I aimed for the impossible, not because I chose, but because I did not know any other way.
I constantly worried about my performance. I wanted foolproof plans that worked, but people always spoiled the plans by not doing what they are supposed to do. But I continued to try my best to continue. Seeing this, other people said that I was “stubborn” – obsessed with my thinking and plans.
I was upset with my critics, especially those who say I was stubborn. They only seemed intent to stop me and demolish my creations without offering me any positive alternatives. Their futile efforts only made me more determined to double my efforts and prove them all wrong.
Today, I would say that their criticism does have a point. However, the way they presented their criticism was unsuitable for me. Hence, I made it a point to avoid their mistakes. When I encounter someone like me, I now make it a point to explain not only what is impossible, but how it might be possible. I also pointed out the weak and negative aspects of ideas together with how to focus on and emphasize the positive aspects.
If someone told me about the concepts below when I was a child, I might have avoided much trouble and frustration:
- Clarify my intentions before starting
- Build my creations on what already works
- Understand the idea of personal selfishness among all people
- Do what works rather than what is ideal
These are the basic concepts to making things happen in the physical world. Amazingly, people never taught me that in an obvious way. They merely implied these and expected me to fill in the blanks.
I improved my plans with these 4 steps:
1) Clarify my intentions before starting
“What do you want to achieve?” This is important, yet difficult to answer. Many people are under the delusion that they want something when they really desire another. To clarify, I might ask: “If God were to grant you a wish, what would like most?” Knowing my own intentions means that my plans and ideas will not conflict with my true desires.
2) Base my creations on what already works
This is the #1 teaching I found out the hard way. It took me so long because it ran counter to what I read about creativity and thinking out of the box. A plan built on proven parts is much easier to accomplish and gain approval from other people. People without experience may make the mistake of building a system with mostly unproven parts, making failure very likely. Even nature must keep creativity (e.g. genetic mutations) in check.
3) Understand the idea of personal selfishness among all people
This was hard for me to accept. When I was a child, my mother kept telling me that people are selfish and I was equally vigorous in denying this because it does not make sense to me. Around 2007, I suddenly realized that I behaved selfishly too. For instance, I shopped to buy things for personal reasons, not because I wished to help supermarkets stay in business. I visited websites because they have funny jokes or interesting information, not because I wanted to generate more revenue for the web hosting companies.
A total inner revolution resulted. So what if I was a unique autistic with an intriguing story? People will only support me if they find my work useful or helpful to their personal lives. Making my work relevant became a key principle in my life.
4) Do what works rather than what is ideal
I wanted the world to conform to my ideals. I wanted the world to know that I can do something better than everyone else. I wanted to follow the instructions to the letter. Unfortunately, many things in life do not work this way. Imperfection, delays and mistakes are so common that people have to compromise on building something good enough, fast enough and nice enough rather than something perfect. It takes tremendous courage and wisdom to focus on the practical rather than the ideal.