Not YOLO, ‘Fuck it’.

(Oct 4th and Oct 16th, 2012)

I suppose it’s not a bad idea to start your day with a video that has the title:  What to do with your life  when I’ve just spent all of the last few days working working working.

That question sort of looms even larger when I’m in the process of finding a spring internship and getting signed up for interviews.

Here’s my sort of problem: I’m not very sure about software engineering. Sort of a nice discussion on HN now among veteran programmers. Pro-programmer-life Against-programmer-life

Our priorities and values change. Our comments, suggestions, hopes, dreams, fears change. But the sort of principle I have been living by is to always think about the longterm. That I found forces me to think about the future, put things in perspectives. No matter what my values, priorities are, some meta things about the world and about myself don’t change.

I have a bit of beef with the YOLO movement, live every day like your last. Because it rejects this kind of long-term thinking. Progress only comes from long-term thinking, of building, improving painstakingly incrementally. Progress comes one day after the next.

I also have a beef with people who have attributed this quote to Steve Job because they take the quote completely out of context without understanding what he is actually trying to say. Here’s the quote:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

It’s true that he tells you to live each day as your last, but the reason only being to realize what is truly important.  YOLO is not equal to ‘living each day as your last by recognizing what is truly important’. Very different, my friends. The importance in the quote is recognizing what’s important.

Continuing my beef with YOLO. I feel like many people incorrectly use YOLO as an opportunity to go all out on an occasion. “YOLO, I’m going to chugg this whole handle of vodka” “YOLO, I’m going to run 100 miles today” “YOLO, I’m going to party all weekend, then pull all nighters every week day”

Maxing out on an occasion never helps you. Progress comes from incremental steps. I don’t know of successful athletes who became good at a sport by playing once every week for 10 hours, or successful academics who pulled all nighters for two weeks straight just before finals, or any skilled person who didn’t practice their skill at very regular and periodic intervals. Becoming an expert requires deliberate practice.

The better attitude is Fuck it which I think has a subtle difference from YOLO.

Ice-T explains his fuck it philosophy

From the reddit comments

I think YOLO is more of general disregard for consequence, wheras Fuck it is all about wanting the positive consequence while risking the negative.

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