It's My Birthday! Here's What I've Learned


And because it's ma birfday, I'll share three things I've been pondering on and learning during my 29 years on this planet.

1. It's okay to be silly

When I was first starting out, I was intimidated by all the "professional" people who were at video game conferences.

I would joke around and try to get them to lighten up, and was only met with disdain and blank stares.

I was worried that, to be successful, you had to hold yourself back substantially. That you couldn't have any fun.

But it turns out I was hanging around the entirely wrong people.

It turns out you can be fun AND successful. These are the types of people I want to be around. 

They're rare, and there are certainly lots of people who will try to make you feel bad for enjoying yourself, especially in a professional context. 

But it's worth taking the time to find the few people you truly gel with.

Nowadays, if someone has a bad energy or is just plain boring, I just don't spend a lot of time with them.

And even if they pay well, I turn down their job offers. This saves us both a lot of time. They can go off to their seminars all about the color gray while I wrestle frost giants. Everybody wins.

2. Act on what is uncomfortable AND unfamiliar

Lately, I've been moving towards what feels most uncomfortable and what is the least familiar.

We all know that, as humans, we tend to seek out comfort and avoid pain. 

But what is far more insidious that we move towards what is familiarly uncomfortable. 

We'll procrastinate on doing our taxes as a form of familiar discomfort that we've dealt with before, instead of hiring an accountant or getting our books taken care of - something that's unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

So if a new job or opportunity comes my way that I'm completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with, I'm much more likely to say yes.

3. Seeking pride and validation from your work is nothing to be ashamed of

We're told not to seek validation from others, and we feel ashamed if the barest thought of pride flickers across our brains.

Turns out, validation feels really freaking good. People like winning awards and being recognized for a reason.

We post Facebook statuses for the likes, we tweet for the retweets.

We go to the gym so that cute guy/girl will notice us, we buckle down on our business and become successful to get revenge on the people who told us we couldn't do it… the list goes on and on.

Yet we DENY that we're actually pushing ourselves for any of these reasons. 

Own the fact that these sorts of reasons influence why you want to improve yourself. It'll save you a lot of heartache and will make actually doing your thing a hell of a lot easier.

And when people send any sort of compliment my way, now I just say "thank you!" instead of trying to deflect it. 

Feel that pride and know that it's totally okay to be feel good about what you do.

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