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The Super Mario Effect

I love Mark Rober. If somehow, you’ve never seen his work, he’s a former engineer turned YouTuber who makes all the engineering toys that we occasionally dream to dream.

Anyway, he has a fantastic TedX talk titled The Super Mario Effect. In it, he details how, if appropriately framed, learning can be fun and engaging. I originally wanted to write this as part of my article on choosing to believe in yourself, but I couldn’t find it! You should check it out below if you haven’t already seen it.

This talk is one of many that remind me that you’re never wasting time. You can take the skills you develop while playing to bigger and better things or simply relax, knowing that you’re learning to learn. Keep choosing to be more than the sum of your parts (and have fun!).

Progress Report: Hindsight Challenge

Hey everyone! I wanted to check in to let you know how things are going with my Hindsight Challenge and just blog a little. It helps that I’m counting this blurb toward my goal. Anyway, things are going – not well. I’m just getting into the second week of the challenge, and I’ve written… 2 posts (if I include the original Hindsight Challenge article). That said, this was the expected result, so at least I got that going for me.

So what’s happening? Well, thankfully, I’ve been dutifully planning for this moment and spent some time reflecting on my progress. The number one thing that’s lead to procrastination this week has been:

I’ll do it after <X>

As someone who has read a lot of self-help books, it’s funny to look back and see myself fall into the same traps that I’d immediately recognize for someone else. IDIAX (I’ll do it after <X>, or “I’ve done it again, <expletive>” for short), is probably one of the most common mistakes one will make when attempting to be more disciplined. Here are a few of my incidents of this that I can recall from the last week (yesterday):

  • I’ll work after my brother finishes his match
  • I’ll start once Kasumi falls asleep
  • I’m just going to finish the last 15 minutes of this YouTube video
  • I’ll start after I eat lunch
  • I’ll start after I eat dinner

There are two critical mistakes to this thinking. First, nothing has meaningfully changed from the time that I chose to begin procrastinating. It’s vital that I take a step back and reflect on this initial mistake and prevent it from happening again. Secondly, my ‘plan’ doesn’t account for nefarious, attention-grabbing nonsense that follows my start criteria. In the YouTube example, what happens at the end of the video? Advertisements about the next video I should watch appear everywhere, the search for a new video pops up, my friend sends me a message, Kasumi wants to play, the dog is hungry – the world conspires against me! And so the cycle repeats, and here I am.

What can I do?

I can certainly wallow in self-pity. I can also complain. I’ve got a lot of practice in both. That said, here’s how I’m getting through this:

  1. Reflecting on my mistakes.
  2. Do something immediately by blogging about the experience.
  3. Instead of IDIAX, convert my ending criteria to my reward. After I do it <X>. AIDIX.

This whole process has been weirdly self-referential, and there’s more than a few gaps in the timeline, but if you’re reading this, then I’m already done. I also foresee some troubles with this plan, like, what is my reward going to be if I didn’t start procrastinating in the first place? Well, that’s a problem (blog) for future Kip. For now, I’m writing (as I choose to!) and getting through my next posting. Three down, 47 to go. Hey! Things are looking better already! >Σ