Saturday, September 24, 2011

Writing From Home

Goal: Blog more.

Problem: I don't have much to say.

Solution: Still searching for that one.

So, theory: The reward for doing something good of your own free will exceeds the punishment that comes from doing something bad of the same magnitude. To put it mathematically, as I am wont to do:

Let's flip a coin 100 times. If it lands on heads we say that we did something good and we reward ourselves 70 points. If it lands on tails we say we did something bad and we subtract 60 points. This is not my probability class, so I won't make you work it all out, but you get the idea. Even if we are only getting heads 50% of the time, we still come out with a positive score.

Now, I don't throw this out there to suggest that making bad decisions is okay because our good decisions outweigh them. I don't believe that's true. What I do believe is that our good decisions are worth a lot more than we give them credit for.

I had a good talk with a good friend the other day (It was a good day- just because I wanted to use "good" another time in this line.) She's teaching English in the blessed land of Mexico and she said that when the kids say a specific thing in English after being prompted they get a reward. When the kids say that same thing without being prompted they get a much larger reward. I think this reward system is pretty analogous to life. It's one thing to do a good thing because it's an assignment for a class or because you're part of an organization. It is a very different thing to make a decision on your own to put yourself out there and do something awesome. I think bonus points are awarded for that.

When I think about successful people, I can't imagine it's just because they had an awesome coach that made them who they are. Sure, the coach is essential, but I bet the great ball players dedicated extra time to playing and to practice. I'm sure they decided to eat better and followed through with it. Other people's efforts to make us do great things will only take us so far. If we're ever to truly become great we must become independently motivated and create our own success. I state that like it's a fact- it's not really. That's just the way I'm feeling tonight and it is what I believe.

So, what do I want to become? I want to become an awesome programmer. I am not yet awesome. I'm not even really a programmer yet... So, how do I do it? Well, there must come a time when I decide that I'm going to learn how to do it. I must decide to practice and create things on my own. If that doesn't happen I'll never become great. My CS professors can only carry me so far. Arjun the loveable Indian lab instructor is only so powerful. I've got to man up.

That's my theory of the evening. Chances are worth taking because the reward for success exceeds the punishment for failure. The reward for following someone else's instructions and being successful is great, but the reward for creating your own success is far greater. It's an offensive game instead of a defensive game. Defense is turning in all your CS assignments and getting an A on it. Offense is all that plus making your own stuff. That's who I want to be in my educational career.

"Do better."

1 comment:

Valerie said...

I totally agree with you on the fact that if we want to become great people, we have to do it ourselves. We have to do the things that we need to do because we want to, not because someone else is making us do them.