As busy as I’ve been, I should have learned something, right?

I haven’t even written a blog post here in the past month because I’ve been crazy busy. What have I been doing? Teaching judo, getting everything organized for the Gompers Judo trip to northern California, writing three (!) grants, developing a new game, developing new versions of existing games, updating the Growing Math website, taking a course in R programming, spending time with my lovely children and grandchildren. I have even cooked dinner on occasion. Oh, and there is that National Science Foundation project where I am interviewing 100 experts on math and computer science education.

If you are interested enough to read this blog, you probably know that I did judo when I was young. Actually, I still teach judo. Occasionally, I’ll hear some older person crankily comment about a young instructor giving an opinion,

I’ve forgotten more about judo than that young black belt ever learned!

– Sensei Cranky McCrankypants

That’s the problem, they’ve forgotten it.

I didn’t learn so much in the past month as remember three things I already knew.

There is no TL;DR to this blog. You are a grown-up and you can read. What were you going to do in those four minutes you saved, anyway? Watch some stupid cat video?

Thing 1: Life is too short to work with people who are even a little bit unethical.

As always, this month has been spent trying to bring in money, as I am both Executive Director of a non-profit , Strong Mind Strong Body Foundation, and co-founder of a company, 7 Generation Games. So, all my months are spent trying to bring in money, from investors, from donors, from customers who would like us to make a game for them. There have been a few organizations that had calls for proposals available and people I could have contacted about possible investment or donation. I thought about it, but I didn’t do it. Why? Investors, for example, come with their money. They can attend our board and shareholders meetings. With customers, we stay in frequent contact during a project to make sure we are delivering the exact game or interactive media they want.

Do I want to deal with people who will promise over and over to wire investment funds, and then have excuses not to do it? Do I want to spend time listening to someone go on off-topic rants about how immigrants are ruining our country? Do I want to work with people who I cannot trust?

The answer is, “NO”

Maybe I could have brought in more investor funds or business over the past month, but I am happy with the decisions I made. I talked to three of our investors and it was great meeting with every one of them. I worked on a new product that is coming out great.

Thing 2: No one thing is make or break

This month, there were a couple of contracts we had hoped to get that we did not. In fact, we found out about more than one during the same week and it was a pretty demoralizing week. The following week, we found out we had been selected by the National Science Foundation for the Vital Prize and were featured in a video released by Google Play. Later in the month, 7 Generation Games was highlighted at the Google I/O conference, being watched by millions worldwide.

One advantage of being older is that I have had a lot of wins and losses over my life. At the time, not getting a particular grant ruined my day, winning a contract or a judo tournament, made my week. Now, when I go through my filing cabinet looking for some document I can’t find on my computer, I run across all of those contracts, conference presentations, grants, minutes from organizations where I was on the board – and all of those wins or losses that seemed such a big deal at the time, I haven’t thought about in years.

Thing 3: For better or worse, the days add up

My daughter, Ronda famously made the comment

“Winning an Olympic medal changes your month, not your life.

– Ronda Rousey

That’s both true and false. On the one hand, yes, no one remembers who won the men’s single luge in the 2022 Olympics. Hell, I bet you don’t know who won the women’s 200 meter freestyle. In fact, until I looked it up just now, I wasn’t even sure that there was a women’s 200 meter freestyle.

On the other hand, all of those days that you put in add up. Having the discipline to stick with something for 14 years as an athlete made me a stronger, healthier, more confident person. It is something I fall back on when I don’t get that contract or my program isn’t working. I met some really good people along the way who are still friends and mentors.

Some days, I don’t get much programming done, but I slip it in when I can, and I finished a new example game with our latest product, 7 Gen Blocks today. When I get discouraged, I remind myself that I didn’t win the Panamerican Championships by doing 10,000 drills on an arm bar in one month. It was 50 reps a day for years on end.

So, now that I have encouraged myself, I’m going to go back at it.

What did you remember this month?

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