On Leadership and Screw Ups

I dived into my first actual leadership role recently. One that I put myself forward for willingly. I ran my local fighitng game scene’s tournament for the first time as the previous head honcho has left Cork with his sights set on Japan. Now, let it be known, I’ve never really had a proper leadership role before this. As the introverted type, I was usually looked over in favor of the loud mouth extraverts. So this was the first time I could actually do a leadership role and see what it would do for me.

Naturally as I’d never done anything like this before, I knew before I even started that I would screw something up. The fact of the matter is, perfection is impossible. Anyone who thinks they can get things right for the first time is delusional and probably hasn’t experinced what life yet. This was a good atitude for me to have anyway as made any screw ups I made less bothersome for me.

The Inevitable Screw Ups

Back to the tournament, I arrived in Cork last Saturday at the venue all the other tournaments have being held to find no one there. Uh oh , I thought. This isn’t a good sign. I decide to proceed as planned anyway. Eventually, a few people turn up. Well, actually, only seven people ( myself included ) turn up. FUCK. Now, I’m scared. In my panic, I take someone else’s view too quickly and decide to only do casuals.

This could have being a MAJOR screw up on my part if it wasn’t for a friend of mine who there who pointed out to me that taking money and not running a tournament would be the fastest way to piss people off and ruin the tournaments reputation as well as my own. I realized he was right and decided to run a smaller tournament anyway.

What could have being a total diaster turned out OK in the end, with some good games and a pretty funny moment in a match being caught on camera.

What I learned

I had already accepted the fact that I was gonna screw things up my first time running things and I did, including one that could have being really bad had someone not caught it. Now that I’ve gotten the first time screw ups out of the way, I am now less likely to repeat them in future and will be more confident running the next event.

I also learned the value of friends; The guy who pointed out that taking money and NOT running something due to a low turnout was a BAD idea was my savior. I am greatful for him for making me feel uncomfortable… the kind of uncomfortable that you get when you realized you’re making a big mistake and have to rectify it. You could say he was a bit more proactive than I was but like I said, I now have a better idea how to run things.

Lastly and this is kind of irrelvant – We need a different venue – the current one is too expensive. Given the low turn out, it’s not economically viable to keep running the event at the same place!

Screwing Up is OK

The point of this story is that in life, we will ALL screw up at some point or another. These could be little screw ups or big ones. The fact is there WILL happen, there isn’t much we can do about it. Instead, we should accept them when they happen and not beat ourselves up over them. Instead, we should strive to find the lesson from the screw ups and then insure that we don’t do them again.
I’ve screwed up a hell a lot in life, not just last weekend. Those screw ups, while some may have being diasterous at the time, didn’t kill me and I’m still here today, generally all the better as a result of them.

When it comes to life, you should take any screw ups that come your way as an oppurtunity to learn and get know yourself better. There is no point in moping around feeling sorry for yourself over a mistake or screw up you made. Mourn them if you most but also remember to move on from them afterwards.

Life is full of these kinds of screw ups, it’s up to you how you’ll react to them.

Over To You

And now, I’m opening up it to you, the reader. What times have you screwed up? Do it do any serious harm? What lessons did you learn from it?

Failure & Success

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, I know that. The reason being, apart from me completely running out of ideas, I also kind of fell flat on my face in the past 6 weeks or so. It wasn’t a pretty site to behold, if you ask me and it’s only the past week or so that I feel I am getting back up onto my feet again.

Unfortunately, as a result, I have some bad news to report. I have already written about how I broke the year of no drinking thing. Yeah, things went to crap afterwards. It was a bit messy ( no, I haven’t turned into an hopeless alcoholic but still. ) I guess I was too ambitious with the time scale I had set myself. Well, I can least say I went 3 months without drinking, even though it’s a bit of a cop out.

So yeah, it’s being a bit of a failure.. hence one where I was aware of making the choice and as I wrote in my previous post, worrying about letting my audience down too much is a bad sign and is almost peer pressure in itself ( not saying it’s a bad thing unless it starts effecting you negatively. )

On that note, I’ve also got another failure on my part to report. Damn, this is like a double whammy and is making me out to be someone who can’t succeed at anything! Anyway, this failure concerns my fighting games hobby. Yeah, I failed to win a tournament and May is almost over. Hell, I haven’t managed to get past group stages in any tournament this year! What the hell is wrong with me!? Then again, there is only so much online play can do as I live no where close to someone who plays these games like I do. That in turn means practice isn’t as practical as it should be and I just get bored of beating up a dummy in training mode.

Maybe I’m just not meant to be hyper-competitive. I’m more content to hang in the background with the community. On that note, I’m actually going to be running the local tournaments myself for a while as the guy who has ran them to this point is leaving Ireland soon. That in itself will pose some interesting challenges for me. Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to win. I followed up and asked others what I did wrong that caused me to lose at the last tournament so that I could improve in future.

However, I actually do have some good news to report; In less than 3 weeks, I will be doing my Stage 10 speech in my local Toastmasters club, thereby completing the Competent Communicator manual and achieving certification as a Competent Communicator 😀 I won’t say any more about that until then but it’s a big deal for me, considering I’ve being doing a speech practically every month since last September ( not including the speech competitions and the time I went to the fond-raising Speakathon event in Marymount Hospice ) I’m pretty burnt out in that department! Well, all I need to do is one more and I’ll be done with the CC manual!

As for Australia, things are still going to plan. Just slowly saving for up towards it. As long as the Euro doesn’t go to crap before I leave, I’ll be fine. Looking forward to it, being honest and it won’t be that long coming!

So that’s an update on me. As the future of this blog, I’m not sure. I’ll keep things up to date but I can’t promise anything. I’ll need to rethink a few things, though. Till then, keep up with whatever good you’re doing!

Reverse Peer Pressure ( Or Why I Drank Last Weekend )

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an annoucement to make: I broke my no year without drinking this weekend just gone and to be quite honest, I’m not all too bothered that I did.

‘ But Adrian! How could you!? You were determined to go through with this!? What happened!? You’re such a cop – out! Traitor! ‘ OK, calm down. This post is to explain my reason why I decided to break it. It ends up being a bit more complex than me just deciding to ‘ screw it, let’s get drunk! ‘

Anyway, as you know, I am fighting game player. This weekend just gone ( 13th – 15th April ) I was in Dublin to partipate in the biggest fighting game tournament of the year in Ireland. Now, I had actually said that I intended not to drink while I was up there and was determined to stick to my guns. However, something can up that took my surprise and caused me to changed to my mind.

I was in the Irish Fighting Game Community chat room a last week and the topic about the weekend came up. I mentioned that I was intending to stay off the booze and when asked why, I explained that it was a personal goal and that I had an audience that I didn’t want to let down if I did drink.

However, what took me by surprise is the fact that while it’s not clear what exactly was said but what was spoken of got me seriously thinking about it to the point I had to braindstorm and do some journalling about it. The conclusion I came to was that it was in fact, a form of peer pressure I was under.

This isn’t the classic direct peer pressure. It was more subtle than that. I felt that if I broke this challenge, I would have let my audience down. HOWEVER, at the same time, I also felt if I stuck to my guns too rigidly, than I might not enjoy the night out and that I would end up feeling sorry for myself. You see, I’ve had problems with being too stubborn in the past and when I was journalling all this, some words of wisdom that a friend from secondary school echoed through my head in regards to my stubborn, rigid nature: ‘ Adrian, there is no point is staying at home all the time, feeling sorry for yourself. ‘

Another fact is that I probably won’t be up in Dublin again before I go to Oz so that could be the last time I see many of those guys before I leave – which also added the idea in that what would be point in being a party popper just for the sake of a goal that in reality, not many people know about? Why should I feel like I am making myself suffer for the sake of what is really a personal goal?

Also an aspect worth noting is that from my journalling, my fear of letting down the audience also led me to rather alarming conclusion: I didn’t want to let anyone down because I was afriad of offending someone! That is what it boiled down to! I was scared someone would take offence! This floored me and helped me realize that I wasn’t making my own decisions, I was letting others ( however indirectly ) make my decisions for me and I was to be frank… rather angry with myself at that.

In fact, my fear of offending others effects other areas of my life. Be it that I don’t want to chat up those girls, I might end up offending them with my advances, I can’t say no to something otherwise I’ll offend the person / people who asked me. Basically, I was a doormat and a yes man and that wasn’t pretty at all, to say the least.

Now granted, I did not make this decision lightly or spontaneously. I thought this over and decided to make an exception for the weekend just gone. I plan on being dry for the rest of the year now. It’s good to know that something good came from all this from me personally. I know myself better and am now becoming more unoffendable and that, if you ask me, is a good thing.

Toastmasters – My Prospective

I have used some of the text that was Toastmaster speeches in some posts on this blog but some of you may be wondering ‘ What the hell is Toastmasters!? Is it something where people make toasts!? ‘ That is what I thought myself when I first heard about it when I was 20! More seriously, though. Toastmasters is according to the official website;

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

So the general gist is that Toastmasters is about making people better public speakers and leaders. What motivated me to join? Well, the big reason for me was to help me come out of my shell as I believed that by doing this would have a knock on effect in other areas of my life. That and given the current economic climate, I needed something to keep me sane while I save my for upcoming travel adventures!

I have being in Toastmasters for just under a year now, having officially joined last May ( 2011. ) I gave my first speech in June just before the summer break. I then gave my second speech the first meeting back in August and since then, have being doing one speech a month at least since then as a goal I set for myself was to complete the Competent Communicator ( CC ) manual by the end of the current season. I will be doing stage 8 out of 10 this week. I guess I started a momentum and just didn’t stop.

As for my experience so far. It’s being of great benefit to me. Even between speeches, I have made a lot of progress – from bumbling and apologizing to being able to quite confidently speak in front of an audience and I’m not even done the CC manual yet. I have also met some great people, all of whom are there to help me and guide me along the way, a favour I hope I am returning to people who have joined the club since I did.

I’ve also noticed it having some knock on effects in other areas of my life. I feel like I want to be more honest, more expressive about things. Before, I was more reserved. Now, not so much. I also feel I that I’ve have some talent for theatrics that I haven’t tapped because frankly, they were ignored because I simply never got the chance to really shine with them. Maybe acting is something I should look into?

So, should you join Toastmasters? Well, if you are looking for something that will help boost you’re confidence and open you’re mind, then it is definitely something you should look into. I don’t regret joining so what is stopping you? Just look for Toastmasters meetings in your area and just go ( I went to first meeting literally within an hour of looking the details about my local club online. ) You won’t regret it, promise. 🙂

I’m Clueless

To be brutally honest, I can be clueless at the best of times. You can say that life is like an improvisation. You make up as you go along, hoping for the best. The reality is we generally have no idea what we are doing.

Is this a bad thing? Not really. Being clueless means we have to seek solutions to our problems so that we’ll be less clueless next time. I know I’m less clueless on many things than what I was even last year. I’m still clueless in many things and will just improvise my way through things to make myself less clueless.

That is life, so they say. Be clueless, it’s more adventourous.

Staying True to My Theme of 2012

I’ve being slacking off lately, I admit this ( well, I DID say that the release Street Fighter X Tekken would effect my posts here for a while ) I’m still nowhere near wanting to wake up at 7am in the morning ( maybe I was being too ambitious with that goal perhaps? ) and other things, like saving for Oz, have slowed down a bit unfortunately.

However, I can that maybe the last few months were meant as a peroid where I was germinating internally. Who knows, I’m the type of person who takes some time to come around but when I do, the progress can be remarkable in a very short peroid of time. For example, If I was given a 6 week project, you can count on me making slow progress until week 4, after that, you will see my productactivity sky rocket which will result in me finishing the project on time.

So, there are a few things in the pipeline but generally speaking, I am doing my best to stay true to my theme for 2012 which is Upsetting the Status Quo. It’s kind of funny really, I could do nothing for ages but then something comes along and causes massive changes with something as simple as pressing the ‘ return ‘ key on my laptop ( I’ll elaborate on this in a future post. )

As for the whole no drinking thing, I’ve managed to stay true to myself and my goal of a drink free 2012 by NOT drinking at all this St Patrick’s weekend just gone. To be honest, I feel like I wasn’t really missing out on much anyway. For one thing, the bars I was in were in absolute chaos, even though I left early as I was sick of it at that stage. Then there was the amount of litter and broken glass strewn around the town. Yeah, I’m glad I didn’t do anything like ( hell, even when I DID drink, St Patrick’s Day was nowhere near this messy for me. )

I guess I can say that changes are happening slowly and maybe it was just the fact that Winter is over and Spring is here now so maybe things will pick up a pace a little. However, I will to those who are in a similar position to me in regards to change and are not happy with thier progress: Don’t sweat it, people grow at different rates, your day in the sun will come.

The Year of No Drinking – First Report

Well, we are now in March and it has being just over 2 months since my last drink on New Years Eve. I’d thought I’d give a report on my progress and on what has changed.

I a still going strong, I’m glad to report, though there were a few times where I was tempted but I keep this place in mind, I simply do not want to report that I’ve let people down which is stengthening my resolve in this regard.

It isn’t easy though. For one thing, getting plastered is the default thing many people do at weekends ( be it at home or at the bar ) and aside from that, there are not really many socail oppurtunities. I did go out once since, not drinking of course and it was a crap night. I’ve enjoyed myself sober in the past but I’m now noticing that even the smell of certain alcoholic drinks is digusting me.

Them, connected to my goal of going to Oz later this year, I’ve become a bit of a hermit. In other words, I haven’t being out in a socail setting much. It kind of sucks but the payoff will be worth it in the end ( I hope! ) For now, I’m just keeping myself occuppied with online gaming and the fighting game community ( on that, a word of warning, Street Fighter X Tekken is coming out this week, this will probably effect my posts here for a while! )

Good thing there are still tournaments being run but I feel so much could be done than what currently is being done. I wish for something more progressive, maybe I should take it as a means to innovate more.

Regardless, I’m still saving a lot of money and am slowly working towards my goals. It’s slow but I am getting there and I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to entertain no drinking for the rest of the year as well.

People Who Inspire Me – Niall Doherty

No Self Promo ChallengeThis post is a part of a series of posts I will be making every Thursday for the month of February as my contribution to the No Self Promo Challenge. Despite the title, we can decide our level of involvement. As part of my contribution, I decided to write a series of posts about people who inspire me or have otherwise have a positive impact on me and I feel more people should be made aware of.

Well, this is one person who needs no introduction but I am going to give him one anyway. Niall Doherty is the person behind Disrupting the Rabblement. Niall, unlike so many other people, actually got to live his dream, which was to go to New Orleans and be able to report on his favourite Basketball team, the New Orleans Hornets. He would eventually earning a media pass and all the benefits attached to it owing to his work on a fan site he had created.

Having lived this dream, he has since moved onto a new one: Lifestyle Design. Now, I used that term loosely as ‘ Lifestyle Design ‘ can mean anything you want. Though there is one universal theme that goes with it: Abandoning the standard life mindset and living life on your own terms.

Niall has done, and continues to do this in droves. He is a vegan ( though not of the lecturing ‘ oh, meat is bad, save the animals, man! ‘ type ) recently finished a year long stint of no drinking and has decided he doesn’t need to drink ever again ( which served as inspiration for my own year of no drinking challenge. )

At time of writing this, he is on a round the world trip without flying and is about to enter Iran in order to get to India. Many people are worried that he might end up in harms way and get hurt or killed, be he seems all right with this.

Niall has also shown that is more than willing to stretch his comfort zone, having done a series of challenges called ‘ Random Acts of Courage ‘ in early 2011. The idea being that he would have much stronger courage muscles by the time he was through the week of challenges.

Niall is also not afraid to call out others. As I detailed late last year, I got called out in one of this blog posts, which prompted me to respond immediately and also showed me that he is not messing around and is for real! This is something that I like very much.

This is Niall Doherty and he inspires me to break through my comfort zone, challenge myself and make myself a better person.

Me & Niall after meeting in Cork last September ( 2011 )

Me & Niall meeting up in Cork last September ( 2011 )

My Name Is Adrian And These Are Some Of My Vulnerabilities.

Your's Truly

Since I started this blog, I haven’t really spoken much about me. I have spoken of some of my experiences, some of my ideas, shared my goals that I want from life but one thing I haven’t really spoken of is what makes me… well me. I’m not invincible, I’m quite vulnerable, actually.

The following post, I wish to share some of my vulnerabilities. Some of these things I have no problem with sharing, while others make feel really uneasy about sharing them BUT I feel like I should so that people to get to know the REAL me, not the fake mask I wear most of the time to protect myself from being hurt.

I have never had a girlfriend.

I am 25 years old at the time of writing this and I have never had a girlfriend of any real sort ( any loose exceptions were really just people fucking with me. ) I’ve never had sex and being brutally honest, I don’t see this changing any time soon. Why? You might ask. It’s simple: I feel that most ( emphasising MOST here ) girls where I live are just not simply worth my time. This could be for various reasons be it that I am not attracted to them, they ARE attractive but they have the personality of a donkey and / or already taken by someone else.

I don’t mean to be fussy or anything, I simply just want to find someone who likes for me for who I am, not because I’m not the most handsome guy in the world, make the most money, etc. I feel that this girl simply does not exist for me in Ireland. For my own reasons, I’ve always felt incompatible with Irish culture, with it’s work all the hours god sends you and then go and get drunk to forget about your problems type of thing. Now, I know I am generalising but I am pretty sure this is true for the vast majority of people I know.

Of course, I’ve had numerous crushes over the years but nothing really came out of them, mainly because I was too scared to act. It was kind of creepy the way I acted around girls I liked when I was younger, practically stalking them because I didn’t know what else to do. It was only when I did this to someone in my class group and the whole thing blew up and became a massive mess for me that I snapped out of it. However, instead of following them, I did… nothing instead.

It’s something I am still working on and I feel that something…. I don’t what, is mentally blocking from going any further with girls I actually am interested in. I don’t why this is happening, is it because I am afraid of getting hurt? Then again, my first experience with trying to meet a girl ended in me getting ice thrown into my face! If that isn’t traumatising, then I don’t know what is. It’s something I need to figure out, though and overcome it because, believe it or not, I actually do want to know what actual love is and while I’m still young as well!

I procrastinate

I freely admit that I procrastinate way more than I should, wasting entire days on the computer on the internet, mainly because I feel where I live offers me virtually nothing of interest. I constantly get lectured for sleeping in late during the day but I wish I could answer back ‘ If that’s the case, tell me what there is for me to do!? ‘

More often than not, when I do ask, I usually got work shoved in my way, like doing the garden or painting the house, all the while others being smart about it and going ‘ Oh, isn’t this better than being on the computer all day!? ‘ That type of smart ass approach to me is one of the reasons I don’t like doing things for other people. Why? It doesn’t benefit me AT ALL. It makes me more resentful of them in fact. They see that my time is worth nothing and so treat it as such.
‘ Why don’t you get a job? ‘ That is all well and good but this is one serious problem – virtually everywhere I’ve ever submitted a CV to has never even bothered to call me back! As a result of this, I’ve never had any form of proper job since I was 18! The main reason I’m probably so slow is because I simply got exploited and treated like a fool by the job I did have. I won’t go into my reasons why but it coloured my view of things quite badly.

As for my list of things to do, I still go for daily walks most days but haven’t really touched a sketchpad in a while and I am slowly saving up my money to leave for Australia later this year. My year of no drinking is going good as well, too. I need to up my game, truly and honestly. I’m a bit of wreck right now and I know it and I WILL find a way through it.

And now for the reason I even considered making this post, this one is kind of hard for me to admit but after seeing several people come out with their insecurities and vulnerabilities on Niall Doherty’s blog, this one is pale in comparison to some of the things people spoke of there. That said, I’m still rather embarrassed to admit this.

I’ve got a crush on a video game character

There, I said it, you have no idea how much procrastination and hesitation I had to go through just to type that line. This exposes quite a few things about me, namely that I’m an introvert and that in spite of appearances, I am actually a giant nerd. Well, that is exaggerating a little but I do have nerdish tendencies, I just feel I can’t freely express them where I am in life right now for fear of ridicule.

Anyway, seeing that I got that out of the way, I might as well as say who it is. It’s actually quite honest anyway – It’s a character called Pyrrah from a game called Soul Calibur 5 ( a fighting game, a damn fun one at that as well. No prizes for guessing what character I play! ) I’m sorry but looking from the image below, I’m pretty sure some of you will admit ‘ Yeah, she IS cute alright. ‘

Come on, admit it. She's cute, isn't she?

The thing is, this has brought home several things, my lack of success with women and to be brutally honest, the piss poor quality of women in my area. This is one of the reasons I want to leave so bad – If I stay, I do not stand a chance in finding someone. I mean seriously, if I end up developing a crush on a freaking video game character, then something is seriously lacking.

However, I have to remind myself that I am NOT a special case. Indeed, consider the fact that people will develop crushes, even fall in love with – celebrities in the media. People who generally speaking, they have no hope in hell of ever meeting and even if they did, they would NOT be like the person they have imagined. Given all the paparazzi you get around celebrities anyway then you will know that they too are human, not some mythological creature. Why should be any different? ( That and there are countless others who have crushes on video game characters too, I know this. )

Right, I know this was a pretty self – centred post but there you have it, you know me a little bit better and have shown that I am indeed human. I am flawed, I am not perfect. I don’t want people to think otherwise. If I inspire you, I’m glad I do but please, don’t worship me like some sort of god. I am only human, I am a flawed and am working my way through life the best I can.

People Who Inspire Me: Jonathan Paula

No Self Promo ChallengeThis post is a part of a series of posts I will be making every Thursday for the month of February as my contribution to the No Self Promo Challenge. Despite the title, we can decide our level of involvement. As part of my contribution, I decided to write a series of posts about people who inspire me or have otherwise have a positive impact on me and I feel more people should be made aware of.

Jonathan Paula is the owner of a film making company called Jogwheel Productions ( formerly known as IDEO Productions. ) Well, its not really a film making company in the traditional sense, this company generally does its core work on the video website Youtube, from which it is also best known for.

Shows produced for Youtube include ‘ Roller-coaster Commutation, ‘ ‘ Movie Night ‘ ‘ 3 Steps to Success ‘ as well as what drew me to them in the first place ‘ Is It a Good Idea To Microwave This? ‘ Which is exactly what it says on the tin and has had over 300 episodes over the course of 10+ ‘ Seasons ‘ on Youtube.

What makes Jon unique from many other top Youtubers is the fact that he is actually a professional video editor. He actually went to college to do this kind of thing and worked hard to get to where he is today, unlike many others who kind of fell into the whole Youtube thing. Production values have generally remained consistent within content Jon has produced over the years ( main difference is the videos are now in HD. ) Many other Youtubers have suffered because their content has become too artificial and over-produced.

He is also willing to share stories with people by vlogging about them. Many times, it can be Jon talking about a simple news story, other times. It is Jon, his friends, his wife and / or others going on trips and other various adventures.

Jon seems like a down to earth guy, who is professional and does not tolerate bullshit, constantly having to lecture and complain about Youtube’s lack of efficiency at times. Not that he can be blamed, it is after all, a major source of income for him. I’d be giving out too if my main income stream was screwing things up for me.

Jon is also willing to share behind the scenes look at how he works, often posting streams of him editing a show together, asking fans on Facebook and Twitter for feedback on how to present something.

This is Jonathan Paula and he inspires me because he’s shows that it is possible to succeed with hard work and dedication.