For me (and others), the Year of the Rabbit was pretty crappy in a lot of ways. Don’t get me wrong… being alive surely beats the alternative (I presume). But, there are two faces to being alive: living and existing. I survived 2011. I existed, but I didn’t really do a lot of living. Because of this, I have decided that 2012 will not be a repeat of 2011.
Those who know me, know that I’m not really a fan of manifestos. I generally find them to be somewhat pompous and think that the time spent writing them could’ve almost always been better spent actually realizing the contents thereof. And yet, here I am writing one of my own.
On top of that, I find New Years resolutions to be less than useful for a variety of reasons. So, consider this the combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell of manifestos/resolutions. This is me, determining what and whom I want to become, starting in 2012, and publishing it for everyone to see, so that I might put myself at risk of incurring the manifesto nerd-rage of the entire internet, should I punk out. (Failure is an option. Quitting is not.)
My philosophy behind doing this is two-fold:
- I’m writing it because I need a clear picture.
- I’m publishing it because I want accountability.
In reading this, you may think that I’m talking to you (probably due, in no small part, to my ubiquitous use of the pronoun “you”). But I’m not. I’m me, giving me orders. If you should find this the least bit useful, cool. If not, cool. But please keep in mind that it wasn’t written for you.
And with that, I bring you… HackerHaus Manifesto 2012: Year of the Dragon Edition
Fear is irrelevant. “Hard” is a cop out. Figure out what you need to do and do it. I recently read the following: “Do what you need to do so you can do what you want to do.” I don’t know who wrote it, but there it is.
As much as possible, attempt to see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of others. Prove yourself wrong at every possible occasion and adjust accordingly.
Be less of a dick.
Work on recognizing when you intellectually, emotionally, and physically bully those who don’t deserve it (intentionally or not), and knock that shit off. (However, keep the power to intimidate in reserve, just in case someone actually does need it.) If someone asks for your opinion, dole it out sparingly. If they don’t, zip it. The motto: When in doubt, shut the fuck up.
Be more awesome.
This doesn’t mean “try harder to look cool to others.” This means “be the most awesome you you can be.” The idea is to become the person that you, not necessarily others, would find completely awesome to be around.
Take better care of yourself.
This extends to not only the physical, but spiritual, emotional, intellectual, nutritional, creative, and inquisitive realms as well.
Take better care of others.
Learn at least one new human language.
Chinese, German, Arabic, Korean, and Spanish are options. You don’t have to become fluent, nor do you have to have designs on traveling to a particular place. Just do it for the sake of doing it.
Work on the human languages you already speak.
English, French, Russian, and Japanese. You know your handwritten kanji blows, that your vocabulary is limited, that you’ve forgotten a lot of verb and grammar rules from Russian, and that your French has gone to crap. You know it. Now get to work.
Fail creatively. And often.
Create. Create more. Finish things. Spend more time with your guitar. Write music. Finish music. Record music. Let people hear that music. Write something. Realize creative endeavors. Creativity doesn’t mean shit if it remains trapped between your ears.
Finish school. Start school.
Finish and defend your masters thesis, then commit to a PhD program and beat it into submission.
Learn how to plan better.
Clean your damn house.
This goes for maintaining your yard, too, smart ass. Tackle tasks as they arise (before, if possible), not after they become monumental.
Get rid of unnecessary stuff.
Physical, emotional, mental, metaphorical.
Chop wood, carry water.
Do the practice, walk the walk, regardless of what the practice is. Whether it’s Budo, playing scales, learning new songs, reading research papers, writing research papers, or practicing kanji. Just shut up and do it.
Spend more time with your teachers and mentors.
And listen to them.
Get your shit together.
Look into the future career options you have been mulling over and start doing something concrete about it. You know damned well you want to travel, experience new cultures, and learn more languages. You’re not getting any younger… make it happen.
Spend more time with loved ones.
In the end, nothing in this world is more important. If the measure of a man is the quality of the people who choose to share their life with you, then you’re doing pretty damned well.