Level Up / by AB Mann

My goals rarely have sharp lines, lines where you know the exact moment you've jumped a level. I tend to build my "goals" as systems in that I plan for future desired spells and capabilities and create scaffolding that will, through consistently grinding it out, elevate me closer to the thing.

This on going virtue project is a useful example. There's no end date, no line, no level up jingle and shower of coins that will inform me I have attained virtue. It's the process - weekly virtue focus, nightly (or at least regular) check in on the day, review of previous tallies, smashing forest imps, and ideas to craft better magic with. You can argue that the goal of my virtue project is the grinding itself. All successes in these will situate me to do all things better in the future.

Nebulous experience points. Tangible new things nonetheless.

From Red Mage to Red Wizard

Yesterday at 8:30am I sat down in the UW Psychology building at 1202 Johnson St. It was auspicious, in retrospect, that I was in the psychology building. My change from Chemistry degree to Psychology degree in 2001 had very directly lead me to that building, that room, that seat.

I took the LSAT. This was the end point of a multi-phase project to get a law degree1.

I decided to take the LSAT in back in April. Since that point, I have heavily relied on the last year's worth of XP building my Resolve. From May through this last week, I was studying every few nights targeting one prep book a month - Logical Reasoning in June, Logic Games in July, Reading Comprehension in August, and plenty of buffer for things like work going crazy2.

The most boring spell component list

The most boring spell component list

Grind grind grind

Grind grind grind

These are screenshots from my OmniFocus archive. A project for the LSAT with sub-projects per prep book/practice test sections and nested, recurring reminders3 to actually get off my butt and.. get.. back on it with my books?

The level up point for this second step, which was just a subpath of a subpath in the subpath that is to apply to law school which is a subpath of going to law school in the skill tree that is "regulatory compliance and healthcare law", is one of few apparent goals you can see enough that I had occasion to reflect upon it and the months that have brought me here. The benefit of the resolve, the discipline, the foresight garnered by these virtue projects is seeing all the little battles, the little bits of experience, that have lead here. It seems like a straight line but it really isn't. I just have the breadcrumbs to trace it.

Goals don't just happen and they rarely have such obvious steps to them but the way you get there is the same - dedicated, long term effort. You get there by writing it down, looking at it every day, and resolving to grind it out, one forest imp at a time.

  1. Possible law degree. There are so many decisions between today and actually going that I am not saying it is a certainty. There are many things in and out of my control before I crack the first text book.

  2. Which it did in July. I worked something like 230 hours in July and did not study during the week, only weekends, and got "behind" in so far as you get behind when you build a full month of buffer into your project.

  3. I didn't have an actual task every two days. I had a recurring task that re spawned so I only saw 1 study task rather than this individuated mess.