Some Truisms I've Picked Up Along The Way...

I've picked up, observed, read about, and heard these from friends along the way:

People will always assume that if you're creating something that is fun or enjoyable, it's really easy.

If it's an artistic endeavor that they can critique or consume, they'll assume that they can do it just as easily as anyone else, until they prove themselves wrong.If you do something so well that it runs incredibly smoothly and looks effortless, and you don't have any fires or panics in the process? They'll assume that zero work or effort was required, and it was easy. If you struggle loudly but pull it off in the end? You'll receive many hundreds of times as much credit at the end than if you did it without even losing your stride - no matter how much work, preparation, experience, and effort went into it. (This is why many people assume they can act, even though behind every performance might be hours of rehearsal).

It's always easier to criticize than to create (synthesize). It's easier - and often more fun - to destroy than to create. It's easier to edit than to write.

It's always more satisfying to create new things than to keep old things working, even if the new thing that replaces it is comparatively worse. (And it's also viewed as better, because it's newer).

Telling people your cool awesome plans satisfies the same inner urge as completing those plans. (This is why most people never finish writing novels - they come up with the cool idea, write a bit, and then tell others the ending well ahead of finishing it - and in doing so no longer have the urge to write the ending).

The map is not the territory. Planning is valuable - but not because it shows you the path. It shows you the escape hatches, ladders, shortcuts and ambush points. The path is usually not anything like your plan, but the planning prepares you for what you might find on it.

Listening takes more work than talking. Most people don't listen - they just think about what they're going to say next when the other person stops talking.

There are many many ways of thinking about problems. Some people think visually. Some think serially (like in text). Some are a mix of both. Some people bounce all around the problem going from A to W to F to Z... some people walk the whole alphabet really quickly - but they don't miss a step.

Some people value lyrics more than melody. Others value melody more than lyrics. You won't know until you ask. The same goes for words and tone of voice - some people convey their emotions via words and have little control over tone. Others think less about their words, and convey their state in their tone. If this doesn't match your own method, you'll have all kinds of misunderstandings.

Sometimes people are just flaky. Recognize this, and accept that sometimes, you might just have to be the one who keeps pushing things forward.

Kids scare people who don't have them in today's society. They don't know what to do around them.

Inaction is also an action. Sometimes the right thing to do to fix a situation is to do nothing - but people rarely think of that option, because doing nothing doesn't seem like an action. It's always painful though.

When in a conflict with others, sometimes the quickest way to a resolution is to agree with them wholeheartedly, and take on their argument and push it to its logical conclusion. This works especially well if your opponent doesn't hold a /considered/ opinion, but is just posturing or playing devil's advocate for the hell of it. A friend of mine frames this as a tug-of-war - sometimes to win, wait for them to pull and then throw them the rope as hard as you can. Occasionally, once they have it, it's enough to hang themselves with.

The quickest way to advance in any company is to leave it, then come back. Once you're working at a company, your advancement is a tiny fraction of what it will be if you are seen as a valuable commodity by other companies. Kind of like dating.

Always date people who smell intoxicating to you. That will keep you together far longer than anything else. Don't stay with people who smell intoxicating to you if you have nothing in common - it's a purely chemical relationship, and if you're in it too long, it'll end in tears.

Unless told otherwise, or you're boiling pasta, cook things at Medium heat. Never cook past medium-high using non-stick.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

facebook comments