Since Mother's Day is coming up, I thought it would be appropriate to ask you to answer the following question:
What's the best single piece of advice you've ever gotten?
Because we all know moms love to give advice! But it certainly doesn't have to be advice from your mom, although that would be fine too. Maybe it was a book you read, or something your best friend told you, or even a segment on Oprah. It might've been as life changing as "You should take that job" or as mundane as "You'd probably look better without wearing that pink thong on the outside of your leotards, Hydroman."
In return for answering the question and telling us all a little more about yourself, you get the chance to either give me some advice:
I'd like to know what it is about the HeroMachine blog you like, or even better, what you don't like. What you think I do well or what you think I do poorly. What you want to see more of, or less of. What you think I should do to get more readers, or features you'd like to see added or dropped, or really anything else you like, so long as it's about the blog portion of the site and not the actual application.
It's your chance to tell the Man off! For certain values of "Man" that equal "Bald fat guy who writes this blog."
Anyway, here's my answer to the main question:
The best single piece of advice I've ever gotten was from my brother Joey. He said, "The opinions of worthless people are worthless." I've always had a horrible lack of self-confidence, and at one point was really depressed and angsty about what people thought about me. It kind of was controlling my life. When he told me that, I guess I was finally at a point where I could really understand it, because it totally clicked for me. I stopped spending so much time worrying about what people who I didn't even like thought of me, and started spending more time worrying about what the people I loved -- and even more importantly, what I -- thought of me. It was a very liberating conversation and set the stage for a lot of personal happiness.
Now it’s your turn to share the best single piece of advice you've gotten, and hopefully to then give me some advice in return about the blog!
I’ll share today with an email my sister sent to me recently that made me think of things differently.
Mayonnaise Jar &Two Beers…
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed..
‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full..
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else—the small stuff.
‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18..
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
Since reading this email, I have been looking tat things in a different light and “not sweating the small stuff” Good advice, sis.
Since your blog is the only blog I have followed daily, I really can’t give you any negative feedback. The only thing I will say is that I really enjoy seeing your original artwork (SOD) and hope you get a break from your busy schedule to maybe complete 1 or 2 a week. Cheers!
Dang, I can’t remember where I heard it:
People respect you for your virtues.
They love you for your faults.
It’s still good even if I saw it printed on a coffee cup.
“There is no living thing which is not afraid when it faces danger. True courage is facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage, you have plenty of.”
– The Wizard of Oz
In spite of some trips through therapy and a lot of good friends and close family, most of the advice I really remember comes from books. So here’s the piece of advice I try (and unfortunately too often fail) to live by:
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies–God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
–Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
I like the blog as-is, but I’d just like to put in a word in support of caption contests, in case someone else puts in a word against them. 🙂 And as ams suggested, when code has stopped devouring your life, if you gave us a sketch of the week, that would be pretty cool.
“Happy wife equals happy life.” If you are a married man there are no truer words. Keep the wife happy and you are gold.
Suggestion: Keep on keepin on. I like it the way it is. Funny observations, cool artwork, and fun contests. As I believe others will say, more Hebert original sketches/artwork is always welcome.
dblade, that is SO true. I always heard it as “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” but the sentiment is the same. And absolutely true.
It might not be as deep as some of the others, but my favorite piece of advice was from my grandfather. He was fond of saying “A short pencil is better than a long memory.”
And here’s one for you Jeff. A friend once told me “Never trust a man with the words Rob and Lie in his name.”
I’m with everyone else, I love the site as is. You made a cool place for us all to come to. Thanks!
I’ve always been pretty bad about listening to good advice. It’s not like I don’t acknowledge it, or I rebel against it. I’ll hear something, and think, “That’s a good idea.” And then not do it. “Always get at least 6 hours of sleep every night.” “Eat your vegetables.” “Mind your manners.” (Although on that last point, like most Canadians, I’m usually unfailingly, even painfully polite most of the time). Words that just get wasted on me.
Still, I think the one piece of advice that I’ve heard that I do tend to act on is, “Always let the people in your life know how much they mean to you.” I will always tell my family and fiancee that I love them. And I always thank my friends for spending time together.
Jeff, the one piece of advice I have for you regarding the blog is to be more consistent with the regular features. I know it can get difficult to keep up, but every weekly category is probably someone’s favorite day of the week because of it. Heck, I only just recently started getting into the RPG Corner “Choose Your Own Adventure” stuff on Thursdays, and last night I was disappointed that we didn’t get our Lone Wolf update. But then, I also find that I depend on HeroMachine’s updates and comments to get me through the slower periods at work, and more frequent updates make for more contributions from the community.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why I tend to comment so much on your blog, the answer is primarily boredom. LOL!
I don’t recall any one particular phrase or occasion where I can account for specific advise changing my life. Rather it was the examples that were set for me by people. My mother was always one to go about life doing what SHE felt was right not what others felt. She had a strong sence of right and wrong regardless of how others felt. I think I learnt to trust my own sense of integrity and not conform to the social norms of others.
Additionally, she was always accepting of my geeky ways ad in turn I learnt to try to be accepting of others.
Jeff, I’m currious if you have an idea how large the MH3 blog community actually is? As far as consructive critisizm, I would have to second Myro’s suggestion regarding keeping with the Blog Schedule. Not to say that you can’t skip an item but if so just a quick entry saying it will be skipped this week might be an idea. If there is anyone who comes looking for a specific item then they would not not to keep looking for something that isn’t going to be there.
I like the way everything fits together for the most part. Speaking for myself it really is easy to accept missed schedule items when so many upgrades and additions are happening lately.
Oh, and when the coding is finally caught up the SOD’s are really neet.
Do what you love, that’s what my parents tell me and my brothers, except volunteer work for school, i don’t really love that.
I definitely need to be better about sticking to the schedule. I apologize about yesterday’s Missing Wolf update. And SODs would be nice. I got so wrapped up into pressuring myself to come up with a “Good” image each day that I was stressed out — I lost sight of the whole point of those which was just to keep drawing each day without worrying about doing finished pieces.
That’s a great story, ams, so much truth in that.
One of my professors once gave me some really solid advice about larger projects. He said:
“When you’ve finished your first draft of the project, put it down for a while and work on something else. Give it a couple of days to a week before you pick your project up again. The time spent focusing on other things lets you look at it with a new pair of eyes.”
I’ve found that this applies to most everything in life, from reports to art to relationships.
As for feedback on the blog… I spent quite some time thinking about it, but I finally came up with something I don’t like. It’s the ‘Featured Character’ button on the front page. When I click it, I want to see the full-size picture of the character previewed on the button, with text links to former featured characters. Instead it just takes me to the ‘Contest Winners’ category, where I need to dig through stuff like caption contests (which don’t even include any characters) looking for that awesome character I saw in the thumbnail.
Oh, and the FAQ and bug list (in the Quick Links) are out of date!
I know, that Featured Character thing has never worked like I wanted. I wanted to do a “Hall of Fame” style gallery that would just be the characters, but because I jacked with the WordPress template so badly, now I can’t get any other plugins to work properly. It’s really irritating.
It’s very hard to pick any particular advice that stands out. I’ve been very fortunate to have wise people in my life as well as great parents.
There was one piece that comes to mind that has carried over far beyond the original intent. When I was learning to cook as a young teenager, my mother said something about food. She told me to never be afraid to experiment with a recipe because if it goes bad you can always order pizza.
I’ve taken that and run with it. It helps me to not be afraid to make mistakes because there is always something to fall back on. It may not be a pleasant fall back but there’s something always there. If my business tanks, I can always get a job (even if it’s Walmart) and start over. There’s no mistake that can’t be recovered from.
I have to echo some of what others have said. I do have my favorite features including the caption contests and bad costumes. I enjoy having as many opportunities as possible to interact with my fellow geeks and when one is missed I feel a slight pang of loss. I do feel your pain though on not having as much time to update a blog as you would like. Mine often languishes because of my hectic schedule.
I would definitely say my favorite piece of advice is this: Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.
I would also agree that you should just keep keeping on! this site is awesome!
Looking back at my entry (8b, I realize this is long overdue.
Jeff, thank you very much for providing us with this community in which we can discuss not only your excellent character creation program, but comic book and other geek.culture, as well as life in general. As for all the regular and even semi-regular contributors to the community, who are.far too many to list individually, thank you for amazing me with your artwork, making me smile with.your comments, helping me develop my creativity, and in many cases, letting us glimpse a portion of your lives.
My online activities only comprise a small portion of my life, but as I do spend more than a few hours a week here, then it goes to say that HeroMachine is a part of my life, and it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that.
Well said Myro!
Free Comic book day tommorrow!
Be selfish with your body. It’s the only body you have.
I used to work for Mattel (and before you get all excited, I was only a picker/packer at their NZ distribution centre) and one day I was having a conversation with someone; I can’t remember what it was about. Anyway, being a young and foolish teenager, I said “I never make mistakes.” To which the guy replied, “The man who never made a mistake never made anything.” I couldn’t answer that, because he was right.
Now, when I screw up, I admit it.
I don’t remember exactly how it was worded but the upshot was that “people always do what makes sense to them.” I don’t remember who exactly said it, either, but it was someone on the Christian talk radio station I used to listen to almost constantly.
This bit of advice has been extremely helpful in dealing with people who are being difficult. Now I always try to look at things from the other person’s point of view and understand the reasons behind whatever they’re doing that’s annoying or puzzling me. Doesn’t entirely excuse bad behavior, but it makes it a lot harder to get really mad at people.
Another good piece of advice comes from a well-known shoe company: “Just do it.” I’m a huge perfectionist, and my instinct tends towards “If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all,” which is pretty crippling to progress when I act on that instinct. So “Just do it” and other phrases of that ilk always speak to me. (I like D’s coworker’s advice for this reason, too!)
Like many people have said, I think you’re doing a great job here! I like how you have such a variety of weekly features—everything from geeky polls to discussions of super hero costumes to contests—something for everyone. As long as you’re at least a bit of a geek.
As for strategies for getting new readers, might I suggest that one idea might be to bring Friday Night Fights back? It seems like that would be something that would really encourage current readers to get the word out to their friends so that more people will vote for their entries. Plus they look like they were fun and I want a chance to participate in one! 🙂
You also might consider doing more with the Facebook page, rather than just posting when you’ve got another blog entry up.
“Try the chicken pesto with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.”
Sorry, I have no good advice. People tell me that I’m insightful. Which is all fine and dandy. Except everything on the outside is a mess.
@Jeff: Not advice, but a question. What program are you using to create CS4 or EPS files? I have some ideas for Mech Body if you want to take a look.
Ok, here’s the best I can give.
Sometimes, you’ll cross people that feel bad. Hear them out, at least a little. Too often, people are afraid an flee when you aren’t right, and this hurts.
And, this is very, very, very important: When they tell you that they hurt, don’t throw them platitudes such as “No, life is wonderful!” or “Lose one, win ten”. I’m not asking you to say “You’re right, life is shit”, unless you agrees, but at least something like “Yeah, sometimes, things suck”.
Because… when you’re not alright, it may be difficult to speak out, as most people, being uncomfortable with those feeling, will flee. So, you fear losing people you care about. That’s one thing.
The other is that, if you say platitudes, you’re denying the reality of the other person’s suffering. They’ve mustered up the strength and trust to speak to you about it, and you’re basically saying “You’re wrong” and denying the reality of their feeling. This hurts, and isolates. Just recognizing the reality of their pain is a boon.
Sorry if I convey things badly, english isn’t my native language.
One of my favorites is, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself,” –Eleanor Roosevelt
When I was new to marching band (BAND GEEK!), I would make a false step, or end up out f the line and the majorette would call me on it. Embarrasses, I would mumble something about the guy in front of me or the unevenness of the ground. She said, “don’t make excuses, just fix it.” Since then, I often think about what is a valid excuse– what justifies the action– as opposed to it being a reason for it– why it happened. I might be overly sarcastic because of my dad, but that doesn’t *excuse* my speaking that way to my own children.
Mom wasn’t big on advice, exactly, but I do remember a day when a friend & I were experimenting with make-up. Mom, observing our endeavors, told us, “You don’t want to look like a clown.” Practical, sound advice.
From a friend in the Marine corp.
Never put off doing the right thing. Call your mother. Tell your wife you love her. Go get that beer with the guys from work. Go see a game. Do it now, not later. The only hard and fast rule in life is that, sooner or later, It will be too late. Too many people learn that one the hard way.
I’m not really good at that myself, but damned if he doesn’t have a point.