Finally Level Eighty!

Completely off topic but it explains the shameful lack of posts recently:

Level 80

I finally got my Orc Shaman ‘Urki‘ in World of Warcraft to level eighty!  I only started levelling him in January so I’ve been pretty slow (restrained) but now I can finally start playing in the arena (PvP).

Artisan Riding

I also managed to get the artisan riding skill so I can use epic flying mounts.  Having an epic speed flying mount (this is my current) makes a huge difference to travel times, which I hadn’t fully appreciated before.

Fail to succeed!

The more experienced I become the more aware I become of what I don’t know and the more I come to terms with the fact that I make mistakes.

The awareness of what I don’t know helps keep me humble, humility makes working as part of a team easier:  as there is no pressure to have to know everything or not make mistakes.  In fact I tend to expect to make mistakes more now than when I first started programming.  Perhaps it is the years I have spent shipping games that finally proved to me that I too write software that contains bugs (the horror!).

I remember a professor at university telling me that the main difference between a professor and a first year student working on a programming task is that the student will start working immediately and also start making mistakes immediately, the professor will think for a while then start work and start making mistakes as well.  I have found this observation to have a surprising amount of truth in it,:whether it is at university, work or even sports.

Mistakes are healthy: without mistakes we would have not reason to every really think about what we are doing e.g. why didn’t that work?  By continually pushing (or stretching) ourselves to failure we discover our boundaries, once we know where are our boundaries are we can then start to work on pushing them further.  However if we always play it safe and never push ourselves (which can be scary) we will never discover our boundaries which makes improvement much harder and also makes approaching those boundaries harder due to fear (typically of loss of control).

An excellent example of this is people learning to ice skate: young children will tend to fling themselves around the rink with wild abandon falling all over the place (as failure is expected but irrelevant due to lack of social stigma), yet adult beginners typically skate in a much more conservative fashion taking less risks (as there is social stigma against falling as an adult: falling is seen as failure).  Interestingly when observing ice hockey players, it is noticeable that those with the best skating technique are typically falling more than the other the non-beginner players on the ice, as they do not fear falling.

As most of us are not engaged in high risk activities on a daily basis we can easily begin to revise how we think about failure and to learn to embrace it as a powerful tool for self improvement.