i am new to video games

my friend lito got me a game called “the witness”. it’s a series of puzzles that get increasingly more difficult. i find that i lose track of time when i’m playing this game, and usually i walk away when i am simply too frustrated to continue.

“that’s video games,” chey tells me.

lito pushed me to play “the witness” because it illustrated the concept of constructivism, which is a particular theory of how people learn. i am not an expert in constructivism, but it seems to explain the relationship between ideas and experience.

this is particularly interesting to lito because he works in education. for me, it makes me think about how i go about teaching myself new things, like programming. but in the meantime, i’m still just scratching my head over the latest puzzle in “the witness”.

overthinking it

i am prone to overthinking, and sometimes it feels like both a strength and a weakness. overthinking allows me to plan, to dive deep, and to understand a topic more fully. it also slows me down significantly, almost to the point of paralysis.

sometimes i overthink so much i miss my mouth when i’m eating or drinking.

there are some things in our lives that are worth examining. but oftentimes it helps to just keep our methods simple, and to follow the natural flow of our environment and our bodies. sometimes i am so busy trying to find efficiencies that i become inefficient.

shake it up. take some deep breath. go outside and enjoy yourself. once you free up your brain and “not think” for a while, you can return to your deep dives in a more productive way.

reading isn’t enough

i just read this article that my friend lito sent me. its thesis is that books and lectures aren’t very good at getting their message across. this is kind of true: books and lectures do nothing if they are not applied and used.

your brain remembers what it uses and forgets what it doesn’t. this is the basis for how a lot of things stay. you could study memory for a long time and discover its peculiarities, but basically if you want to learn something and remember it, you must have some sort of external pressure to actually use the information.

this is something i could talk at length about, but let’s talk about books for a moment briefly. every time i read something, i write about it or talk about it. i am in the habit of always using what i read so that it stays in my brain. for this reason, i am also self-guided to certain books and subjects that are immediately useful. this could be called interest.

from college onwards, i have learned that some of the best research comes from focused play. if you are following your intuition and interest, you are using the information you consume, and playing with it. in turn, you will remember it , and truly know and absorb what you read.

cool directory

to continue on yesterday’s post on focused play, i also have made it a point to just dig deep into my google docs. what’s funny is that when i am bored i will just poke around in my folders, organizing the files until i suddenly come up with an idea that excites me. and, i realized recently that you can create tiny websites for free with a tool called google sites. i made a small “cool directory” that you can see here.

this small website was a solution to my project problem: i have so many projects that i’ve completed and/or am working on, i realized i needed a google sheet to keep track of them all. the website serves as a more palatable way to navigate the most recent videos and streams i’ve published.

this and yesterday’s mother’s day card are both small, but i think it is important to show off the little things along with the big projects, just because it validates what you’re doing, and provides some momentum for doing more. i hope that by learning one hundred little things, it will make building the big thing that much easier.

toolbox / sandbox

right now i am using glitch, a website that allows its users to try out and edit small programming projects. i’ve been learning javascript and a little bit of vr. i’m a little embarrassed by it, but i made a small mother’s day card for my mom which you can see below.

my strategy has been to just spend time playing with the tools on glitch in order to see what is possible and what i like. i have limited resources (i’m working primarily from a chromebook and an iphone) so glitch works out really well for me because it is based online. i’ve been having a good time trying things out, even though i don’t have a clear idea of where it will lead me.

you don’t have to understand it all immediately

i just watched this talk by programming speaker gary bernhardt and didn’t understand a lot of it. this makes sense, since i am not an expert in coding or programming, and this video is intended for “serious” programmers. gary is clearly charismatic and an engaging speaker, so i managed to sit through the video and get a little bit out of it.

growing up, i used to think that i had to understand everything immediately. in late high school, things got difficult, and i found myself floundering because i didn’t know how to study. then, in college, i learned that when i read a book, it’s a good thing if there are certain parts of the text that fly over my head. that’s why i’m in school.

with my professors, i learned to take note of the things that i didn’t understand but wanted to know more about, and to revisit those passages. this is study, and this is how we next level our understanding of anything in a focused way.

you’re already good at something

a lot of us are trying to learn a new skill set: programming, budgeting, waking up on time, drinking water. even as we are expanding our capabilities, i think it’s important to remember that there are some things you are already good at.

for a long time i wanted to be like my friends and become a software developer. it was really difficult trying to teach myself code, so i took some courses and went to meetups and interviewed folks i knew to ask them the best way to go about learning to program. then i realized that i had a skillset that others didn’t have: networking. using my social skills, i gathered a lot of information about writing javascript, freelance work, and the struggles of going at it alone. this led me to found my company, the orbit.

never forget that you likely were born with a superpower. it could be assembling ikea furniture, or making a tube of toothpaste last a really long time. but you never have to start from scratch with your skills, you build upon the ones you already have.