First Step

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

–Chinese Proverb

Throughout our lives, we will experience and undertake various journeys.  Some of these journeys are good, like undertaking a new career venture, starting a new exercise regimen, or moving to a new state or country to pursue a goal.  Some of them are frightening, like moving away from home for the first time, entering the military, or undertaking a new martial art. No matter what that journey is going to look like, it has two things that make it a journey: a starting point, and a final goal or outcome.

When undertaking a journey, it can be overwhelming.  You don’t know how long it will take, in most cases, and you don’t know how much effort it’s going to take to reach the goal.  In fact, you’re almost guaranteed to underestimate the amount of effort that will be required to achieve that goal by a full order of magnitude.  It is for this reason that people are often reluctant to set goals or start journeys in the first place; and then later in life they feel like failures.

Many people avoid setting goals too high, for fear of never being able to attain them.  This is ultimately self-destructive, as it leads to people allowing themselves to “settle” for what they can get, rather than going for what they can achieve.  Looking at the population as a whole, how many people do you think are actually achieving at their maximum level? Five percent? It’s doubtful that it’s above one percent, although it’s impossible to truly calculate the numbers on this.  Part of the reason we never achieve our true potential is because there is no scientific way to calculate what percentage of our potential we have reached; as a society we like to have measurability.

In the end, however, wanting measurability is nothing but an excuse.  The only way you’re going to achieve your goal is to take that first step.  So take a deep breath, write down where the journey you’re about to embark upon is going to take you, and take that first step.


Playing the Game

It is often said that life is a game.  This notion raises eyebrows or elicits rolled eyes as the cliche quote is recycled ad nauseum to a disinterested listener, often someone that has just seen a failure in their lives or careers.  The phrase can be used for both positive and negative spin on any argument. “It’s a game, there are always winners and losers”; “Life’s a game, you gotta keep rolling,” and so forth. The problem is not that life is a game, because it is;  Life, capital “L”, outside of the Milton Bradley board game of the same name (and with a disturbing amount of realism to it for when it was made), is the original Massively Multiplayer Roleplaying Game, which is ironically increasingly played online.  The grind is important because that is how you play such a game, and most of us do so well enough to keep going.

The problem persists, however, in how to overcome the circumstances of our birth, and become more than we are.  Any number of authors are out there to tell you how, although the majority use some take on the Carnegie system, including myself and I’m still a low level player.  Like my heretofore mentioned favourite MMORPG, Entropia Universe, Life is a hardcore skills-based game–there are no levels, you simply grind your skills until they get better.  However, many of us are operating on a set of false assumptions about the game of Life and how to play it. Too often we allow our beliefs about the rules of the game to be influenced by those around us, and in doing so, it pidgeon-holes us into a set of actions, reactions, and routines that allow us to grind at the pace we always have been, but means we only maintain what we have.  Due to this, many of us don’t see the socio-economic verticality that we really want.

This epiphany came to me today, 16 June 2019, as I was mowing my lawn and listening to an Audiobook, the printed version of which I will post an affiliate link below; it’s Grant Cardone’s variant and synthesis of the Carnegie system, and as I review more books written by those that have internalized that system, I came upon the answer to a burning question I’ve had.

The question: “Why do only a small number of people succeed?”

There is a mathematical formula known as the Pareto Distribution, which I have referenced in my recent article on the Golden Rule; it indicates that the more success a person has, the more likely they are to succeed the next time, and that success will likely be geometrically larger.  Conversely, if a person fails, they are likely to fail again, and even worse. The irony of this, of course, is that human psychology and society is more tilted toward pushing failure than success; far too many people don’t want those they know and love to be too successful, because it only proves that they aren’t doing enough to succeed themselves.  Worse still, are those that are pushing toward success, but think they’re failing because of the way that others are treating them.

That bears repeating: people would rather talk others into failure rather than do the work necessary to succeed themselves.  The irony being that they put as much effort into pushing others down as it would take to push themselves up.

There are those that would blame the game itself, the system, the limitations of the engine, or the Rules as written, for being the cause of their woes.  As the old saying goes, “What the F*** Blizzard?” was a frequent question when game mechanics became too tough.  To be fair, the same phrase took a far different tone whenever a player runs into one of the myriad of poop quests.

The problem is that too many people don’t know the rules to the game.  They think they know them, and to a certain extent they do, but they only know the basics.  You can play World of Warcraft, and be fairly successful at doing so, but if you don’t learn how to handle mechanics, rotation, spec, talent trees, and optimization, you’ll only get so far.  Life is exactly the same way, but you have to find those aspects in your life that need to be optimized. Albert Einstein once stated the general answer to my question:

“You have to learn the rules of the game.  Then you have to play better than everyone else.”

Most of us, including and perhaps especially myself, don’t know all the rules to the game.  I would be surprised if there was a single person that does, although if I had to make a guess, it would either be HM Queen Elizabeth II, or Betty White, as both have seen and experienced more than the average person has, and neither could be considered unsuccessful.  This is an obstacle that we all face, and must contend with throughout our lives; we have to seek out and determine what the rules to the game are, and then play the game better than everyone else.

Of course, it’s impossible for all of us to play better than everyone else.  How to grapple with that is a matter that I am continuing to contend with, and attempt to figure out; suffice to say, it is likely contained in one of the Rules that I have yet to learn.  That said, perhaps it can be stated that you must learn and respect the rules, and play the game better than those who seek to stop you.  Country singer Cam once said it thusly:

“I think life gives you lemons, and the thing that I’m working on doing is not watering down, not putting sugar in it.  The more you can take life head on…it’s gonna make you a better person, and then you have nothing left to be afraid of.  And what an awesome way to live.”

In the end, it’s not what you have to contend with, but how you play the game; and the first step of that is to choose to play.  Too many people play because they have to.  Take Life by the horns and choose to play the game, by Life’s rules, and to master them.  Although I cannot say this in itself will breed success, I am working on that hypothesis, and will continue to do so until I find a better one.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule is a maxim in almost every religious and social theory, which makes it both the easiest and hardest maxim to break down and unpack.  At its core, the concept appears to be both positive and negative, an encouragement and an admonishment. It has been found in some form in almost every culture, language (except perhaps Klingon), and moral system.  It is easy to follow, if one simply checks their own behaviour before any interaction with other people, and in most social interactions, it is followed. You too should recognize this rule:

Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

It’s a simple rule in concept, and most people take this for granted, as it isn’t a simple rule in practice.  That jarring realization may be why there is such a disparity between the ways we as humans treat each other across cultural and social lines.  Keep in mind, many people, if not the majority, don’t like themselves very well. To make matters worse, there are those that are more than willing to punish themselves for their perceived inadequacies and in doing so believe that we should all be punished in the same way.  This is the road to nihilism, and although there are many, especially in my generation, that embracing such an attitude is either cute or funny, it is really a quick road to tyranny.

So if you don’t treat others the way you want to be treated, would there be an alternative?  Perhaps one that would work best for both parties as they try and cooperate with mutual understanding and respect; something that it is likely both parties would want.  I have seen this example as an alternative to the Golden Rule set forth above, along with its own set of issues:

Treat others how they want to be treated.

This seems to correct for the issue of people not liking themselves, but comes with a set of great issues regarding mutual respect, such as the possibility that the person you’re interacting with is a narcissist.  They may expect you to treat them like they are the proverbial center of the universe. Conversely, they may hold themselves in such contempt that they treat you poorly for treating them too well. Both speak to deeply rooted psychological issues that I frankly lack the qualification to unpack properly; despite learning psychology, and abnormal psychology, at the collegiate level, the complexities of such situations are far beyond my experience.  In any case, these issues, far more common than we may be willing to admit, speak to the deep rooted issue with expecting everyone to treat a person in the manner that person expects; after all, in all likelihood, they may not have earned it. This is even more important when the person hasn’t earned the contempt they expect from other people.

Thus, having exposed the problems with both of the classical ideas of the Golden Rule, there is a third, “prohibitive” example that we can look at unpacking, which may be a better way to frame the rule, even if it is imperfect itself:

You shouldn’t treat others in any manner you don’t want to be treated.

This version solves the problems inherent in the first two versions of the Golden Rule, as it doesn’t place any permissive assumptions on how you treat others; instead it admonishes you to not do something to someone you wouldn’t want done to you. In most cases, this is wise council; as we are all human, those things that harm us would also harm anyone else, whether physically or emotionally.  It is also a good method of checking our own behaviours; after all, if we stop and ask ourselves how we’d feel if we were treated in such a manner, it may stop us from acting.

The problem comes when you factor in the human penchant to enjoy different things, and act in different ways.  For example, when dealing with household employees, butlers and maids by their very profession must be treated in a way that we might not be comfortable with.  Yes, we remain professional and courteous, but they are employed as servants, and are well paid to be so. Therefore, there are protocols involved. Now, having never met a butler (though I do know a few housekeepers, despite never having employed one myself), I don’t know the exact dynamic that butlers have with their employers, although I researched becoming one at one time.  Servant, but not subservient, I believe was the adage in the article for the school of butlery that I was investigating.  Yes, they have schools. Thus, if I ever were to employ a butler, unlikely but possible should I earn my way to that ability, I would suppress my urge to offer them a chair, as that is inappropriate by their own standards; I would be put out if not offered a chair when addressed by someone sitting.

Therefore, while the prohibitive form of the Golden Rule may be the best starting point, we must always temper our interactions with the ability to make good judgement calls based on the situation.  While this should always be the case in every situation, it is frequently ignored, and a form of social absolutism appears frequently in folks, especially those of my generation, the Millennials; while this is a criticism of the most criticized generation currently living, it is not as sharp as it appears.  It reminds us that while we are all products of our experiences, and we should do our best to take into account the perspectives of those we may not entirely understand, or even agree with; you never know, you may learn something from it.

There is one last version of the Golden Rule we must address, and it is dynamically different from the other versions; far from being a method of behaviour, it is a reminder of how the world works.  While I’m sure many of you are nodding your head, some in irritation, it goes thusly:

The one who has the gold makes the rules.

I have seen this used by people both to push their own point (usually by a boss that is dealing with an employee, often poorly), or those having a rough time at work complaining about their position.  Fact is, this will always largely be the case, as those that make the rules got a raise when they got there. It’s also science; the Pareto Distribution. Discovered long before science even existed as a subject, and at the time known as the Matthew Principle, the Pareto Distribution is a graphical representation of how feedback loops make both good and bad things more likely to happen after one has.

In this way, once you start having success, it is far easier to have continuing success as long as you continue to put forth the effort.  Same goes with failure. Now, I could spend an entire essay talking about the finer points of the Pareto Distribution, but I’ll leave you with this: if the one that has the gold, makes the rules, and you don’t like the rules of the game you’re playing now, then you need to figure out how to become the one with the gold.

This may sound tacky, but it has worked for centuries.  Napoleon Hill, Jeffrey Gitomer, Dan Pena, Grant Cardone, all make direct reference to it in their published works; and it was all started by the wily Scotsman named Dale Carnegie.  So follow both golden rules; and become the best person you can be by doing so.

Handling Resentment

Resentment is one of the negative emotions that can sneak up on a person.  Like all parts of the subconscious mind, if fed it will eventually dominate every part of your being; and being a negative, and negatives being easier to cultivate, it will grow quickly.  Unfortunately, it is not an easy thing to let go of, and understandably so; resentment is usually borne from the misdeeds of another toward you in your past, and those things aren’t always forgiven easily.  Sometimes, that anger can fester and demand release, and it is inevitably at the worst possible time. At such times, there may be company over, or a child may be too close for the ensuing argument or fight, and in doing so it may cause the situation to spiral out of control.  The question remains, how do we overcome resentment and help it to diminish, while cultivating positive thought processes to take the place of the negative ones?

That’s not an easy question to answer, and resentment of all negative emotions is possibly the most insidious.  It’s rooted in anger, fear, and disappointment, that has burned down to a smoulder. Most days, the temperature of the anger is so low, you don’t even feel it; much as you barely notice any heat coming from a wood furnace that has been allowed to burn down to coals.  They may even look cool to the touch; but stir them with a poker and let air get to them, and they burn brightly yet again, and a new fire may come to life. To make matters worse, unlike a wood or coal fire, the fire of resentment fuels itself on unresolved issues; although feeding the fuel may be slow, and the oxygine supply may be low, any sudden change can open the valves and ignite the resentment into outright rage.

We all have resentments; there will always be people that wronged us, and we can’t get over it.  Sometimes it wasn’t even of the person’s own volition; the number of children that are resented by their parents due to some perceived contribution to divorce or other family problems is uncountable.  Often times that resentment is carried long past the child, who has already suffered trauma at the hands of the resentment whether it’s obvious or not, coming to adulthood. Acknowledging those resentments, and curtailing the fuel we feed them, must therefore be our aim.  We may never be able to let go of the resentments completely, although that is ultimately the most noble goal, but if we can work to acknowledge (and therefore not bury) them, then find thought patterns that curtail the fuel flow, it will prevent such thoughts from dominating our lives.

Of the three pieces that make up resentment, anger is the easiest to handle.  Anger is the hot fire that we feel when we are wronged, or perceive that we have been wronged, and often dominates our personality when it comes forth.  While giving our anger free reign to release itself when it is presented seems to feel good, what it ends up doing is dominating our subconscious mind and looking for reasons to express itself.  Note the person that gives free license to their anger and how their lives are compared to those that work to not suppress their anger, but instead control it and use the energy toward more constructive means.  Anger is one of two possible instant reactions to being challenged, yelled at, having an unexpected event happen, and pain. It is the “fight” in the fight or flight reaction, and is our body’s primary tool to handle chaos.  After all, chaos is the unknown, and the unknown must be either fought, or fled from. Using the energy of anger in a constructive manner is difficult as well, as anger embraces the chaos and tries to dominate it. Controlling the anger impulse, while acknowledging the reason it comes up, is critical in controlling resentment.

Fear is the second easiest to control, and it is the “flight” emotion of the fight or flight reaction.  While anger seeks to dominate the source of chaos, and in doing so embraces the chaos itself, fear seeks to flee back to a state of order that you are familiar with.  Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown, and is presented in the discomfort we feel when trying new things. It is also presented when someone we know and trust does something wholly unexpected that negatively impacts our environment.  This is most often felt when a trusted partner has an affair, or a normally even-tempered parent suddenly loses their temper at a minimal provocation. The order we see our lives in is suddenly shattered, and you don’t know what to do about it.  You flee toward the first familiar thing you can find, which can ironically be as toxic for you as the original cause of the fear. Like anger, fear is best controlled through discipline, as any soldier can tell you. While it is often difficult to control, especially since it is almost universally directed inward, unlike anger which is generally directed outward, it is vitally important that you acknowledge the fear, and not let it control you.  Anger is far easier to get under control once released than fear is; once fear is allowed to run rampant over you, more and more things will bring it forth. Do not let this happen.

Third, and the hardest to overcome, is disappointment.  Disappointment is a bitterness felt toward a person for not meeting their perceived end of your social bargain.  While both anger and fear relate to a specific action, disappointment is related to the outcome.  You aren’t angry at the result of the action, though you may be angry that the action was taken; you’re disappointed that the action resulted in a negative outcome.  Most importantly, unlike actions, which can be corrected and new habits formed, therefore eliminating the source of anger, the outcomes of past actions are almost universally permanent.  Although you can mitigate any damage done, or repair it, is immaterial; the outcome stands, and had an effect on your life. Of the three emotions heretofore described, it is possible that disappointment may not be overcome outright, but instead must be tolerated and eventually snuffed out as the subject of your resentment stops repeating the actions that created the negative outcome.

One of the keys to overcoming resentment is acknowledging it exists and who or what it exists for.  Sometimes it’s painful to admit that you might resent a parent, child, lover, or close friend; but you won’t be able to let go of that resentment unless you do.  When you find yourself angry or disappointed at someone, especially over things that happened in the past, you should take out your journal and do the following exercise:

Write out the name of the person you resent.

Describe the actions and outcomes that caused the feelings of resentment.  Try to narrow it down to a specific event and outcome; after all, you can repeat this exercise for each instance.

Describe what made you angry about what happened, and why.

Describe how what happened made you feel afraid, and why.  This doesn’t have to be an outright fear, either; it could be fear that it could repeat itself.

Describe why you felt disappointed at the outcome, and why.

Think about what could be done to correct the situation, if anything can.  Write down how you could let go of this resentment; after all, resentment holds you back more than the person you are feeling resentment toward.  If nothing else, come up with a plan of action to make sure you control the underlying emotions of the resentment so that it doesn’t dominate your life.  Even if it means you have to vent your frustrations into your journal every day until it doesn’t frustrate you anymore.

Finally, start reading books focused on positive attitude and emotion.  The best way to release the negative emotions within us, including resentment, is to not feed them.  There are any number of books on developing a positive attitude, but my favorite one is The Little Yellow Book of Yes! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer.  You can find it here.

You can find most of the source material I used for this article in Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, which you can pick up here.  I also used information from Wikipedia, and my own experiences.

Developing that Next Skill

We all have talents and skills that we use on a day to day basis, which help us in our everyday lives, often in ways that aren’t obvious.  Some skills are utilized on a day to day basis; these skills may include public speaking, writing, computer skills and keyboarding, arithmetic, and by extension algebra, and persuasion.  Other skills that you might have, that help but may not be used daily, may be things like your sport, such as Association Football (Soccer), fencing or other martial arts, or baseball; a game, such as chess; or storytelling.  As the daily application of the former skillset is reasonably expected in almost any vocation, I am going to focus on the second; after all, who knew that being good at Soccer might make you a better Engineer?

I can already see the Engineers in the audience scratching their heads, but if you think about it, it makes sense.  At its core, Association Football is a team sport that revolves around passing a ball until someone can kick it into a net.  It’s a team game; and the teams work cooperatively with each other as they do competitively, as they need to agree to work within the framework of the rules for a successful game.  Failure to agree to cooperate in this framework quickly turns a soccer game into rugby, which while another noble and historied sport, is not the goal of a soccer match. I witnessed this happen several times as a child, when my parents signed me up for intramural sports; after all, eight and nine year olds aren’t always interested in playing by the rules.  Similarly, Engineers agree to compete for bids on a project within the rules of their profession, and the rules of the person taking bids. Similarly, they work within their teams to develop the best product possible for the end-user, whether that product is a simple nail for building houses in hurricane-prone regions, or a bridge you can drive a car across.

Additionally, soccer is heavy in the use of physics, and the angle in which the player kicks the ball, stops the ball, and otherwise manipulates it are key to winning the game.  If you are inclined to watch Japanese anime, the series Stellvia of the Universe addresses a similar notion, in which the main character, Katase Shima, solves a major problem by calculating the positions, velocities, and angles of attack of every object in a three dimensional, zero gravity playing field.  Of course, it is unlikely you will have to do anything that computationally demanding, however being able to “eyeball” angles, direction of movement, and to accurately guess the force needed to apply to the ball to reach its destination, be it player or net, are also useful to an Engineer.

The point of this allegory, insofar as it is presented, is to make you introspective to what hobbies you have and what sports you play, and determine what pieces of those playtime activities also help you in your day to day life.  As a fencer, as in all martial arts, one of the most important things I have developed is self-confidence. Although it is still a trait I am working on; after all, self-confidence doesn’t come in a day, and can easily be set back, if it weren’t for the years of time I have spent “slinging steel” on the weekends, I might not even have the confidence to write the words you are now reading, despite having works of both prose and fiction published in the past.  I certainly wouldn’t have the YouTube Channel that I am slowly building.

How can you cultivate those ancillary skills?  First, you must take inventory of yourself, and what skills you currently possess.  Start with those you use in your vocation, such as using tools, calculating rates, or handling interpersonal relationships.  Next, add those from your hobbies that aren’t already listed. Then add skills that may not be related to either, but you have developed through other means, such as having to do repairs to your home.  Finally, list skills that you believe will be beneficial, but you may not have developed yet, or haven’t developed sufficiently to utilize effectively. Go back and honestly rate your skill level from 1 to 100 in each skill, including those you want to develop, with 1 being barely knowing the basics, and 100 being the level of an expert.  In order for this to work you must be honest with yourself about your skill level; neither modesty nor braggadocio will serve you in this endeavor.  As you judge your skill level, be brutally honest about those things you are both good and poor at; it will help you in the end.

Now, take stock of what you want to learn or develop, and determine what skills, if any, can be practiced in both your vocation and your hobby.  If there is one that readily jumps out, select that skill for development first.  Once you’ve selected the skill you want to develop, you have to draw up a plan of action to do so.  This might mean spending thirty minutes each day focusing on using that particular skill in your job, and in your hobby.  As an example, if you are trying to build self-confidence, you might read for 10 minutes from a book on attitude or confidence, and spend twenty doing things that build confidence, such as deliberately making yourself as big as possible (this isn’t a joke, try sitting in a chair at work or home, and making yourself as big and dominant as possible for ten minutes, and see how you feel).  Whatever action you take may feel silly at first, but as you sharpen your skill, it will feel less silly. Focus on developing this skill every day for sixty days; or once a week for a year. Once that time period has elapsed, take stock in where you are in your skill level; you are certain to have gotten a lot better.

Although it should be obvious at this point, I’ll point out that you must write down your plan of action if you want it to be effective.  There is an important reason to write down any plan of action you intend to take, as by doing so, you are not only firming it in your mind, but you have something physical to look at and review.  Keep this plan of action safe, and read it aloud at least once every day.  

Remember, in order to develop your skills:

  1. Do a self-inventory of your skillset.
    1. What skills do you have from your vocation?
    2. What skills do you have from hobbies?
    3. What skills do you have acquired from other sources?
  2. Rate your skill level in each one from 1 to 100, being as honest as possible.
  3. Select a skill you want to develop, preferably one that is used in both vocation and hobby.
  4. Draw up a plan of action and write it down.
  5. Read it aloud daily.
  6. Act on it daily.

To help with this endeavor, I have created a worksheet for you to do your skills inventory on, although a simple piece of notebook paper would suffice.  If you’re of the gaming ilk, you can also use skills sheets from any D20 system game; it can make the exercise a lot more entertaining. You can download it from the link below.

Fans of Napoleon Hill will realize that I developed this article out of the formula he uses in his masterwork Think and Grow Rich, by adding my own experiences and synthesizing them together.  It worked when I decided to spend an entire year developing my defensive skills in fencing; it worked when I developed certain skills in my vocation; and it’s worked as I’ve developed skills as a father.  You can find the book here.

The Manor’s Official Position on “Vox Adpocalypse” and YouTube’s Response

From the Desk of Julien McBain:

As a content creator on YouTube, the continued smooth operation of the platform is of critical importance to the Manor, the Trust that underlies it, and myself. As a creator, I have taken great pains to avoid, to the extent that is possible, politics in recent months, as the United States and the world as a whole becomes ever more polarized. It has become increasingly difficult to hold to this principle, despite largely avoiding social media platforms except where necessary. As a rule, the Manor avoids making statements regarding policy positions except where they may directly or indirectly affect the Manor or the Trust. There are people within the Manor’s small infrastructure and sphere of influence that span the political spectrum and have a range of opinions on virtually any matter of policy; while it may be a function of the feudal nature of the Trust architecture, this is something we at McBain Manor, and the McBain Manorial Trust, value.

Recently, YouTube, at the behest of creator Christopher Maza, investigated and demonitized another YouTuber, Steven Crowder. Along with the policy change that facilitated this, YouTube also demonitized dozens, if not more, accounts with content that broadly fit within the scope of hate speech, even if it was presented for historical and bona fide journalistic purposes. Their reasoning for doing so was incredibly vague, and has made YouTube the target of various influencers and journalists, particularly on the conservative side of the political spectrum.

The Manor feels the need to express that to its knowledge, none of its members, nor anyone associated with it, consumes the content of either Mr. Maza nor Mr. Crowder; nor are we interested in doing so. It is the Manor’s position that the entire underlying issue is infantile and the result of adults, namely the two content creators heretofore named, acting like children.

It is the concern of the Manor that YouTube has engaged in a practice that is concerning for the Manor’s commercial endeavors. It is the position of the Manor that YouTube is a private company and has a right to create terms of service for the use of its platform; it also has the right to police violations of those terms of service. It is also the position of the Manor that YouTube has an obligation to its creators to ensure those terms of service are clear, and that changes are not retroactively applied. As the primary content of the Manor is based in video gaming, and YouTube’s rules regarding speech that permits demonitization have been changed and presented in a very vague fashion, it is concerning that playing a game, where such language is part of the plot, such as historical or speculative fiction may cause the channel(s) associated with the Manor to be demonetized, should the Manor become for monetization in the future.

The Manor therefore expresses its wish that YouTube publish a definitive and precise policy that has express criteria for what constitutes content that will be demonetized. The current content, and YouTube’s response regarding this whole matter has deeply concerned the Manor, and we would like to see some consistency on the platform that holds much of the Manor’s future in its hands. If YouTube has decided that it is a publisher, then we as content creators deserve to have the rules plainly and precisely laid out, so that if a violation is made, it is clear why it was a violation. If YouTube is a platform, we would express that as a platform, policing speech that is not illegal may invite further regulation by the US Government, and should it be found to be classified as a public space and therefore subject to the First Amendment, policing such speech would be in violation of it.

By my own Hand,

Julien McBain, Trustee

That Project? Start Now.

Many of us, including myself, find ourselves procrastinating on starting a project because we feel we aren’t ready for it.  “I don’t have the skills,” or “I can’t find the time”, or even worse, “what if I fail?”. These demotivations are endemic to the human condition, and are the biggest problem we all have when trying to decide whether or not to try something new.  Now this isn’t to say that you’re guaranteed to succeed–you aren’t. In fact, failure is inevitable; but if you never fail, you will never succeed.  Each failure is the springboard toward eventual success, and as long as you keep trying, and learn from your mistakes, you will succeed in any endeavor.

George Hebert, a Welsh poet that lived in the mid-1500s once said, “do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’.  Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”  This sentiment is mirrored in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, written almost four centuries later, and has served as the mantra for many high-performance, and successful, people.

The issue isn’t that we don’t have the ability to accomplish what we set out to accomplish–it’s that we get stuck in our heads with what we feel our inadequacies are.  When we feel we aren’t worthy of the reward at the end of a journey, we begin to self-sabotage. This self-sabotage is the reason most people live their lives in a state of patient medocracy; they settle for what’s good enough, because they don’t feel that they deserve better.  In most cases, they know that if they worked a little harder, or pushed a little more, they could take that next step; but there is the counterweight of knowing that once you start pushing that extra step, you may be expected to maintain that extra pace indefinitely.

A good example that I can personally relate is that of my journey as a content creator.  When I started my channel in ernest, in June of 2018 with the idea that I would commit to operating it for at least one year, I had no clue as to what I was doing.  I had been using my YouTube channel to post videos of World of Warcraft dungeon runs for my guildmates to review and improve our performance at it; I had no desire nor drive to post regular content.  Then when I started watching how much other content creators were enjoying the work, I thought I might want to give it a try. I mean, why not?  Engage with members of a community that I was a part of, and maybe someone would find something helpful. At worst, I’ll be in no worse position than I already am.

So I started posting Entropia Universe videos, twice a week.  Needless to say, at first they were rather disorganized; I had no clue as to what I was doing, and was still trying to determine my niche in the EU Creator space.  Frankly speaking, there are days I’m still not positive as to what it is. None of that matters. What matters is that I continue to create content, and over time, my audience has been slowly building.  Can I improve? Of course, and I believe that I am slowly improving with every video, every blog, and every piece of fiction. Over time, my skills are increasing, much like the individual skill bars on my EU avatar.

The point of all this is, you can accomplish anything you set out to achieve, if you have the right mindset.  That doesn’t there won’t be hard work; quite the contrary, nothing worth doing is easy, and nothing worth achieving doesn’t require work.  General Colin Powell once said something to illustrate this: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”  So prepare yourself for the journey ahead, without letting that preparation fall into procrastination; work hard at whatever goals you set for yourself, using the five elements of goal setting I spoke of in the McBain Moments on the subject (see below), and every time you fail, ask yourself what is one thing you can learn from that mistake that you will not repeat.

Most importantly of all, never give up.  You can achieve what it is you set out to achieve, if you only give yourself the opportunity to acquire the tools to do so.