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Thread: The Trials of Life and Success

  1. #1

    Default The Trials of Life and Success

    So I was thinking about how to live a successful life, at least by my standards, and I was overwhelmed by the difficulty of it. Being successful seems to me to be the art of overcoming a steady stream of tremendously difficult acts, and of learning an increasingly complex stream of knowledge. This made me feel anxious and afraid. Afraid that I am unable to accomplish such a feat. Even anxious that my anxiety will prevent me.

    In my world, I want to be a successful programmer, earning a 6 figure salary, preferably within the gaming industry. To do that I feel I must master the arts of compiler development, language theory, SIMD optimization, physical simulation, the complex mathematics of computer graphics, databases, web development, and more. I must develop a compiler, a GUI, a basic game engine, numerous graphics demos, basic AI systems, and a collision detection/handling framework. I need a solid education in software engineering or computer science from a respected institution, if not a masters degree.

    I desire all this accomplishment, yet I failed at the respected university, I only get by at a community college, I've struggled for months just to come up with a type system for a programming language, I don't know any math beyond 1st year university, I've never coded in assembler or used SSE, I am unfamiliar with advanced web development, and have coded only basic particle simulations. Even then, the programs I am most proud of, I coded about 4 years ago. I no where approach my standards, and I'm already 21. Heck, I got fired from the only serious programming job I ever had due to punctuality issues.

    I don't know if I have lost the spark, or if I never had it in the first place. But achieving this list of grand endeavours is my dream and my only passion. I don't know what I'd do if I was to give it up. Even though I have failed from university, every day I still dream of finishing my degree.

    Looking at people that have achieved measures of this success, only makes my feeling of inadequacy worse. What do my many university friends, Moo, chevre, Trevor, Borkd and others have that I don't? What enables their success at breaking down this mountain of challenge and complexity?

    Is life really as hard as I think it is? Am I a hopeless romantic? Can I achieve anything of value? These questions riddle me with anxiety, and prevent me from working with their irritation. I post them here in the hopes that someone can provide some insight into my condition, and set thing right once again.

    Else, my bad feeling will haunt me until death do us part.
    Last edited by IncompleteDude; 26-Mar-2008 at 02:10.

  2. #2
    EmeraldsAndLime

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Incomplete Dude View Post
    So I was thinking about how to live a successful life, at least by my standards, and I was overwhelmed by the difficulty of it. Being successful seems to me to be the art of overcoming a steady stream of tremendously difficult acts, and of learning an increasingly complex stream of knowledge. This made me feel anxious and afraid. Afraid that I am unable to accomplish such a feat. Even anxious that my anxiety will prevent me.
    Life isn't meant to be easy, but nor is it meant to be unbearable.

    The problem most people, I find, have in life is that they aren't happy with what they've become. They are stuck in some dead-end job earning a meagre wage and haven't accomplished many of their aspirations they had when they were younger.

    The trick is to not be overwhelmed and not take in all this knowledge, but to selectively use it to your advantage. Take in only what you can use to build upon what you already know and what you think could be useful.

    There are only two areas of knowledge that you really ever need to have a strong foundation in:
    1. What you are naturally good at doing.
    2. What you dream of doing.

    If you can focus most of your efforts into these two regions of knowledge, then what you can accomplish is unimaginable.

    For point 1, this should be a given. If you are naturally good at something, then it can take you very far in life. It will provide a pillar of support or "safety net" if things ever get sour. Something to fall back onto if you ever hit strife.

    For point 2... having no aspirations doesn't get anyone very far. If you don't set yourself the goals to strive for, then you'll end up working the same job your entire life, making you a very embittered person. Don't underestimate the feeling of accomplishment.



    In my world, I want to be a successful programmer, earning a 6 figure salary, preferably within the gaming industry. To do that I feel I must master the arts of compiler development, language theory, SIMD optimization, physical simulation, the complex mathematics of computer graphics, databases, web development, and more. I must develop a compiler, a GUI, a basic game engine, numerous graphics demos, basic AI systems, and a collision detection/handling framework. I need a solid education in software engineering or computer science from a respected institution, if not a masters degree.
    That may seem like such an impossible task. But if you *really* want it, then work hard at it. In 10-15 years time when you've accomplished it, you can look back on your journey and feel proud that you made the decision, today, to try your best to make it happen.

    But I stress to you, don't make things too "awesome" that they become unrealistic. Sure, it good to dream about, but dreaming can only take you so far.

    Probably the best method of approach is to worry about one thing at a time. Set yourself goals to achieve in short-term. Don't look 10 years into the future, because that'll only dishearten you more. Instead of going, "I want to be a super-awesome game designer", why not say, "I'm going to complete a software engineering course".

    Be realistic and keep most of your goals to the short-term. It's good to have have long-term goals, but break them up into shorter, more manageable parts. This way, if anything ever goes wrong, you don't feel so broken over the fact you won't be able to achieve wanted you really wanted.

    Keep in mind - and this is something I've only realised recently - there is a big difference between what you want to do in life and what you are suited to doing in life. You may not necessarily be all that adept to what you want to do in life, so it may become a wasted venture. It may not be impossible, but it certainly won't be easy if you go ahead with it.



    I desire all this accomplishment, yet I failed at the respected university, I only get by at a community college, I've struggled for months just to come up with a type system for a programming language, I don't know any math beyond 1st year university, I've never coded in assembler or used SSE, I am unfamiliar with advanced web development, and have coded only basic particle simulations. Even then, the programs I am most proud of, I coded about 4 years ago. I no where approach my standards, and I'm already 21. Heck, I got fired from the only serious programming job I ever had due to punctuality issues.
    Perhaps make your first priority to be working on the foundation to be able to accomplish what you want.

    Honestly, if you really wanted to be a good game designer, then why wouldn't you dedicate a lot of your time to it? I'm not saying it's a problem on your behalf, or that it's your fault. But if you really want it, then why sit back and fret over it?

    Get yourself organised. Ask yourself questions along the lines of:
    What have I accomplished already?
    What knowledge do I possess that I can work on?
    What knowledge do I need to know?
    What personal problems do I need to attend to before I can get serious about all this?
    Am I really committed to what I want to do in life?

    Ask questions that pertain to what you want and how to put yourself in the best possible position so that you are ready for it all.



    I don't know if I have lost the spark, or if I never had it in the first place. But achieving this list of grand endeavours is my dream and my only passion. I don't know what I'd do if I was to give it up. Even though I have failed from university, every day I still dream of finishing my degree.
    Then you are already on your way to achieving it.



    Looking at people that have achieved measures of this success, only makes my feeling of inadequacy worth. What do my many university friends, Moo, chevre, Trevor, Borkd and others have that I don't? What enables their success at breaking down this mountain of challenge and complexity?
    Perhaps they have found their niche, what they are good at. I wouldn't know as I don't know them, nor what they are studying or have studied.

    Again, some people are naturally good at something, whilst others struggle in that area. It's not necessarily something they have that you don't, it's just that they've been wired up to be more adept at that particular area of knowledge.



    Is life really as hard as I think it is? Am I a hopeless romantic? Can I achieve anything of value? These questions riddle me with anxiety, and prevent me from working with their irritation. I post them here in the hopes that someone can provide some insight into my condition, and set thing right once again.
    Life is hard, but that's where the challenge comes from. Imagine living in a society where there was no day-to-day challenge. We'd be simpletons, with neither a complex nor advanced society. Because of no need to struggle through life, our carefree nature would take over and we'd all be very complacent with what we are given. No motivation to improve nor innovate our world.

    Just remember to take life as a series of short steps. There is no point in making huge chasms to jump.

  3. #3

    Default

    Incomplete,

    Life has this habit of throwing you curve-balls that make you look at yourself, and despite your pride in your ability, shame yourself regardless. As an aspiring writer, I know the equivalent of the feeling you bear, if in a different manner.

    As for your dream of becoming a programmer, however, I certainly encourage you to continue on towards it. Although you didn't do well in university, remember that the desire for education and intellectual self-betterment of a structured fashion sometimes hits us all at different points, and maybe it's not your time yet for that way of doing things. Community college is not bad -- I go to community college as well, and I find the quality of the professors, studentry, and education to be higher quality than regular college.

    I don't think you lack programming ability at all -- if you've gotten a job coding in the past, you will get one again. Sometimes, things happen to pull us away from our intended route, but it does not mean we will ever get back onto it. 21 is extremely relatively young, but what you're suffering from now is the realization that most people get when they're 21 -- they realize that they're not immortal, that they only have a limited time to do what they want, and every taken breath that isn't going towards that goal or that dream is a wasted one.

    Challenge yourself. Read. Read programming books. Read stories about programmers. Force yourself into situations where the only way out is to do or die. My best friend is a successful computer programmer, capable of programming heavily in pretty much -- what seems to be -- every known language. Eleven months ago, he was answering phones in a call center. Then, he got a job as a programmer.

    How? He always wanted to be a programmer. So he lied. First day on the job, he brought the books home he was going to need and literally, literally stayed up for 48 hours, smashing his brain full of knowledge. He did the same for days afterwards, at work and home ... and he's somehow managed to become the lead at this job of his. Don't ask me how beyond that.

    I'm not saying to lie; I'm just saying to have more faith in yourself. If actually getting your brain around the programming isn't working at the moment, then delve into another aspect of program -- familiarize yourself with terminology, history, use, etcetera, and hopefully you'll find a flag in there waving to you, asking you to come retrieve it and find your calling!

    You'll get through this, mate, and never hold anything but the highest regard for yourself and your ability to succeed!

  4. #4

    Default

    Woah, you know, I was gonna' offer some words of advice, but I think Rance and Lukie pretty much hit it on the nail.

    Good luck, man.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukie View Post
    Life isn't meant to be easy, but nor is it meant to be unbearable.
    Finaly someone who agree's with me, it's supposed to be unbearably easy. But no, that will never happen.

    But seriously I do agree with you.


  6. #6

    Default

    Since people said alot of what I wanted to, I'll say this: If life was meant to be easy, everyone would be millionaires.

    Seriously though, don't give up your dream. If you do, then you'll regret it when you get older. If you work at your goal, then I'm sure you will succeed at it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Don't compare yourself to other people so negatively.
    Other people have secret advantages, problems, and blind luck that makes their lives a very different story to yours. A successful person may be there because of a natural advantage they had... or they may have just worked hard... or they may have been lucky... or they might even be in a worse position than you - but you just don't know about their problems!

    By all means, try to learn to avoid the mistakes made by others, and understand the good things they do... but don't make the mistake of thinking that you're less than them because you don't accomplish as much.
    There are many factors both hidden from you and beyond your control that make such comparisons largely pointless.

    If you want to improve yourself...
    * dwell on the positive - build up your self confidence
    * work hard - and get your friends to encourage you to work harder
    * be smart - use your natural advantages, and consider how you will combat your disadvantages

    Most of all, believe in yourself. If you have lost belief in yourself, take on a series of relatively easy challenges, to prove to yourself you *can* accomplish things... and build your self-belief back up to take on more difficult challenges.

    Remember... the successful people fail many times before they make it big.
    Don't compare yourself to other people so negatively.
    Other people have secret advantages, problems, and blind luck that makes their lives a very different story to yours.

    Remember... the successful people fail many times before they make it big.
    But they never gave up, they kept adapting their methods, making new plans, and trying new things until they find something that fits.

    Thomas Edison took 10,000 tries to create the lightbulb.

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