Monday, October 11, 2010

On the 80/20 Split, and Powergaming Your Practice

Of all of the delightful things I picked up from Crucible this year the least delightful was the unavoidable Con Crud. For those of you unfamiliar, Con Crud is what happens when whatever minor ailments that the convention goers have gets passed around and mutated and becomes some sort of omni infectious, organ curdling plague. Working in a health related field, it is frowned upon to go into work while ill. Thus I am home for today and tomorrow.

My creative blogging muse has been on vacation since the crunch to get the presentation done was under way, and I am trying to coax her back into her A game.

The dark of the year is starting and in keeping with tradition I've been reflecting a lot, and 80/20ing my life and my practice down. Like anything else a practice can get cluttered and lose its effectiveness over time. Especially when you start trying to work in every cool trick you find. Double especially when you have some sentimental attachment to some practice or set of practices that just aren't cutting it anymore. Or maybe they never cut it, but you desperately wanted them to. That last part is the trickiest. It takes a lot of honesty to admit when something just isn't working for you. It takes a lot of will power to let it go. There is a real temptation to keep beating your head against a wall trying to figure out what is wrong. That can be a trap. That can keep you in a practice or situation that you've outgrown.

The growth part is what is essential there. If you practice haphazard your results will be haphazard. Think of it like a tech tree in the world of RPGs. Everything on the tree is cool. Not everything will be useful to your goals. Focus on what you want to become at the end. Always have your end game in mind. Some times you've honestly mastered a particular practice, or at least the first level of one. It's ok to admit that to yourself if it's true. Don't be scared. Any practice can be infinitely deep, so if it is in you to plumb that rabbit hole all the way down then by all means. But if there are other things on the horizon, congratulate yourself on a job well done, and move on to something that furthers your goals.

And sometimes.. some things don't work at all. Like at all, at all. And that does indeed suck, because there is some strange logic behind things there:
A) This practice (or system) works for other people.
B) This practice (or system) does not work for me.
C) I am obviously the flawed party in the equation, as the practice works for other people.
D) I must make this work so that I am no longer flawed.

It seems logical on paper, but it really isn't. It predisposes that everyone is equal in dignity (which I agree with) and therefore, the same (which I disagree with). If we apply this logic to sexual orientation, you have a lot of people trying to be something they are not, with saddening consequences. The logic also revolves around the premise that there is something we "should" be doing no matter what. It substitutes an external plan for you vs. an internal plan that you've made. The external plan may be peachy keen, if it ends in a place you want to be going.

To quote Judge Judy: "Life is not a dress rehersal. You don't get a second shot at this."

Always play to your end game. Always.


Pallas Renatus said...

Great. I always did suck at choosing my tech trees; too many shiny-but-useless abilities along the way =p

Jow said...

If they work they arent useless ;)

You can have the cool stunts, just make sure they are part of a functional whole, not just a string of random awesomeness. It's still awesome, just less useful if there is no integration.

You'll get it done, Pallas, never fear! Just keep your eyes on your goal, and you'll be fine.