A digital cultural artifact of our networking history will be lost when AOL Instant Messenger shuts down on December 15. Museum curators at places like the Internet Archives and OoCities act as conservationists for the future. Unfortunately, technology is moving too fast now for most to consider the importance of capturing our digital remains before they disappear. Let’s use this service’s discontinuation as a reminder that we should consider how our pasts can shape our futures.
As soon as I realized my current goal, writing “The Story,” things fell into place. I stopped wasting time with things I didn’t care about. I reinvested in my health. Your goals don’t have to be lofty! Let’s revisit last week’s Dr. Mindbender, photographed below. His goal is just to play this Pac-Man arcade cabinet. While playing, he might notice people laughing at him. He doesn’t care. He’s focused on his goals!
Focus on yours!
Self-worth seems to come and go. There are days I’m on top of the world, feeling like everything is fitting into place, and my efforts are moving me miles toward my goals. Then some days… no matter what I try, it seems like I’m stuck in place. When those days happen for me, or when I notice it in others, I say, “let’s have a cup” of coffee or tea to sort it all out.
I used to consider other people’s opinions of me when considering my self worth. If the group liked me, then I liked me. If a group had a problem with me, then I needed to address that along with nine unrelated problems. On the surface, that should be easy to identify as false, yet we all do it. If there’s one thing I can stress in the realm of self-confidence, it’s this:
Trust in yourself!
Self-confidence might be the hardest thing to acquire. You can work at any menial job to get pocket change. Most information is now free, so you can learn practically anything, except, the most important thing of all: you aren’t worthless. Maybe you’re in a jam. Maybe you’re living well. Maybe you’re just OK. If you accept your core being, the good and bad, then any mistakes you make are permissible. We’re imperfect beings, after all!
I never had to seriously answer: “what you want to be when you grow up?” All I had to do was politely finish the required school work then I could lounge. Even as recently as two years ago, I worked hard at jobs, yet had no ambition toward any goals. I was content merely completing the required work so I could return to lounging. Now I’ve discovered my path and what I need to be.
Even at concerts, bastions of individual and self-identity, people will jump at the chance to brand themselves. Not that I’m any different. It is, after all, more comfortable to be in a group with like-minded people, whether it’s in a concert with people that like the same sort of music you do, in a club around a hobby you like, or in a job. I think we should practice individuality as part of our self-confidence.
A useful idea in overcoming mental anxiety is the mind palace. Let it be a comfortable structure, holding the sum of all of your acquired knowledge, where people may decorate and reside in their own room. These perceptions of people could be close family, good friends, single-serving friends, inspirational figures, imaginary characters, or sworn enemies. You make the house rules and you’re the landlord. Shouldn’t the first rule be forbidding enemies from attempting mental trespassing?
Over the years, I’ve met too many people that want to do glamorous work. They want to be the saviors basking in the glory of effortless work, yet that’s the problem. Before doing the work that requires precision, you must first do the boring grunt work. By sweeping the floors, listening to irate customers, and handling the work no one else wants to do, you can eventually do the work no one else can do.
“The only difference between something being difficult and easy is a page of instructions.” There are restrictions to that, certainly. If I wanted to learn Tagalog, I would need more than a page of instructions, and it would certainly take more time than what is implied with a page of instructions. However, I think in general, having an instructional foundation is an important first step, especially if you feel insecure about a topic you’re learning.