Small Victories

As you read this, I won that post. What do I mean, you ask? Well, I believe life is about winning. Whether it's a game, money, fame, a heart... we all want to succeed.

But all these goals we think about on a daily basis are the mid/long term ones. We ignore the small ones, like eating, being at work on time, buying the groceries, or even taking a shower. These are unconscious, or routine, goals.

And every time we complete these goals, we win. You're hungry, you cook, you eat, you're not hungry anymore, you won. That simple.

Think about all the little goals you've accomplished today, and compare that to the things you failed. I bet you had more victories than losses.

I know this is a candid way of seeing things. But seeing victories in even the small tasks nurtures a positive mindset. It's also fun. And I don't know about you, but I like having fun. And I just won that post. Boom!

I Don't Have Time For The Lazies

For the past couple of years, I have been contacted around twice a week by recruiters. Most of the time from LinkedIn. I rank them in three categories.

  1. The lazies - They just send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. I ignore them, even when sometimes they make the effort of adding a custom message instead of just leaving the default one.
  2. The average - They send me a message from LinkedIn before trying to connect. Usually they give details about the position they're trying to fill in. I answer them, sometimes after several weeks, but I make the effort to answer them, because they took the time to write a message, even though it may be a canned message.
  3. The good ones - They send me an email to my personal address. That means they've done their job and tried to find more about me than just what's on LinkedIn. I usually answer them within a day or two.

It's not very hard to land on my site and find my email address. Yet, I'm shocked that very few recruiters send me an email instead of going through LinkedIn.

There's a shortage of iOS developers, so you would assume that recruiters would try to do their best to attract them by doing a minimum of research. But no... most of them are lazy and just send an invitation to connect. I don't have time for the lazies.

Rumours

Friend: Hey Oli, what do you think about that team acquiring that player?
Me: Is it official or rumours?
Friend: Rumours.
Me: Then I don't care.

I don't care about hypothesis, I care about facts. I don't have time to speculate on rumours, I'd rather spend my time writing.

I Have No Clue What's Going On

Let's get back about fifteen years ago. I was watching the half-hour newscast on TV, waiting to see the summary of a soccer game at the end of the broadcast. Five minutes in, bad news. Ten minutes in, bad news again. Twenty minutes in, more bad news. Twenty-five minutes in, sports should kick in, but guess what? Still more bad news. We reach the thirty minute mark and the show ends, nothing about sports. We went through thirty minutes of bad news, and no sports, not even any good news at all. I was pissed.

That night I decided to stop following the news. And over time, I became happier and more optimistic about everything.

At some point, I got back to following the news again. And you know what? My optimism started to fade out.

Three weeks ago I decided to cut the news again. Besides sports, I'm not reading the news online, I'm not watching the news on TV, I'm not listening to podcasts, I'm not reading RSS feeds, I'm not browsing my Twitter feed.

I have no clue what's going on, and it feels good. Really good.

You're Not Fun Anymore, Twitter

Hey Twitter! How's it going? I noticed you've become a great place to spread the word about inequalities, conflicts, unfairness, and so on. That's amazing and I believe this is your best achievement so far.

How about me? Well... all this increasing sharing of injustice is not what I'm looking for when I browse my feed. Not that I don't care about these, but I've always considered you as a fun place to hang out. You're not fun anymore, Twitter.

Yeah I know... I could follow different people... but I'm lazy, so I'm gonna stop browsing my feed and keep posting meaningless and fun things.

No hard feelings,
Olivier

I Had To Redesign The Site

It's always the same story. You start a new blog, write a couple posts, and for whatever reason stop at some point. Then you find all kinds of excuses to not write again. A popular one is that the site needs to be redesigned.

Yeah, right...

And guess what? That's exactly what happened here. For the past couple months, I've been itching to write again, but because it didn't look good on mobile, I believed I had to redesign the site before. Poor excuse, but I did it anyway.

See Better, Feel Better

I wore glasses for most of my life. When I was in elementary school, other kids made fun of me for the ’fancy’ glasses I wore, or because I didn’t look cool. As a teenager, I was classified as a geek, before being a geek was hip. I got used to those remarks and easy stereotypes. It hurt, but I got used to it.

My glasses were the first thing I looked for as I woke up. I couldn’t see much without them. If I placed them in a unusual spot the night before, say on the coffee table in the living room, it could be a challenge to find them. Other times I forgot to put them away as I was going in the shower. Those who wear glasses all day know what I’m talking about. Glasses become part of us.

Every now and then people asked me why I didn’t wear contacts. The idea of ’putting my finger in my eyes’ kinda scared me. I also believed that nature made me so that my vision wasn’t perfect, and I had to deal with it the most basic way, with glasses.

In the summer of 2010, I decided I needed new glasses. I used the same pair for 10 years, which is way too long, so I was due for new ones. But then the idea of laser eye surgery popped. I had heard a few people saying the operation is very common and easy. I started reading a bit more about it and got an appointment at a clinic for an evaluation. I was a good candidate for the surgery.

I had the surgery on September 21, 2010. 10 minutes later, I didn’t need glasses anymore. I remember sitting on my couch a couple hours later, being able to read the time on the cable box on the other side of the room, and laughing of joy, excited. That was the moment I realized what happened. The next days were like a game of trying to read everything, and gauging how far I was able to read and see things clearly.

This surgery has changed my life in many ways. I gained more confidence in myself. The glasses were a burden that I got rid of, I felt I wasn’t considered as a geek anymore, I could be anyone. Kinda like Clark Kent becoming Superman.

My Road Trip Break

A very good friend of mine got married on March 1st in Los Angeles. I thought it’d be cool to do a road trip to get there. My plan was to take the train down to New York City to visit my brother before renting a car and driving for seven days to Los Angeles. I’d then stay a couple days for the wedding and finally drive back to New York over another five days.

Everyone who I shared my plans with told me two things: “Wow! That’s awesome, I wish I could do the same some time” and, “round-trip! You’re crazy! That’s a lot of driving!” To me, doing this round-trip doubled the awesomeness; I love driving.

As I knew I’d spend 12 days driving the car alone, I expected to take the time to think and reflect on life and other random things. I also planned to listen to music the entire time, because that’s what you are supposed to do on a road trip.

Turns out, I ended up doing almost none of this. I just watched the road, hands on the wheel, cruise control on, looking out at the scenery here and there. I didn’t listen to any of the podcasts I wanted to catch up on and never had the epiphany I thought I’d have while reflecting on my life.

I’m a little disappointed about that. I say only a ‘little,’ because, nonetheless, I did learn a few lessons from that road trip. One is that it’s important to take breaks from your every day life. The past couple of years, I’ve been so busy that I stopped allocating free time in my schedule. That road trip showed me that I was due for a good break.

The Morning Coffee Experience

Grande no whip mocha. That’s my drink at Starbucks. I’m actually not a coffee fan (I don’t like bitterness); however, I appreciate it when mixed with sugar and chocolate. I’m also not used to caffeine, so even a small dose has a big effect on me. The amount of coffee in the mocha is enough to kick-start my day.

I usually stop by my local Starbucks on the way to work three to four times a week. There’s a coffee shop with a better reputation a few blocks away where they prepare coffee with great care, and their mocha is delicious. Nevertheless, I prefer the experience at Starbucks.

There’s something we tend to overlook: the people who work in coffee shops have more impact on the world than they think. The way our mornings start has a big influence on how our day turns out. The more snags you experience, the worst your day may be. A good day usually starts with a good drink that wakes you up and makes you feel alive.

However, a good drink is not enough. What I enjoy the most about my local Starbucks are the nice, short conversations and the smiles the employees share when they hand me my mocha. This makes the difference with the nearby famed coffee shop, where they are so serious about their ‘craft’ that there’s no talks and no smile.

Now think about this on a larger scale. If those small talks and smiles work for me, imagine what it does to thousands of others. Working at Starbucks may not be the fanciest job in the world, but I’m pretty sure the people who work in those coffeehouse chains have a greater influence on the world than we think.

Professional Writer

When I was 18, I almost went to university to get an English literature degree instead of studying programming. I wanted to learn languages and write well.

Fast forward to today, I write hundreds of words a day and I'm fluent in several languages. Not the same kind of writing and languages I pictured back in the day though.

I write code for a job, the audience are my co-workers who read it, and computers that generate apps out of it. The languages I use the most are called Objective-C, C, Ruby, and Javascript.

At the time I gave up on the idea to go to university, I wanted to write for a large audience about sports or a sci-fi novel. I haven't achieved any of this, but still, for the past 10 years, I've stayed in front of a computer writing... code.

It's only a month ago that I made the link between those early aspirations and my current situation. Sometimes you give something up and think it'll never show up again, only to later find out it never left.

I've recently started to write about sports, and learn Spanish. Interesting how things go in life.