So another year arrives ... 2014 ... a year that sounds like one I never imagined possible as a ten year old. It sounds like the future. In many ways it is. I mean, my wife drives a car that runs on electricity, starts with a button push, and has a computer aboard. I have things like an iPad. Ten year old me saw things like that on Star Trek, and was in wonder of them. Now if we could just hurry up and get working on those starships that would be great!
We really do live in some pretty amazing times and I'll approach 2014 the same way I've approached every other year for the last decade or so.
A few people ask why I'm rarely, if ever, overtly negative, either here, or on Twitter, or when I speak at conferences and such. Do I not have any critiques? Is there not things I think need fixing? Are there not things that deserve to be castigated or derided until change is enacted? Probably, but I consciously choose not to direct my thoughts directly upon such flaws.
This is the real world, not a perfect one. Of course there are things that annoy me, or that I think could have been improved by this, or by that. Of course there are things that frustrate me, or that I know could be fixed with the exertion of a little elbow grease here or there. However I have found, with experience, that the best approach to life, for me at least, is to focus on the positives, and not dwell on the negative.
It's a philosophical thing to me. You can choose to focus on the negative and complain about the shortcomings of the things in your life. Many do, and I don't judge those that do. Their grievances are often valid. It's just that personally I file those kinds of things away in a constructive manner and learn what I need to learn from them, to me that's what any kind of a negative experience is for. It's to learn from, not to dwell over. It might just be teaching you a simple thing (don't eat at that place, the food is terrible) or it might be affording you a more valuable life lesson (I really should have tried to help that friend in crisis). Either way it's an experience, and the culmination of experiences, and in many ways how you react to them, is what defines your character.
Some people can stay sane and retain the ability to complain loudly and be critical. Like I said, not judging. Personally however I prefer to remember the positives, and celebrate what I enjoy, rather than focus on flaws.
So I certainly am remembering when a game isn't to my tastes, or when my favorite TV show has a poor episode. Furthermore if it's professionally interesting to me, I'll probably spend a little time figuring out why I had that reaction it. In fact much of your critical learning when it comes to your profession comes from that kind of an approach, whatever your profession may be (I'm just lucky my profession involves games and fun stuff :p). That analysis is what helps inform and improve your skills.
There though, my feelings on those negative things end. Maybe I cut them off. I feel like its a conscious thing. We are all capable of getting more irate about the proverbial 'stuff', but I guess that, at a fundamental level, I simply don't feel there is much to gain from letting those negative experiences evolve into anger, or worse, any lingering long term resentment.
I generally don't feel the need to tell the world about those flaws I perceived. In particular because it is all so often subjective too! My personal tastes being offended might not mean the thing in question is bad. There are always simply different tastes, and some great games, art, and movies that I dislike probably rank highly amongst the favorites of others.
Instead, when I share, I choose to share those positive attributes of an experience that I think others would benefit from experiencing themselves. Or the positive parts of one that I think are worthwhile mentioning. I'm not sure I ever consciously set out for that to be a thing, it just kind of happened naturally as I figure out how I engage with the internet and social media over the years.
Some people don't understand that, or think it's me giving in to some form of cautious political correctness or some such. It's not. It's just the way I choose to face the world (which after all can be fairly #%#ed up from time to time). It's a conscious thing, and I'm comfortable with it.
We love things, and while our things might not always be perfect, I prefer to focus on the positive parts that excite me when sharing, and I love to see that in others.
In a certain way this is also important to me. It also helps with creation, at least I have always felt these things were linked for me. That same approach lends itself to how I write, paint, or whatever I'm up to at any given time. It's a kind of creative confidence. When creating anything, you should know that someone, somewhere, will dislike some element of it (or even many elements of it :p), and that you will not make things that are perfect. These things are not 'bad' as long as you learn from them, do not not let them linger into negative emotions. You should simply use them as stepping stones to the next creative endeavor.
Use those experiences to fuel new adventures.
The adventure is what it's all about!
Hopefully 2014 will include some new adventures for you all.