Thursday, October 22, 2009

Success / Honor

Yet another piece of information to help me solve the puzzle of myself. Yet another moment of getting the feeling that it fits, that it explains everything I do and I everything I strive for. And another factor that can also make a sense of my frustration in life and might help me see where I should focus on to be happier.

It's like another one of these selfviews, not unique, not better than the rest, just derived from a different focus (interesting word I just thought of, think of the term worldview but now applied on self, it's like different kinds of perspective on yourself, different math trying to fit in the selfmodel (like worldmodel :))

It's nothing new I haven't thought before. I just focused more deeply into the idea and tried to view things under this perspective. Actually it occured to me after my first few weeks here at UCL, thinking about my hopes, the original reasons I wanted to do this, what percentage of it did I got till now, how some things doesn't fit with myself or some things lacking from me to match well with my aspirations. And then that reflected back at every little moment of success or failure I had in real life or the demoscene or even in the most tiny things and I have noticed more how this thing totally affects the little happiness or sorrows I get from life.

For example, I always had this feeling of failure when I was in my previous degree on mathematics. Of course then I wasn't doing something that I entirely wanted, I was just under pressure and all I wanted then was to join the scene and make a good demo which was also another needed source of the personal success feeling. It took me 8 years to finish the degree and it generally was more than the average. Anybody will jump in my monologue and say that I shouldn't be so negative of myself. But I am just realistic and even if I am failing on this, depressive realism is what I think describes me. Or just the exact opposite of this effect.

So, to go on with the story, one of the little aspects that made me happier with the idea of studying the computer graphics module at UCL is the fact that I am already experienced with the subject and so I would feel like home. I wouldn't feel like an average student who doesn't understand a thing and stares in the lectures like a fool. I would feel like knowing what's going on and that feedback effect, an inner feedback effect where I assure myself that my cognition on things is going fine and I feel like a conscious part of the process and not an outsider (Hmm,. now I am thinking it, the lack of it is what pisses off people who are like external observers to our geeky tech talks). Till now it's working fine here of course. There are though some interesting new lessons like machine vision which I understand that I am not supposed to understand everything at first sight because it's genuinly more complex than graphics and that keeps me away from feeling like a fool.

It's only on some of the practicals where I felt a bit the frustration that I am not good, not worth or not successful but that feeling could be avoided by the same logic. Although, when I felt I wasn't successful on one, I thought it wouldn't be the same on the graphics practical. At least there I should do nicely easily. The subject was to change the code of a raytracer and for once I had almost coded one in the past and knew the logic. But spending some time to review the java code and it's classes, half an hour configuring the compiler of a chinese girl, more minutes to get used to the compiler and for some reason more time because I had to use "instance of" to check the type of a class (and I totally understood object oriented programming in java, I just hadn't used one and I think something was wrong with the compiler too or I was doing something wrong), somehow two hours passed and I didn't rendered a single thing!!! I mean, not even normalized a simple vector! When you have that constant feeling "Oh, I suck, I suck, I suck,. at least on the graphics practical it will prove different" and it doesn't, it's the worst feeling ever. You know,. before coming here I was telling this little 'tantrum' and eternal fear to myself: "Ok. I code graphics for a hobby. If I even fail on a master that has totally something to do with graphics which is my main thing, then what can I say? I am for NOTHING!"

Pretty hard stuff to say to oneself. But somehow I feel like I am constantly chased by the ghost of not being good enough or of even be very lame. Of course the more I know it the more prepared I am to fight with it. The thing is not to exclusively seek success but to try to face those emotions because it's easy to fail and I should be prepared for it. It's like when someone tells me that maybe I should do a really really good demo to prove to myself that I can do it and break the negative spell of my eternal demoscene sucking. But then I think, would it prove anything? I know now that if I work hard my ass on anything I can even fly to the moon. So, is there something to prove?

One important thing is that me, myself and people who read my rants might confuse three similar words.

  • Fame. A word that everyone hates. Even more than money. It's not exactly the basic thing that I am seeking. Even if it can usually interfere with the rest and at little glimpses of it you might even start liking it. Or hating it.

  • Success. More like it. But what is success? What do people mean by this word and how each one understands it through a different perspective? I will split it into two categories.

    • Social Success or generally/socially defined success or what most people understand as commonly accepted success. Getting good grades at school, university, having a job career, a respected family. It's the tantra that elderly people might sometimes bust your balls with yet you won't be able to understand what's the fuzz about.

    • Inner Success, the feeling that you are successful on something that you totally understand, you totally honor, you totally find important or interesting. Someone might be a dropout from college but create neat stuff in his free time in any discipline. That's the thing I was seeking, that's why I wasted time in the demoscene instead of taking my degree in time and others couldn't grasp the importance.

  • Honor. It must be very close to inner success. It could be the same actually. It's the feeling of achieving something that you personally feel it's important. Difference from fame? You are not doing it for the people (that can only come as a bonus), you are doing it for yourself.

Each time I am working on something that I feel it's important and the process flows all nicely, I receive a positive feedback from my brain that makes me happy for a while.

In the graphics practical I was expecting that and didn't got it. Because of unforeseen misfortunes and maybe a lack of clear mind too. But what was the motive? It was just an exercise that wasn't going to be graded. I wasn't going to show the results to my professor to prove something (that I am a graphics god or something :). I could just fail and not care. But I did! Because I had the false view that I was going to finish this easily. It wasn't a fault on my understanding, being not experienced with Java or Eclipse wasn't a reason. There was nothing that I have to ask the lecturers to explain. It was simply my thing and yet I failed. What I was seeking? A reassuring from myself that I am functioning well, that I am successful on doing something well and fast. It just didn't worked because of bad luck. It just happened. Maybe tomorrow I will have a clear mind and it will work. And get my little positive feeling of functioning. I actually need a lot of these little glimpses of happiness at times. I just have to accept it when I bump into a failure. It doesn't prove that I am bad or not. I just need to remember that it makes me feel alive. I should seek for more of these and in different disciplines.

This is definitely going for Part II. Sometime..

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