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Thinking Before Acting

(Sun Sep 5 15:13:38 2010)

Whatever you do, think before you act. It's just a good idea.

"Ah!" you say. "But what about acting in danger? Shouldn't you let instinct guide you, rather than your much slower thoughts?" It's true; you should. Well, sometimes you should. For instance, if you're riding a horse, and the horse goes down an incline, your instinct is to hunch over the horse. This will toss you right over the horse's head, and probably add a couple of hoof-prints to your inner ribcage. In that case, instinct is a Bad Idea. Instead, you need to train yourself so that you react correctly; trained instincts. Like a warrior in battle, you have to train your mind and body to react to situations before you can fully think them out. Even in "normal life," this principal holds true. You see something leap into the road in front of your car; do you swerve? Not if it's a plastic bag - but you have to train your eyes to know the difference between a foolish child and a harmless plastic bag. Or, it's late at night, and you've just landed your foot on something both sharp and rolling (most probably a child's toy). Do you leap off (like your instinct tells you), or do you step down until you can regain your other foot, and thus prevent flying into a tangled heap of face-ripping playthings?

In fact, these things apply to even something as mundane as office work; if your boss yells at you, do you get seek a defensive corner and lash out, or do you take it calmly and make amends?

The trick is knowing what may come up, and thinking through things ahead of time. And beyond that, it's knowing what you can solve by thinking through ahead of time, and what you can't. Sometimes, no matter the training you've given your mind, it's pretty much impossible to stick to the script. "What would I do if my family were suddenly killed?" I don't know; I might go out in a blaze of glory trying to save them, or I might not. I don't know; I don't have the variables of an extreme situation like that, so I can't make a decision how to react. I can, however, train myself to think clearly in a tough situation, and perhaps self defense. Those don't face the direct problem, but at least they could support it.

And in that line of thinking, I get to the point I was originally thinking of - this website. I could, obviously, blast through the style sheets I have up, eradicating the old in favor of the new - or, I could go at things slowly and methodically, shifting and changing things ever-so-slightly until everything is how I want it. Both ways have their ups and downs - but I don't have a plan for either. That's what I need right now; a design, something that turns this site into what I want, not just another slight step towards (or possibly away from) what I really want. Planning is what will eventually get me to my goal.

I could react to the layout as it is, dumping colors and schemes in favor of something new and interesting, but... that's not what I really want to do. What I really want is a unified layout that can be themed dynamically; no amount of styling will make dynamic themes. What I really need is what I planned long ago - admin stuff. All the bits needed to change layouts and modify accounts. If I train myself to use all the low-level tools - like vi to edit the scripts and CSS and such - while I might end up with something great, I won't be able to update it without a lot of work. If I instead plan ahead and create a content-creation system, I can change things as much as I want. Thinking ahead would save me time in the long run.

Of course, this leads me to the next item - actually doing something. If you never do anything, all that thinking and planning goes to waste. Sigh. Which, of course, means that I'm going to have to go ahead and start working on the admin section.

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This blag is tagged: Blag, Programming, Wobsite, All