I'm going to do what Stewie calls a "compliment" sandwich, except with silliness. I'm going to start off the post silly, write something drivel which I will attempt to pass off as serious, and end with something silly. Hopefully you will read nothing in the middle and will only guffaw at my ridiculousness.

First, the silly:

This picture, from a meeting last week we had at MT with me in the far right:

Picture quality SUCKS (obviously Aaron had on the "blur out the supercool people" filter on his camera), but guess what t-shirt I'm wearing ...

Yes, that's right ...


*snap* *snap*
*snap* *snap*
My lame-o attempt at doing the sassy snapping fingers thing, if you get it, you get it.

Think this shirt is awesome? yeah, buy it here

. . .

Hot on the heels of my last post, I figured I'd write a post about my personal feelings about happiness and success.

These are broad terms that have such varied meanings to certain people, I'm not going to even try to generalize (like I normally do) for the masses and I'm going to write this simply from my own perspective. This will sound self-centered and most likely arrogant, but this is *my* journal and I write what I want! (jeez, how lame is *that* excuse).

True happiness, to me, is a state of mind where I'm satisfied with the status quo. It is not triggered by other people, but by my own accomplishments. A consequence of being happy is laziness. I'm happy with the status quo, so why change it? I find when I'm happy, I'm least likely to accept change in my life.

That's not to say that misery is great either - to me, misery is the hopeless that is associated with an unchangeable situation. I avoid situations which can cause me misery like the plague. This is partially why I write such long-winded posts which are basically excuses for not being in a relationship - when I'm in a relationship, I cannot control how the other person feels about me. I'm afraid of getting burned (as I have in the past, as my success rate in getting girls to return an interest in me is unsurprisingly low). I am almost never miserable (I cannot remember a time in the past year when I've been miserable).

My belief in fatalism and God (fatalism resulting from God's power) allows me to "roll with the punches" and accept life's crappy little turd sandwiches without spiraling into a state of hopelessness. You've probably read this phrase so many times, but when I finally accepted the wisdom of this passage, I became far less miserable with my life: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It's not really a surprise to me it's adopted as the AA's Serenity Prayer.

Another state I used to find myself in is self-loathing. I used to hate how I would be wasting my life away. This happened mostly during my early years of college, when I (stupidly) assumed that I should be a chemist cause that's what my dad did. I hated chemistry with a passion. When I finally found my passion (writing software), the self-loathing ended. I've had bouts of self-loathing recently with my on/off-again addiction to poker, my tendency to engage in binge drinking, and the days when I'm unproductive with my projects/work ... but I work very hard to avoid those days.

Can I truly be happy? Mostly I have moments of inflated self-importance, and that usually suffices to take me week-by-week. I think the closest moments to true happiness is when I've accomplished a big project - when I release a project, when MindTouch ships software ... etc. But sometimes I wonder if I'm confusing feelings of elation ("thank god that's over") with true happiness ...

Fortunately, I have tons of things that bring a smile to my face (friends, family, Muppets, songs, movies), which are enough to keep me from being the most depressing person in the world.

How does success factor into this?

Success is the world's perception of how close you were to accomplishing the goals you set forth (and this is, according to wikipedia, pretty close to the dictionary definition). It has no bearing, at all, on your personal level of happiness. I have no illusions that any type of monetary or professional success will bring any types of happiness into my life - it won't.

The thing that success does is it frees you to pursue whatever you want. Want to design mansions for a living? Go for it. Want to fly airplanes? Done. Want to fulfill some deep-seated need to be charitable and change the world? It's possible.

Success is a means to an end - the end being personal liberty. Ever step I've taken in my life, I've taken to make sure I have all future options open - flexibility is the #1 characteristic I try to maintain). Quite honestly, I'm surprised I've stuck with a 9-5 job this far - the reason I love working at MT is the level of freedom I'm afforded. It's a startup, so I know that they're short-staffed, so I can't go around pursuing every little trinket that catches my interest (I try to do that in my spare time). But at the same time, they know that stifling me is just not productive. It's a fine line I think we balance well, and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work there.

This overriding emphasis on flexibility does come with some downsides. I have a horrible time keeping in touch with friends, or making/keeping appointments more than a few weeks in advance (those things are probably a bit related). It also means I'm a commitment-phobe (even more so than a normal guy!) and all the baggage that's associated with that.

My projects have a different goal (in my eyes, they're already a success, but could be so much more) than the success of MindTouch, obviously. My personal dream is that MindTouch is able to foster and maintain an open-source community that is able to maintain the DekiWiki project, and that my personal projects reach a level of adoption among users that use my tools to connect with other people. For Tabulas, I've already reached that level - just look at the homepage to find a Tabulas that has people interacting with one another. The next step as a concrete step, is to bring in more people who won't see blogging as such a gimmick (and to stop being scared of privacy!) and to write some more worthwhile content.

. . .

. . .

. . .

Of course, this being all said, I will also accept the ultimate token of success: a Wikipedia page, forged from the fires of debate on notability with a long section on "Personal life" which will list the following women as former flames:

(In true HTML fashion, I am using the unordered-list HTML list tag (<ul>), because even I do not possess the omniscience to determine the order of these relationships, which will happen, shutupthankyouverymuchlolrotflmaoOMGbbq)

  • Jessica Alba
  • Jenna Fischer (I know she's married, shut up)
  • Jaymee Ong
  • Jessica Biel (what's up with the J names?)
  • Meg or Dia from Meg & Dia (they're both hot in their individual ways)
  • Kristin Bell

Yes, indeedy, I'll settle for this...

Oh jeez, it looks like the sarcasm dripped all over my pants. DARN, I just these washed! Please excuse me while I try to use these Shout Wipes Plus (God's greatest gift, besides Swiffer) to get these sappy sarcasm stains (LOVE THAT ALLITERATION, BABY) out from these new khaki pants!

Posted by roy on April 10, 2007 at 12:55 AM in Personal | 2 Comments

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HTML Master (guest)

Comment posted on April 11th, 2007 at 08:25 AM
I'm glad you are masting the HTML skills...I have taught you well.

ohlalillia (guest)

Comment posted on April 10th, 2007 at 09:29 AM
this sandwich is meatay!!.. html and the snaps typed in z formation, HAHA!!.. glad to hear that you and your new job are a great fit =)