2011: The Year of "Shall"

This year means more than resolutions.

Before the new year, I made a hard assessment of my goals, past and present, and how well I performed toward achieving them throughout 2010.  My overall performance grade: B.

Although I am very happy with the progress on most fronts, there were some long-term tasks that remained unresolved and continue to linger, and they are a hindrance to attaining my goals.  Perhaps my biggest fault is that when there was so much happening it was difficult to keep focus, although my default action (working) served me well.  In other words, I can almost always justify game development as a top priority.  Still, I am looking for improvement in the upcoming year.

I observe that there are three levels of commitment toward pursuing goals (beyond simply trying; “There is no try.” — Yoda):

  1. Most people make New Years resolutions; they resolve to do something.  This is tantamount to simply deciding what to do, but without necessarily making a solid commitment to actually carry through, perhaps as much about wanting as doing.  The results, as we all know, tend to be measured by how long it takes before the resolution is broken.
  2. People who are more committed say that they will do something.  From a legal standpoint, the word “will” in a contract creates an obligation, but it can be interpreted to mean essentially that the subject will make all reasonable efforts to perform.  This is a stronger commitment, a promise to take action, but with room for excuses.
  3. I have decided that this year I shall do something (three things, in fact).  The use of the word “shall”, in a contractual sense, makes the obligation mandatory; I must complete the goal.  I have fully committed to perform, and not doing so will be outright failure, no excuses allowed.

As noted above, there are three obligations that I shall fulfill this year, each with specific measurements and deadlines.  I selected one individual goal, one family goal, and one business goal (and as it happens, they all have ties to my company).  The business goal has the nearest completion date, followed by the individual goal, and the other (personal) goal is expected to take most of the year.  Of course, the family goal is also going to take the most time and effort to accomplish, but it will be worth it.

My approach in 2011 has been and will continue to be one of “ruthless efficiency“, wherein any task that does not demonstrably lead to progress toward (at least) one of my goals will be deprioritized.  In truth, I am not terribly comfortable with this, even for just a year, but it has to be done.  (I have met people that live their lives this way, and I often find them unpleasant.)  I accept that I will have loads of deferred tasks come 2012, and maybe even some relationships to repair, but at that point I will be in a much better position to deal with such things.

Of course, one possible victim of this temporary purging of tasks and responsibilities could be this very Gamecraft blog.  For the moment, I find writing about game development and related issues to be beneficial to my focus and positive attitude, but if my next post is the last for a year, so be it.

We must use time creatively — and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

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