Let’s try to make our own lives, and the lives of those around us, go smoothly and easily. Avoiding pressure will help us avoid trouble and sadness.
In RL, I work with a small group of programmers and product people, and often I warn them about the dangers of too much pressure. When we lean on our programmers too hard, the results are often worse than if we had done nothing at all. Often we see more bugs and fewer features getting done than if we had just kept quiet. I recently learned that it works that way in SL, too.
I’ve been working on some new scripts for moving vehicles. In our lands in Lexicolo, we have a balloon ride, a cart ride, a boat ride, a tram, and a monorail. These are all running variations on my scripts. They are pretty low in lag, and they don’t do all that leaping back and forth and off the track that many trains do in SL.
As you’ll see if you visit, the vehicles themselves are quite beautiful as well: that is Dizzi’s work. So we have been thinking that we would like to sell some items based on this work. We’ll start, probably, with a simple monorail, and probably a tram, then move quickly to other items. We have built a cable car, that isn’t currently set up anywhere, and we had a seven or eight car train running just the other day.
I’m feeling that it is important to get some products out there, so that we can learn what people want in rides on their own land. (If you are interested in such things, do get in touch with me in SL.)
Naturally, there is a lot of detail work to do to the scripts to make them easily workable for buyers, who may not be all that good at building or otherwise deep into understanding SL’s technology. And Dizzi bulds like a demon and is full of ideas. I don’t like to say no to her, and despite being somewhat of a professional in this, I wasn’t managing the flow of ideas well.
What I ask the programmers I work with to do is to look at all the features our product people ask for, and give estimates of how long they’ll take. I don’t hold them to precise estimates — we just need to know roughly how large features are. That lets us decide whether to ask for a given feature now, or to put it off until later.
I wasn’t doing that with Dizzi. She’d ask if something was possible, and since I think everything is possible, I’d say yes and then bang! it was on my list. And since she goes so fast, I felt like I was falling further and further behind.
The thing is, this is not a job we have here, there is no real deadline, and if Dizzi had known how I was feeling she’d have helped sort through things. Or if I had just gone to her and said here is the list of what we have before us and how long I think each thing will take, we would have sorted through and set up priorities and a reasonable schedule.
But no! I just wanted to make her happy and to give us the best possible product, so all on my own I started pushing harder and putting myself under more pressure. Add to that a few personal issues here in SL and suddenly earlier this week I just lost it. I took on a simple enough change, but I was stressed and wired and I made a mistake and I didn’t catch it in time and I made another and finally I was in tears, completely convinced that I was a worthless clueless dummy and that my avatar looked funny.
Good lord! This is a game! (OK, I know it isn’t a game, but go with me a minute.) We come here for fun! We come here for companionship and friendship and affection. We come here to play! And calm, collected, competent Janet, who can handle five simultaneous griefers and answer questions on three IM channels at the same time is losing it!
Well, with a little help from my friends I calmed down and everything is OK now. But my point is that pressure, even self-imposed, doesn’t make us smarter, more competent, or fun to be with. There’s a lesson here for Real Life, I think, and it is that we should work to make our own lives, and the lives of those around us, smoother and easier, not more pressured and more difficult.
Word to the wise.