Daniel Carvalho


I distinctly remember the moment I had to suspend caution, briefly turning off my mind, to make the jump.

I was a kid back then, and managed to climb up onto the overhang of my apartment building’s entrance. It was probably two or so meters high.

I looked down at the garden with the intention to jump, but fear had me bobbing backwards and forwards in a series of false starts. A stomach filled with butterflies and a mind whispering that I should probably climb back down the way I got up.

Trying to think my way through this problem, my brain was bustling with negotiations energetically going nowhere. The best my mind could do was assure me that I probably wouldn’t die.

It was at this point, having deliberated for some time on the ledge, that I realized that this was very binary. I either silence my fear and jump, or listen to it and not. Do I do this fucking cool thing or do I continue playing outside without the exhilarating thrill and sense of accomplishment.

The answer was simple; I needed to just do it. And to do it, I needed to stop thinking. Just perform the pure biomechanical action of jumping.

I jumped.

And it was awesome. Even better than expected with a very soft landing. Impressed with myself I proudly turned my head back and looked up from where I had just jumped. I did it. I conquered it.

To this day, it amazes me how much of our lives is dictated by our minds alone. Or more accurately, our will. By discipline or the lack thereof. Only with discipline can a decision be executed and become a meaningful blessing. Without discipline a decision remains unrealized potential, that leads to disappointment and self-loathing. Words with no actions.

The best version of yourself is literally a handful of executed decisions away.

Knowing this fact, it’s hard not to envy robots. As weird as that sounds. They perform the tasks required of them, and they do it consistently. When we’re feeling down our willpower falters, leaving us with a night of take-out filled with oil and remorse. Except we wouldn’t choose to be robots. Of course not. Yet we can’t deny we often don’t do what we should do, and life would be better if we did.

Perhaps the art is to practice zero thinking for things we already know, want, and need to do. Just do them, lest we give ourselves an escape hatch.

Suggested Reading

  1. Avatar Blues, Immersion and Video Games

    James Cameron’s Avatar has been met with almost unanimous applause from critics and audiences alike. But it seems, what people failed to predict, was that the exotic fantasy would become a double-edged sword, leaving many of its fans depressed in its wake. Is this unique to Avatar, or have video games been doing this for years? I explore the connection between the two.

  2. What Have We Achieved

    An in-depth criticism of the widely adopted achievement system, and why I think their inclusion in games is a step backwards.