2020 05 11 Weekly Update Winners Never Quit
Welcome back, internet friend!
Howdy internet friend, and welcome back to my weekly update post! I wanted to start by thanking you for taking the time to read this post. There’s so much going on that you could spend your time doing, I appreicate you taking a few minutes to read this article. Last week I decided to break down the post in to personal and professional. That way, if you wanted only the information security stuff, you can skip the section about the personal stuff and vice versa. I wanted to do something just a little different this week. Under the personal section, I’m going to include a subsection to talk about Animal Crossing: New Horizons (herein referred to as ACNH). Like so many in the information technology/security community, I’ve discovered this game and love it! Rather than tweeting about it (yet), I’m going to just add a smaller subsection of the personal section to discuss ACNH. This way, it should be super easy to skip if you don’t care about Tom Nook and the antics on my small island call “whatever”.
Rather than simply calling this post the weekly wrap-up, I decided to give this post a special name. I’ve written previously on LinkedIn in a post on the power of positive thinking that I was reading the Napoleon Hill classic, “Think and Grow Rich” - an excellent book I will be writing a more full review on once I’m finished. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it was originally written and published during the Great Depression. Hill interviews a number of the biggest business leaders of the day (who are ultimately some of the biggest titans in American industry.) He managed to speak with such people as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and J.P. Morgan - to name just four. During the interviews, the author seeks to figure out how each of these men were able to attain their riches, and there are a number of interesting stories contained in the book.
While I am planning on doing a more full write up later, there are a few nuggets of wisdom that I wanted to share today. First is the title of this post, although it was shortened from the original. Hill suggests that you write down the following and put it in a place that it is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you see before falling asleep at night. I put this on a sticky note right next to my bed so I can see this with the frequency requested by Hill:
“A quitter never wins - and - a winner never quits
Many of us have heard this quote before (in fact, one of my favorite artists, Pedro the Lion, released an album in the year 2000 called “Winners never quit”) but there is a little more to it than just this quote. Remember above when I mentioned that the book was written and published during the Great Depression? Hill is not trying to say that you should just not give up and never quit no matter what. In fact, he almost says the opposite. He suggests something akin to the scientific method for business. Make a plan and work on it’s execution. If the plan fails, rather than giving up, create a new plan. Do this as often as is necessary until you succeed.
Winners never quit doesn’t mean continue to follow after a bad idea. It doesn’t mean being uncritical on non-reflexive about the way things are going and to just keep swimming forward, like a shark. Instead, it means that one should constantly be evaluating their plans and deciding if it is still a good plan. If it isn’t, you should be willing to quickly pivot to something new.
I found this to be really inspiring, particularly as someone who has made a few career changes. To me, it means that flexibility is crucially important, as well as being self-reflexive. Look at what you are doing in life. Have you created a plan to achieve your goals? It’s really important to know what you are working for. So if you haven’t figured out a plan for what you want to do with life, start there. Spend some serious time thinking about what you want to do in life. What do you want to accomplish? Are you happy with your career right now, or do you want to do something different? Do you want to be a programmer? Hacker? Network admin? Would you prefer to work at a help desk for your entire career because you love helping users? Ultimately, I can’t tell you what it is you want to do - that’s up for you to decide. Once you’ve made a decision about what you want to do with your life, write those goals down and put them in a place you can see them every morning, like on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Then, when you are getting ready every morning, go through your list and visualize the achievement of your goals.
If your goal is to be a programmer, spend your morning while getting ready thinking about working as a programmer. Imagine yourself writing code and getting paid for it. Think about doing code reviews and peer programming with a mentor. Visualize yourself as part of a team doing mob programming. Then, spend a minimum 30 minutes a day working towards this goal (but be sure to take time off for the weekend.) If you are getting ready to say, “Dave, that sounds great, but I don’t have the time.” If you get an hour lunch, you can spend the first 30 minutes eating and mucking around on your phone (or whatever you like to do for fun) then spend the last 30 minutes on your laptop (or phone) writing code or watching a Udemy course on programming - anything to get you close to your goal. This equals two and a half hours per week that you can put towards your goal. If you only get a half hour for lunch but have a commute to work, use that time to list to a podcast or find a Udemy course to listen to. All this time adds up and will ultimately help you achieve your goals - as long as you don’t quit!
Obviously this is a subject I am passionate about, and I’ll be writing much more on the subject later. For now, I hope you take away from this a few things.
- You can achieve your goals, but you have to figure them out first!
- Once you have some goals in mind, write them down and imagine you have achieved them every day.
- Consider the advice of Napoleon Hill and write yourself a note you can see every day that says, “A quitter never wins - and - a winner never quits” then follow through!
Before I move to talking about animal crossing, I just wanted to share one more thing. Although I’ve been doing my best to be more active on Twitter (something I’m not great at and often find myself lurking rather than posting) I’ve cut way back on my Twitter time on the weekends for my mental health. It can be really hard to see the stream of constant negative and maddening news. Spending a few days not being overwhelmed with all the bad news helped me feel much better. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all the horrible news, I would recommend disconnecting for a few days. It’s done wonders for me, and it might just help you too! I want to also add here that I took around a five minute break from writing this post to check out Twitter and immediately regret the decision. While Twitter is awesome for finding jobs (if you are looking) as well as getting information (including 0days), it’s also a place where people go to vent. Since everything is pretty bad these days, it’s very easy to spiral, so please be careful when using Twitter (he says to others, as though it isn’t advice for himself the author is planning to ignore).
Please note that this section will assume some knowledge of ACNH. If you don’t know anything at all about the game, you might need to do some Googling for context here
As I mentioned above, like many other tech professionals I’ve recently discovered Animal Crossing. One of the things that I’ve been doing has been tracking the Stock Market. Each week I’ve been writing down how much I paid for turnips, then how much I sold them for to track progress. If anyone is interested, I will share the figures from each week. Suffice it to say, despite losing money the first week I’ve managed to make money each subsequent week, including making back what I lost the first week.
One of the great benefits here has been that my wife also started playing - in fact we bought the game for each other as an anniversary gift. Since we can’t leave the house for any date nights, we’ve been able to have a few dates within the game. In addition to having cool date night ideas, this means each of us has access to two islands. That means two different set of prices when Daisy Mae comes by to sell her turnips, as well as two different sets of raccoons to buy them, at two different prices. This has saved me a few times from low selling prices, as well as buying expensive turnips.
Additionally, I made sure when I started the game that we both had different fruit on our islands. My island came with peaches and hers with oranges. My “mom” in the game sent my cherries on my first day, so my island now has trees of cherry, orange, peach, and coconut. This made it much easier in getting early start up money as the non-native fruits (with the exception of the coconuts) are 5x the price of the fruit the grows on my island.
So while I could keep talking about Animal Crossing, this post is already pretty long so I’m going to pivot to talking about professional things like programming.
Last week I was very pleased with myself. Despite being really distracted, I managed to accomplish all my goals. I even spent a little time trying (and failing) to fix the CSS with this site. Side note - I’ve been debating just installing a pre-built theme, rather than trying to fix my custom theme. I don’t really want to give up (see above) and want to learn enough CSS that I can sort the issue out myself. However, I’m quickly running up against the question of the best use of my time. I didn’t start this blog to learn about front-end web design (specifically not to learn CSS) but maybe I should look at this as a benefit to learn, rather than as an annoyance. When I first built this blog as a Jekyll page, it was to learn about static websites. What I ended up learning more about was how to use Git and Markdown. So perhaps I should just take the learning opportunity for what it is, and learn more about CSS so I can resolve my own problem? I think that I’ll learn more this way (which is why I haven’t just installed a new theme and been done with it) but I have to think about this more before I make any decisions.
Additionally, I managed to spend a little more time doing the MUD design document last week. I’m hoping to invest even more time there, so that once I finish the Udemy course I can get started building the MUD.
Most of my best progress last week was with the aforemention Udemy course. I also wanted to give a shout out to two folx, Jared Folkins @JF0LKINS offered some really helpful advice about the question I posted last week. Jared mentioned that my issue was with string interpolation from the fmt.Println() statement and to instead use Printf(). This was really helpful advice, because sometimes I have a tendency of following tutorials too closely without critically thinking about why it works. Jared also suggested the Go documentation around the fmt package, and that was a really good idea that I always forget about. Whether it be Python, Ruby, or Go, it tremendously helpful to look through documentation not only for finding code samples, but also for figuring out the best way to do things.
Further, I got another assist in the resolution of my issue last week from Kevin C. Krinke, who you can also find here and who had some additional information that was very helpful. Kevin pointed out that Printf() works with format strings, while Println() just prints things in a single line seperated with spaces.
So a huge shoutout to Jared and Kevin for helping me figure out my issue with the code last week! I would highly recommend following both of them, as they are very helpful! Jared is doing really cool stuff in the EdTech space and both are doing really cool stuff with Go. I’d highly recommend following them both, if you don’t already.
Finally, I’m starting to get close to the end of a big project I’ve been doing for work. Before this engagement, I’ve never managed a project and over the last roughly six months I’ve learned heaps about what works and what doesn’t. I’ve still not decided if I want to be in management some day - I’m leaning more towards remaining in technical roles - but it’s important to think about. For many tech professionals, moving to management is often assumed to be the logical career path. However, I think many people have this thrust upon them without thinking if it is really want they want. I’ve been spending time thinking about whether management is really something I want to do, or if I just think it is because that’s the usual career trajectory. However, as a consultant I have the option of remaining more technical rather than moving to managing projects and consultants. I plan on sharing my thoughts on management when the engagement is over, so if that is something you are interested in, keep an eye on this space for future posts.
Goals for coming week
After thinking about the goals from last week, I think I had the right idea in keeping it simple. Once again, my goals for this week will be the following:
- Work on finishing the Udemy Go course I recently bought.
- Try to fix the CSS on this page for mobile
- Additional work on the MUD architecture design document
I also hope to spend some time researching how to best use the GURPs role-playing system to run a game for my family, but I’m keeping that on the backburner as I’m really trying to focus on improving my programming skills. Eventually I’ll get a firm enough grasp of the rules to run a game, and I’ll be sure to post about it. Until then, I hope you have a very nice week and if you are looking for some new people to follow on Twitter, consider someone from the list below:
Cool Twitter follows for the week
@JF0LKINS - If you are interested in programming and/or EdTech, give Jared a follow!
Kevin - If you are interested in programming and/or Go, I’d recommend following Kevin!
@cetolyne - great friend, awesome programmer, super helpful!
@blenster - cool maker, very positive, well worth a follow!
@GWeessies - very smart person doing interesting research!
Marley - first place champ! Marley is one of the best on Twitter!
Null Coder - another awesome person to keep an eye on!
That’s all for this (really long) post. I appreciate you checking it out, and I hope you have an excellent day and a fantastic week!