Inner Motivation – Why I Do What I Do
Note: This article is definitely in one of my top 2010 posts of the year, guaranteed. I hope you enjoyed reading it while I did writing it! – Versatile
3-23-10: Initial teaser release.
3-24-10: Finished the rest of the article. Did you even try to predict what I was going to write about?
Today I logged onto MSN and saw a user left me a very thoughtful yet provocative message. I am going to write it down here below for all to see:
“Why do you help everybody? How do you do it? Why do you do it? What purpose? It’s been boggling my mind, and I can’t figure out why.”
To those that know me, you know I am a very busy man. Not only am I a true working professional, I run a blog (two of them actually), a youtube account, in the midst of finishing up a book, and now working on the UCC. Why do it all? Don’t you realize how time consuming it is to do all these tasks? I don’t get paid for any of this, and sure you can say I do this for fun, but why? Why do I do what I do? :0
Sleep on it, and come back tomorrow to find out the truth, because I am sick of telling people over and over what I do and why I do it. I think the answer may (or may not) surprise you.
The Time to Stall For Time Has Ended. What’s Your Answer, Versatile?
I’m not really sure as to how I write this, because this is a very deep question, and I have to pull deep within myself to come up with a sincere, yet honest answer.
To many people from the outside, the answer may sound very simple.
Person A: Oh, he does it because he wants the attention.
Person B: No, he does what he does because he loves this kind of work.
Person C: I am a blog author like Versatile, and I think he does it for all the same reasons that I do for my own website.
Person D: I think Versatile is doing it because he knows he can make a difference in this world, despite how large it is.
As I read the statements from the hypothetical people above (are they really hypothetical, or am I inserting real and fake conjectures to mess with your mind?), I have to say that I do agree to a certain point and to a certain level on all the statements above. Who knows, maybe you have your own guess last night thinking why I do what I do.
Now surprisingly, there are only two questions in this world that I have an elaborate answer to give. Two of those infamous questions are below:
1) What games do you play? (this is so open ended, don’t even try it)
2) Why do you do what you do? How do you keep up the stamina, the energy, and the passion to do all this incredible side work day after day, month after month, year after year?
Being that this post is only about question 2 and the teaser questions at the start of this article, I think its only best if we start from the beginning of time, and work my way to present day. Sound good?
Fun Trivia Fact: Versatile has written this post off the top of his head without any plans or outlining before the creation of this article. The amount of time spent to write today’s edition will be posted below. Make a guess how long this article took to write, and then at the end of the article see if you are correct. No frickin’ cheating!
The Wonder Years
When I was a boy, I was instilled to greatness. To many, this sounds cliche, but let’s say I am very grateful to be born into a loving family. My family is very strong, and is not broken, unlike other people that I know today that are part of broken homes, divorces, step parents, and the whole gamut of the game of life.
As I grew up, I was lucky that my father was working in a job that enabled him to have a connection to computers. In fact, my first computer was back in the early 90’s, and when I was about 8 I had learned how to use DOS 6.0 and navigate through the DOS world. I grew up using Microsoft Windows 3.11, and I had the opportunity to saves files to both 5.25″ and 3.25″ floppy disks. Kids that are born within the last five years will have no idea what I am talking about. Zip drives anybody? Mini CD-Rs? My thoughts exactly.
My father showed me the light and told me the importance of school and education. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, but you know what? That’s OK! Don’t even try to grow up too fast, because you will really miss the younger years. If you are a teenager or still relatively “young”, I ask you to enjoy each day to its fullest, because each day that passes is one day closer to your death. I’m sorry, I had to say it because this is the paradox of life.
Anyway, as I grew up, I did a lot of reading. I read a lot of different books, from non-fiction, fiction, sci-fi, Reader’s Digest, and so on and so forth. It would not be surprising to find me on a Sunday morning waking up at 7am to pick up the book near my bedside and just read for 4 hours straight before having to get ready for Church. This is how much I loved reading back then, and by reading you are learning.
What Can You Learn From Reading?
This is a funny question, isn’t it? Much of what we can do to improve ourselves is through the written word. Think about it. Self-help books help us learn certain topics. When we go to school, we have textbooks. Teachers write on the chalkboard, and guess what? This is a form of reading!
As you read a lot of different subject material, you not only increase your knowledge base of “random” topics, but you also become more aware of what is going on in the world, as well as increasing your vocabulary. As a child, and throughout middle school, I kept up my reading degree. I learnt how to use a dictionary, and looked up words that I knew. It would be no surprise that somewhere around 4th grade is when I started to develop my writing talent.
I would often try to use “large” words that I had gathered from my readings and try to incorporate into my school story homework assignments. The coolest gadget of my younger years was using an electronic dictionary. This allowed me to listen to the machine to pronounce words, as well as look up definitions of words on the fly. The days of the paperback dictionary was over!
In middle school, this is when I started to do a lot of essay writing and doing research topics. In a way, you might think that research papers suck, and in many ways they do. However, we need to think in a new perspective, and in a new light.
In retrospect, writing all those research papers has helped you pick up some key skills along the way that will forever be with you in life. Sure, writing up the papers at the time may not seem like life helping lessons, but now as I write this article reflecting I can assure you that those papers were darn useful.
By writing the research papers (or essays in general), you had to go to the library and look up topics either it was from a book, encyclopedia, or even the Internet (if you were so blessed to have the Internet back then). I was one of the top students who knew the library system like the best of my own hand, and I could at the time tell you based off the Dewey Decimal System what categories or genres would be found in what number section.
Anyway, through reading I was able to learn how authors tell their ideas clearly, and concisely. It was only a matter of time before I absorbed the method of how these writers wrote these books and incorporated it into my own writings.
Also, I want to say maybe starting around 3rd grade is when I started my journey of never missing a day of school. This meant I was never sick, and never skipped a day intentionally. If I missed school because of an official snow day, then I stayed home, but otherwise I would always do my best to get to school. The revelation of this will be relayed later in my story here.
High School Era
High school is when I started to become more serious in my studies. My high school brought in 3 or 4 different communities and my school was always succumbed to high school overcrowding each year. My county was the one where each year it asked the community for a tax hike to help build additions onto the high school to relieve the overcrowding. It was during these 4 years that I learnt the most about life and myself.
At the very get go, I engaged myself to participate in what I had called “Advanced” classes. My school at the time was weird, because we used a 5.0 GPA scale, not a 4.0 GPA scale. Nonetheless, if you took the advanced classes, and you got an “A” in that class, you get 6 points. If you took a non-advance class, then an “A” gives you 5.0 points. In the end, what this mean was at the end of the semester your advanced classes can get your GPA above the 5.0 scale. As an example, when I graduated high school, I had a 5.31/5.0 GPA. Of course, there was always the smart kid who got A’s in every single class so his score was like 5.6/5.0. Anyway, out of my class of 233 some Seniors, I was ranked number 31, which was not bad at all!
One of the things my dad used to say to me when I grew up was this: “Tell me who your friends are, and I can tell you who you are.” Any truth to that statement? I think so. During high school, I hung out with a tight group of guys and gals that were smart and intelligent to my level. Sometimes we try to pull in the even “smarter” kids into our study groups so we can learn from the best before the entire collective whole became the best in class (no pun intended).
Did this type of networking help with my intellectual curiosity? It sure did! By hanging out with these smart students, they had a high drive to succeed in their studies, and when you start getting good grades because of it, then the study smart habits become contagious.
At this same time, I remember my junior year where we had to write five different essays throughout the year, and naturally I got A’s on all of them. I honed my writing skills since middle school, and now it was paying off each year as I progressed through school. It was no surprise that in my junior year I picked this rather interesting research topic: “Napster – The Man Behind It and What It Did For the Music Industry. The Legality of Napster and It’s Courtcase”. Ok, it wasn’t exactly titled like that, but the research basically involved digging into the DMCA and learning about it as much as I could to write my paper on whether or not Napster is legal or illegal. Even back in 2001, this was a rough question to answer. Somehow, I did it and I got an “A” on that paper.
Remember earlier I had alluded to perfect attendance in third grade? Well, guess what guys. I maintained perfect attendance for 9 straight years. Now is that dedication or what? The funniest part was in senior year, there is an unofficial “senior ditch day”. Almost my entire senior class did it, but only a handful of seniors attended school that day (I’d say maybe about 20-30 students out of 230ish seniors). You can believe some of my teachers were pleasantly surprised to see me that day. Did it help with my grades at the end of year? I sure hope it did!
So you can see that even when I was young, I had a strong commitment and dedication to things that were important to me in life. This plays a strong message as we continue further in my journey.
I almost forgot, I was a huge supporter of after school activities. I participated in a lot of different clubs such as Key Club (a club about volunteering and helping out the community), National Honor Society, Tutoring Club, Math Club, and coincidentally computer club! It was here that I learned that life is not all about books.
It’s about mingling with other people, and making a difference in your community. I always had a smile on my face when I was able to help a student learn about algebra, and trust me, I was overly qualified as I was taking BC Calculus at the time. It was times like these that I discovered I enjoyed helping people for the sake of seeing them grow. Sure, I had a choice. I can go home early and play video games, or stay after school for an hour and help someone and be a hero? Hmm, that was an easy choice to figure out. At the very least, I figured the more people I help people in my life, the better God will be to me in the end (or Karma).
Trivia fact: I do have a few stories that I believed were miracles, but this is not the time to tell them unfortunately.
During the last year of high school, I had filled out a ton of scholarship forms and college applications. Granted, I got accepted to a few 4 year schools, but in the end I went to a community college that was 5 minute drive from my house. There I stayed at that community college for two years getting my Associates in Science.
At this particular school, you could be in the honors program if your GPA was between 3.5 and 4.0. Naturally, I took as many advanced courses as I could because as a student of these courses, you got the tuition waived! Learn from the best, stay in a class with some of the brightest pupils, and save some money? I was all in!
After I had graduated this community college, I then went to University of Illinios for 2.5 years and got a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Let’s just say that U of I is considered one of the top 5 Engineering schools year after year, and the EE program is the hardest on campus. If you want to study a field where you are up studying late on Friday nights, and doing work till 3 am every day, then Engineering is the way to go.
Getting 6 hours of sleep during the weekdays was a blessing, as most of the time I slept about 4-5 hours a night and it sucked pretty bad. Being that my college was a very diverse school, I had foreigners from almost every single country in my classes trying to break the curve. The Japanese and the Koreans are wickedly smart, and they crushed my grades. I was so happy if I got above average most of the time in my classes!
I’ve bored you guys long enough, but let’s just say that college was where I similarly found other people of my intellect and began my own study group. It was also at this time that I found people with similar interests about technology, and I started to grow my own horizons. I taught some of my friends some of my dark secrets, and they taught me theirs. Is this why the Underground exists? Perhaps.
When I graduated school, it was a great feeling because I received a job offer during my last semester. I could just focus on classes, while my friends had to jumble job interviews while studying for tests. I felt like I was walking on clouds at the time because my life was off to a good start. I graduated college with no loans, and zero debt. That is correct, no debt. It was a magnificient feeling because what had happened was each year I applied for scholarships that involved a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a solid educational background. By being the recipient of the scholarship year after year (yes, competition was fierce), my entire tuition for the whole year was waived (approximately 10 grand).
It cannot be done without having strong dedication, and perseverance. Each spring break I stayed home working on scholarship forms, and cleaning up my resume to make it easier for teachers to write a letter of recommendation for me. The letters are key because they will either help you or break you during the scholarship evaluating process. For those of you out there filling out scholarship forms, I highly encourage you to be active in your community, and try to be a round about person. Being a 100% bookworm is not going to get you to win anything.
Let’s Fast Forward To Present Day
So right now at the moment, I have these projects on my plate: The Underground Blog, TUG Blog, GameDexterity Youtube Account, The Underground E-Book, and now the newest project: The UCC. However, what I am not telling you is how much extra time I spend visiting other forums and making valuable contributions (Teknogods, Tunngle, Afterdawn, PSX-Scene, Lifehacker, and more) almost on a daily basis.
I have no need to tell you how the blog got started, because I wrote about it here. Please read it if you have not seen it already, as that is a good foundation as to how the Underground got started and a prelude to the rest of this article.
Now let’s stop for a moment and take a deep look: what do all these projects have in common?
Time consuming? Yes.
Generally a one-man project? Yes.
Requires commitment and dedication? Oh hell yes.
Trivia fact: Versatile can be known to spend more time on the blog, Youtube account, and other pet projects more so than himself, friends, family, or even work. He answers every single comment here on the blog and Youtube on a daily basis.
Do I get paid for any of this “holistic” contribution? Nope, not a single dime. No sponsor, no revenue. The only investment has been my time, and the payoff? What payoff? *smirks* Well, it depends on how you interpret the situation because everything in life is about perspectives, right?
Just for the record, I do have a real life. I have a family, friends, and a real professional job that pays me real well. I own a house, and my own car. The only thing left is to get married and start my own family. However, before I get there, I have things I want to do in my life before I wither and die. These projects are some of those life defining moments and I will briefly tell you how I got into the state that I am today.
Finally, the Truth Is Here!
How do I write what I want to write about without making it seem superficial and contrived? Easy, don’t write like that. :p
In all seriousness, the blog is what Chyea has coined as my “lovechild”. Naturally, this makes sense. It was purely my idea that I started years ago, and I am truly the only one who cares about it the most. While most authors who have graced this blog write an article here and there, I am there in the scenes in the background conjuring new articles and tutorials. Writing articles and good tutorials is not easy, and I”ll get to this point in a moment.
The blog in short was created because I was fed up with information. I was sick and tired of telling people over and over how to do a certain task. Maybe it was something with the computer and how to use WinZip. Maybe it was how to burn a simple audio CD. Or it could be even darker material where the mere mention of the subject my violate the WordPress TOS. LOL! (sounds like Harry Potter and don’t say the name of “Who You Know What”)
Finally, one day I said I had enough of this and I started up this blog. The goal was to create a portal of information where I can help the “average Joe” sharpen his computer skills. Empower him with information so that he can go onward improving his life, and that of others. When I have a friend who wants to know how to do to something, I redirect him to the blog. If my friends can benefit, why not share my knowledge with the rest of the world?
In a pessimistic state of mind, one would say “Oh Versatile, screw the world. I am going to keep my knowledge to myself, and not waste 10+ hours of my time writing on a silly blog and making up videos. Who has time for all that junk? Let’s go back to partying!”
Trivia fact: During the creation of this article, a brand spanking new Youtube video has been uploaded. Learn the power of multi-tasking.
Perspectives is a very important skill to have as it trains your mind to think differently. As I stated earlier, the main purpose of this blog is to help people. The real question is why? Why do I want to help you become better? I don’t benefit directly, do I?
I am just a guy who writes a blog on the Internet. I don’t know who you are personally (unless you are one of the honored few to talk in Skype/IM programs over the course of months), so why should I care if you benefit from this blog? Why do I bother making tutorials (text and video)?
The answer is simple. I do it because I love to help people. I want to see you succeed because there is something very satisfying in seeing someone grow. Throughout the process, when I help people, it is natural to see them help you in return. In a way, this blog has let me expand my networking skills to all around the Earth.
I have approximately 130 people on my Instant Messenger, all from people who added me over the course of time because of this blog or Youtube. I have talked to people from countries like Serbia, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Nigeria, Jamaica, and many more. How many people do you know from all over the world? My thoughts exactly.
My Youtube videos reach a lot of Asian countries. Apparently, a lot of them enjoy PS2 console modding for some unexplained reason. Everyday on the blog, I can expect 3-10 comments that I personally answer. Youtube is a different situation because of the varied amount of videos, I can expect to receive 5-15 comments a day, and 3-10 inbox messages. The amount of work increases on the weekends because more people are becoming more interactive due to more free time.
Answer comments is a lot of work, whether you believe it or not. Everyday when I get home from work, I spend about half an hour answering messages for the blog and Youtube. From an outside perspective, you might say “Bah, who has the time to do that?”. The answer? I do. I have the time because I am committed to my work. If I answer these people, they will become devout viewers and maybe they can learn something along the way. They can teach their friends so I don’t have to.
The whole Youtube thing was something that I started in summer of 2008 under the VersatileNinja account. I did it because it was just easier and faster to make a video about a very technical tutorial topic rather than try to write it up all the time in text form. The Youtube account went great, until about November of 2009 I got a very interesting proposition from a Youtube viewer who had asked me to join forces and create GameDexterity. The issue? I had to delete my own VersatileNinja account and start over from scratch.
I am sure I blogged about it, and I don’t have the time to write that story here. However, I made a recording of my account deletion in real time, and I think if you watch it, you will see how vulnerable the human spirit really is. I have embeded the video down below for those who are interested in seeing myself turn a new leaf:
Since then, I have been working on a side project “The Underground Book” to be released by June 1st of 2010. The premise for writing the book is very similar to my work on the blog: Educating people about the Underground and why people behave the way they do in this world that appears to be a split from reality.
Then about a month ago I created a new project called “The Underground Computer Club”, or The UCC. I have also written about the UCC, and you can see it here as to why it was created. Read about the UCC.
How To Create The Motivation
I doubt anyone here will disagree when I say I do a lot of work in my free time. To those who own their own blog, you know exactly how much of a time investment it is to come back day after day to work on it. Granted, some people do blogging for a living, but I have a hard time believing it is a lucrative job. Hey, we all need to have a nice nest of cash, right?
So how do I do it? How do I keep up in high spirits day after day and not get burnt out? Oh man, that is a good question and I’ll be glad to tell you the secret.
Let’s start off with an example. Last year in July of 2009, I was introducted to a fantastic german program called Tunngle. In short, it is a VPN gaming solution that allows you to play LAN games over the Internet. My immediate reaction? Let’s go to Youtube and see what is available! To my dismay, there were only four vidoes about Youtube, and the content was not that superb.
Now fast forward to present day, and 90% of the Tunngle videos are mine. I spend a lot of time each week talking to people who are thanking me from converting them from Hamachi or Garena to Tunngle. I have truly made a difference to all these gamers, and it is only because of my hard work and dedication to creating the videos and the text tutorials. It is this type of interaction that gets me going. Knowing that I have made a difference. To some people, the videos are garbage, but to that one person that I helped, it made all the difference.
Heck, you can have been one of those people right now who have watched my videos, and now you are enjoying life because of what I have done for you. Don’t believe me? Ask Ice. He can vouch for the success of my videos.
Furthermore, I am a big believer in correct information. I am so sick and tired of reading and watching videos where the presenter is full of crap. I do not want to listen to music in a video, or watch a person type words across the screen in notepad to explain a technical subject. If you noticed, when I do my tutorials, I try to make it very user friendly and in written in a concise matter. To say that the guides are written such that your mom could do it would be an insult, but honestly, I hope it does help your mom become educated. :0
How does this all relate to motivation? Granted, you might be a regular person living in a home and you have no desires to do anything. I can’t help you with that, as all of my motivation comes from within. What is important to you in life? Once you have found out what is important you, it is very unlikely you are going to let it go.
It is no surprise I enjoy writing, and now look at this godly beast of an article. You are keeping track of time as to how long I spent writing this article, right?
Once you have inner motivation, nothing can stop you. Trust me, some people have tried to crush my hopes and dreams. One time in Skype I left my away message as “Busy. Working on blog stuff.”.
Naturally, this guy from Spain leaves me a message along the lines of : “What are you doing? Why do you work so much? Don’t you ever relax?” Questions or ill statements like this just anger me. In reality, that very same day I was watching a movie downstairs and I left the message on by accident. You know what? Screw him. This is one of those people who don’t understand and could never ever understand what I see and love in my line of work.
I don’t expect everybody to read this article to fully understand what I do, until you do it. Why do you think I am always looking for new people to join the Underground staff? Even if people do join, there is hope that they become active, but unfortunately, every single person has something important to do and at the end of the day I am here writing time to time again. No surprise, right? But in the end, it’s all right and I think 2010 will be a great year.
We already started the year off with a bang with the VersatileTaco disaster. You can read about it here. Within 24 hours, I had the support of the community and we got this guy crushed. It was a marvelous victory.
Let’s not forget the inspiration this blog brings to others! I have helped people start their own blogs only because they see the dedication I have done with my own blog. Furthermore, this blog has helped fellow author Chyea get a job at AMD! Read about that fantastic article here.
So here I am at the end. I know its a long article, and you can see why it would not make sense for me to reply to a MSN message, because it would not do my story any justice, not one bit.
Why do I do what I do again? I do it because I love helping people, and I love solving problems. It makes you a better critical thinker, and you are better able to handle decisions in life. This is why I do it. During the process, I learn from others, and they can learn from me. Also, meeting new people and making new friends along the way doesn’t hurt one bit.
In fact, now there are 2 tunngle guys I talk to on Skype almost on a daily basis for a on demand gaming session. Is it a coincidence that these two same guys are on the GameDexterity account? >_>
This is my life story. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it answered many of your questions. It is not a black and white answer, but more of grey. This is how life is, and let’s see where my journey will take me next. Thanks for reading!
Trivia fact: I spent a total of 1 hour, and 57 minutes writing this article non-stop. I did not even get up from my computer chair during the writing of this article. Sure, it may have taken you to read this article in 10 minutes, but you must appreciate the fact of how much thought and effort goes into writing extravagant articles just like this one. If I inspired you, please leave a comment. ~ Versatile