The Itinerant Tern

A blog about things

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8. I have a dream

ok I had a nightmare. A while back I woke up in cold sweat, because I felt insignificant and useless after an encounter with Tynan and his friends. In this dream, I came to a hangout looking to meet interesting people. I thought that I inherently belonged in such a crowd and figured that it would be easy to jump right in. When I got there, however, Tynan asked me for vitamins. Weird right?

This stopped me cold. In dream logic, he was asking me if I had anything new to contribute. I either brought fresh ideas and energy into the group, or I was just another dead-weight groupie. I panicked. Up until that point, I was confident in myself even in my dreams. I woke up wondering if I have anything original or interesting to add to a conversation in a group of creators and innovators. Many of the things that come to mind are derivatives of the ideas I read from books and blogs of those same people.

Luckily, I snapped out of it when the fears and insecurities of dream-brain seeped away. I remembered the many personal breakthroughs and interesting experiences that I've had in my life. This is when I realized that it is important to me to be a creator and not a mere consumer. I am a peer, not a fan. It seems that my dream of inadequacy was spurring me to catch up.

Next time: the first original thought that I recalled after my dream.

Teach

On Meditations

I feel like I’ve always liked teaching. There is something about taking everything that I’ve learned, figuring out where the other person is struggling, and putting what I have to share into words that the other person will understand. I think that it is one of the most powerful acts in the world. Not only does it raise the student up to a higher level, but it also forces the teacher to develop a better understanding of the topic in order to really be able to explain it. I find that when I’m learning something new, the best way to turbocharge the process and to make sure that what I’ve learned sticks, is to simply teach what it is that I’m learning.

I remember doing this when I got really into playing the browser based game Tribal Wars. I started playing the game in order to ignore the shitty stuff that was going on in my life, but I ended up getting really into it and achieving world class success. At first, I felt like I was banging my head up against a wall. I didn’t talk to anyone in the game. I didn’t read any guidebooks on how to play. I played for hours and hours at a time, hoping sheer determination would bring me success. When no success was forthcoming, I decided to redouble my efforts. I would set my alarm so that I woke up at 2:00am in order to start a building, instead of waiting the extra 5 hours that it would take to do so when I woke up. I was in crazy obsessive mode, and the worst part was that I wasn’t getting any results. Initially I would be ranked top 100, but as time went on, everybody raced by me and I’d be lucky to be top 1000.

It all shifted when I was haphazardly put into a Tribe with someone who actually knew how to play the game at a high level and was willing to teach the other members of our tribe how to do so. I was ecstatic about my good fortune. I took to learning his system immediately. I followed it step by and step, and asked for advice as much as possible. To my surprise, results were forthcoming and it was far easier than I had ever expected. Playing the game at a high level required a shift in mentality. Normally you would collect and use the resources that your own village would create. You would use these resources to build new buildings, troops, and so on. Surrounding your village would be the villages of other gamers like yourself, but also many abandoned villages. These were the villages of players who quit playing the game for one reason or another. What would happen, is that their village would continue to produce resources, but they would just stockpile up. And you could only store as many resources as the size of your village warehouse could contain, so basically the resources would just go to waste.

What the top level player would do, is send their troops to ‘attack’ these villages. Often there would be no troops to defend, you would get to take home the unused resources from the village, and use these to build up your own village. This practice was called ‘farming’ and was absolutely essential. It became obvious to me why in the past, I could never keep up with the top 100 players. Because they farmed the villages around them, they had an income that was 10x to 100x greater than my own. Persistence would not solve this problem, I had to learn the secret rules of the game. Simply by following the practices of farming, I quickly excelled to the top 30 players.

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