumb people disappoint.
Smart people impress.
Smarter people confuse.

Dumb people have jobs.
Smart people have careers.
Smarter people do what they want.

Dumb people take video.
Smart people take photos.
Smarter people draw sketches.

Dumb people hate.
Smart people love.
Smarter people care.

Dumb people waste.
Smart people save.
Smarter people create.

Dumb people make enemies.
Smart people make friends.
Smarter people are friends.

Dumb people run.
Smart people jump.
Smarter people laugh.

Dumb people want the money.
Smart people have the money.
Smarter people print the money.

Dumb people live for no one.
Smart people live for others.
Smarter people live for themselves.

Dumb people don’t think.
Smart people think.
Smarter people act.

Dumb people use MySpace.
Smart people use Facebook.
Smarter people go outside.

Dumb people talk.
Smart people listen.
Smarter people connect.

Dumb people know what they want.
Smart people get what they want.
Smarter people have what they want.

Dumb people follow.
Smart people lead.
Smarter people convert.

Dumb people guess.
Smart people assume.
Smarter people ask.

Dumb people date.
Smart people get married.
Smarter people go canoeing.

Dumb people wait for true love.
Smart people look for true love.
Smarter people create true love.

Dumb people take.
Smart people give.
Smarter people share.

Dumb people join religion.
Smart people make religion.
Smarter people are religion.

Dumb people forget.
Smart people remember.
Smarter people make you remember.

Dumb people live beyond their means.
Smart people live within their means.
Smarter people live beneath their means.

Dumb people repeat their mistakes.
Smarter people learn from their mistakes.
Smarter people learn from the mistakes of others.

Dumb people value work.
Smart people value ideas.
Smarter people value implementations.

Dumb people have guns.
Smart people don’t have guns.
Smarter people have lots of guns.

Dumb people are dumb.
Smart people are smart.
Smarter people are both.

First Google AdSense check

$112.23 Google AdSense check

Just got this check from Google for $112.23. I wasn’t sure if this Google ad program was real till now; perhaps they’d just take my money and ban me when I reached the $100 threshold? :xx:

I started this blog way back at the end of last year, just for my photography. I didn’t do much for a long time, often just spending lots of time fiddling with the layout and code, but in the past two months I’ve made lots of progress. I feel I can do a lot of good here, if not for others, for my own mind.

While DaytonaState.org makes the most, the balance is switching to this blog. I think it’s because I’m writing in-depth, thought-provoking articles like Digital Sharecropping, Personal Development for Photographers, and Transcending Limiting Beliefs. Not lists or tables or mash-ups or charts. No fluff. Writing that takes will work and has a real purpose. I didn’t really start doing this till two months ago, when I added personal development as my main subject alongside photography.

While $112.23 is no more than pennies an hour for all the work I’ve put in here, it’s much better than any job because I would do this for free. Most people can’t say that about their jobs.

Even though I made far more as a criminal, it’s much better to profit as an asset rather than a leech. Friends have been quick in offering to click ads for me or get others to do the same, but I’ll have none of it.

My hosting bill is paid up till 2009 March, and it has totaled $70. I also registered Thripp.com till 2018, costing $73, and thripp.net/org/us/biz/info are mine. I’m in this for the long haul. Expenses don’t really count, because I’d be paying them either way.

This month has been the best yet; I’ve taken in $61; half of what I made in the eight months before combined. Curiously days have bounced between $0 and $4 rather than being constant like last month, but it doesn’t matter.

Some people hate ads. If I was one of them, I would’ve made nothing. If this is a business, I’m lucky because most businesses lose a lot of money to start.

You can’t expect to make money if you don’t even try. Blogs are much like newspapers, which pay their printing bills and more with advertising. Now, the bills are time, effort, and less importantly, web hosting. And the message is free, rather than being a token fee of thirty-five or fifty cents.

However, if you give away the message and turn your back on advertising and turn down donations (read: don’t ask for), you can’t turn your passion into anything more than a hobby.

Unrelated: the URL for this post has 666 in it because that’s the post ID. It’s just a counter. I think it’s cool to have it at the end of URLs. I’ve actually made only 530 posts and pages, but the other numbers have been lost to test posts and drafts. Think of it just as an arbitrary number to uniquely identify each of my articles.

Also: this post is evil. :evil:

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