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Lessons from my story

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Written by   43
1 year ago

One month ago, I wrote a rather whiny article where I basically shared my sob story with the world. As much as it made me feel better - and made me feel like throwing off some weight from my shoulders - in hindsight, I realized that there was one important thing that I missed from the article: the moral of the story.

Make no mistake: when people like me share their sob stories, it is beyond any reasonable doubt, that their goal is to make you feel sorry for them, so they can feel better about themselves. I don't claim to the contrary. However, even such sob-stories should ideally have a moral, a lesson within them.

So, what are the lessons to be learned from my story? What were my biggest mistakes that you should avoid?

Lesson 1: Discipline over Talent

Is there such a thing as "too smart for your own good"? I reckon there is. There are people out there pointing out that beauty can be a curse - and I say the same about intelligence, talent and luck.

I don't mean to tout my own horn or pat myself on the back for my intelligence, but I dare to say, that I am - or was - too smart for my own good. Or maybe just too lucky for my own good. How can luck be a bad thing? Easily.

When I was a little schoolkid, I was called a "gifted child". I got good grades without having to study at home. My one and only weakness was poems, and sometimes year numbers in history. I was rather good at remembering abstract ideas and re-phrasing them in my own way.

Then, as time went on, my luck started to run dry. In college, just having good memory and being a good listener were no longer enough to pass the exams: you had to actually face the book and cram to avoid failure, and boy was I bad at it. I couldn't - and still have serious trouble with this - force myself to face the book for more than half an hour.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. If I was born just slightly less intelligent or less lucky, I would have had gotten some harsh lessons early enough in life to get me to learn how to study, to learn how to be disciplined, to learn how to face the book. But alas, it came way too late, when I was too old and stubborn to change my habits and spend my free time with anything other than procrastination. And now I'm a miserable software developer who earns $700 per month whose only ambition - after less than a year of work - is to retire as soon as possible.

Let that be an important lesson, kids: smart people don't necessarily prosper - disciplined people do.

Lesson 2: Missed opportunities

A rather recurring theme of my life is missing good opportunities. For example, I spent seven years in college, when I should have finished it in three and a half years. As if that wasn't bad enough, during college, I had several opportunities to learn languages, to gain experience that would help me in my career, to kickstart a better future. I could have spent my summers on some projects instead of procrastination.

If I was just slightly less lazy - and slightly more disciplined - I would have finished college instead of failing it, and I'd be someone of the caliber of my computer architecture teacher. I could have been a contender, instead of the bum I now.

I constantly daydream about winning the lottery, but I never even bother trying lottery to begin with. You can't win something you're not even trying.

Hell, arguably, the biggest missed opportunity of my life - which, in hindsight, would have required me to see the future - was not getting into crypto back in the days before 2014, back when bitcoin was being given out for free from faucets.

Remember kids - get into crypto while you can. But really, whenever there's an opportunity for you to gain tremendous advantage, don't waste it. Don't be like me, someone who was always too lazy and afraid.

I was always too lazy and afraid to take action and actually live with all the opportunities that life was offering me on a silver platter, couldn't be offered to lift my arm to put what was on the silver plate into my mouth. And look at me now. What I am now? A passive victim of my circumstances. Learn from my mistake, and become a man of action.

Don't be a passive victim of your circumstances like I am. Become a man of action who is not content with just riding the waves.

Lesson 3: Enjoy it while you can

This is going to directly contradict Lesson 2, but here we go: whenever you have an opportunity to have fun, don't waste it. Live with it. Invited to a party? Go for it. Surrounded by hot chicks? Ask them out on dates. Have an opportunity to go to the beach? Go for it. Have an opportunity to go to a live show? Go for it. Don't waste any of those, because in your adult life, your free time will be much more limited.

Unless you're wealthy enough to live a work-free life - provided that you ration your money wisely - you're living in borrowed time. Why borrowed time? Because from my point of view, having to sacrifice at least one third of each of your weekdays is not living. On paper, it's just 40 hours a week, and you're free the remaining 124 hours of the week - in reality, those 40 hours dominate the remaining 124, dictating your sleep schedule, your eating habits, etc. often straight-up spilling over and creeping into those 124.

And for what? So you can have just enough not to starve to death, while the government taxes over one third of it? So that you can spend the rest of your day exhausted, your Saturday cleaning up the house, your Sunday dreading Monday? That's not living, if you ask me.

So enjoy your youth, your childhood, your freedom while you can.

A counterargument is that a frog that is being boiled slowly won't even notice that it's being boiled - unlike the one that you try to throw into hot water, jumping out immediately - so, arguably, if I started by doing part-time student jobs back in high school and college, I wouldn't be so miserable now, as I would have gotten broken in and used to it. But from my point of view, that would have meant that I would have never gotten any taste of freedom. Granted, I sadly didn't spend that extra free time having as much fun as I should have - instead, I spent it procrastinating, when I should have spent it on the beach hitting on cute girls. Oh well.

Enjoy while it lasts. I'd give an arm and a leg for it to be 2012 again. But alas, the past is never coming back, so enjoy it while it lasts. Carpe diem!

Lesson 4: Keep your enemies close, but your friends even closer

Another theme of my life is that I'm terrible keeping my friends - both real-life and online.

Back in elementary school, I had some friends. How many do I still talk to? None. I ceased contact with every single one of them over ten years ago. The fond memories I have of them are fading by day. High school friends? I gradually ceased contact after I got into college. College friends? I gradually ceased contact as they graduated while I kept falling behind. Coworkers? I absolutely refuse to contact them outside of work, and you can bet I'll cease contact with them once the nightmare ends.

Now, unlike what I'm planning with my coworkers, none of these were intentional. I did not go out of my way to turn my back on these people. I just forgot to invest time and energy into maintaining those friendships. Now all of these people are people that I used to know.

My online friends don't have a much better track record either. All the people that I used to know between 2004 and 2008? Gone. My oldest friend whom I still occasionally contact, I got to know in 2009. However, the overwhelming majority of my Facebook, Discord, etc. friends, I have only known since 2017. The majority of the friends I made between 2009 and 2017 are people that I used to know.

Unlike the case of my real-life friends - where it was just me not putting in the time and effort to maintain those friendships -, some of these online friendships ended through no fault of my own: the people just disappeared, never to log in again to the website or platform that I used to chat with them on. In many cases, the platform in question no longer even exists.

And now I am constantly haunted by fond memories of people whose names I don't even remember.

Don't be like me - put time and effort into maintaining your friendships. Keep your enemies close, but your friends even closer.

Lesson 5: Never give up

Whenever you try to learn something - e.g. playing the guitar, composing music, drawing, writing, programming, etc. - never give up. Especially not after the first try.

I am terrible at composing music. Don't believe me? Listen to these.

I still draw like a 5-year old, and I am going to prove it to you.

I was born in 1992. When do you think I drew this? 1995? 1997? Nope, I drew it in 2012. Draw your own conclusions. Could I have become a decent artist if I just kept trying?

I dunno. I did dabble a bit in vector art..

And somewhat in pixel art as well...

Maybe in an alternate timeline, where I was more disciplined, and didn't give up, I could have been a decent composer. Or a decent artist. Or both.

But the absolute worst sin that I committed was giving up on so many video game projects I was developing. Everything was handed to me. I had resources. I had an engine (RPG Maker). Yet every single time, I gave up. My only game to be ever released is buggy as all hell. One of my projects even had voice actors, yet it failed.

The lesson here? Never give up! You'll never be good at anything, if you give up after the first try!

Lesson 6: Face life with a defiant smile

All of my previous lessons were lessons to be learned from my mistakes. But this one, on the other hand, is not something I forgot to do, but something I still do.

Face life with a defiant smile. When life tries to break you, refuse to be broken in.

Yes, I complain a lot. Yes, I a miserable. Yes, I'm whiny. But you know what? At least I did not give up.

Despite all my complaints, I'm still here, living, kicking, and still holding out for hope that one day, the nightmare end. I may not see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I'm positive it's there somewhere.

No matter what life throws out at you, it's important to always look at the positives, and keep going. It's important to always remain hopeful, and never give up.

Never give up!

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Written by   43
1 year ago
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My child says you coloured your drawing like a 5-year-old too. If you practise enough you can be great at everything. My children started drawing at the age of 1 year old and two still draw for many hours a day. I truly believe we all are capable of doing everything those with multiple personalities prove what the human being is capable of. The question is: Is it worth the (my) investment? I don't dream of winning the lottery, I will never buy a lot. I will not go to parties if invited, I will not miss it or regret it because I don't like to be there, don't like to be surrounded by drunk smokers with bad humour. I do agree we should do as much as I like till all freedom is taken away from us. We need good memories, bad memories, experiences and skills to survive.

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1 year ago

Thanks for that. I needed to read that, as I'm struggling right now as well.

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1 year ago