So two things has stood out for me in the past week or so, one was a an article, the other was an event.
The event is Summer Games Done Quick. This event, that takes place twice a year in America, sees the world’s best speedrunners compete and complete video games as quick as they can. It is a fascinating watch, as below is one of the highlights from an event earlier last year – the incredible Tetris: The Grandmaster Edition showcase.
Whilst this event is ongoing for this week, the article came to my interest in the past week is the article In Defense of Being Average by Mark Manson. The article discusses something that I’ve grown to hate about the internet: the fact that everybody is an overachiever and excelling and if you’re not getting up at 5am to do three hours of Bikram Yoga before running your VC funded startup, you can be seen as being a failure. It isn’t what these articles were implying, but a fact that they are doing it and you are not does make some people – myself included – as a failure. Mark did make me feel a whole lot better about myself.
The article looks at the people at their top of their game. We often see people at the top of their game, like the aforementioned speedrunners, and rarely in endeavours where they aren’t at the top of their game. I had a read through the Summer Games Done Quick site, particularly how to attend and was lead to their code of conduct. Buried within the important rules that you usually see about harassment and respect, this rule caught my eye.
Keep yourself clean by showering regularly
If you smell, staff may ask you to leave the marathon area, as it is disruptive to others around you.
Now I could make a totally unfair stereotype here, but I think that there are so individuals who are so dedicated to their craft that they make sacrifices to their own personal hygiene. Obviously it became such a controversial point that they had to include it within the code of conduct, as I’ve never seen it in a code of conduct before.
I’m not singling out the Games Done Quick community, it is common elsewhere, I’ve seen athletes miss kids birthdays due to going to the gym, or businessmen sleeping in the office, in the relentless and pursuit of awesomeness.
This lead to me thinking about my role in the WordPress community. There are some very talented and driven people in the community. I’d like to think I’m one of them, but in the same way I think I’m average as there are so many talented people out there. Nevertheless I still get asked for my opinion, or asked to contribute, or asked to speak. Probably because I usually speak my mind at events, even though half the time I’m not perfect, or even right.
So I’m embracing averageness. The fact that I don’t know all the answers, or that I struggle to stay up until 2am coding on WordPress, or that occasionally I get bored reading that blog post and instead switch on my Xbox. Averageness is good, because something I’ve noticed is that your average is another man’s awesome.
Before my first proper speaking gig (at WordCamp Manchester last year), I was surprised that my talk about child themes was put in the “Advanced/Technical” track, as I didn’t think it was advanced or technical. I was even more surprised when people came up to me weeks after the event saying my talk changed the way they do things in their company. All after what I thought was an average talk, with a few mistakes.
Recently I have been working on getting WordCamp Manchester 2015 off the ground, and from the low level promotion I’ve done at local WordCamps, I’ve noticed that people are scared of speaking. Not because they’re scared of speaking, but because they feel they have nothing to talk about. Often they feel they are not good enough.
So this blog post goes out to them. We do want to hear about you, and don’t worry that you have nothing to say. Often those who have nothing to say end up sharing the most.