2469 Class Is In Session.

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Jo is getting better and better at making Jess stop and consider her actions, or at least stop and think differently about stuff she is completely confident in. It’s clearly something Jess isn’t accustomed to. Jess isn’t even wrong. Her goal is to make things happen that will improve the world in a way she approves of. Using skills she already has is much faster than trying to stop and learn new ones she’s not good at. At the same time Jo is also not wrong. If you’re passionate about something it’s okay to be inefficient and spend your limited time on earth doing what you are passionate about. I guess I have to agree with Brooksie, in principle at least, since I keep making this comic in spite of not having the top level of talent to make it a huge success. I’m simply passionate and stubborn. However, I think that logically Jess is probably more correct as far as achieving the most. In my case I might still be doing the best thing because I find it nearly impossible to work with other people as much as I might want to. Even if I was just in a support role my desire to meddle would simply result in the ultimate failure of any project in the long term. I guess I’ll never know for sure.

What I do know for sure is that you can support my lonely quest to tell the story of these random people by using the links above. Patreon, Subscribestar, or whatever else I have pasted up there at the moment. Support me like suspiciously wealthy furries used to.


“I guess I have to agree with Brooksie, in principle at least, since I keep making this comic in spite of not having the top level of talent to make it a huge success.”

Define huge success. How many people can say about themselves that they can support themselves through making a webcomic for over 15 years and counting? Even if the answer is in the thousands, that is still an insanely small portion of the populus, so I would say Between Failures already qualifies as a huge success. Even if you play that down in public, internally, you should be at least a little bit proud of that.

How many webcomics have started in the last 15 years, sputtered and died? Lots! Between Failures’ continued existence is an achievement in itself.

Yeah, I cannot imagine any webcomic artists/writers are doing more than paying the bills, especially doing 100% of the work themselves. Just by not needing a day job BF is easily in the top percentile of webcomics in terms of financial success, and probably edges out a number of other top performers if you account for longevity, too. Like some might be living fairly comfortably and funding hobbies and making savings, but there’s no way anybody’s getting rich doing this. I mean, they should, and Jackie is definitely amongst those who would if it were possible in this world, but sadly we don’t live in a world where independent webcomic creators are making millions off their work and getting lucrative TV deals and paid thousands for guest appearances on TV and radio.

Does Jess have ADHD? Because she’s echoing a lot of feelings I’ve had about my own talents and sense of self. It’s very difficult to self-motivate when your own brain chemistry keeps you from working toward your goals.

This puts me in mind of the saying “perfect is the enemy of good enough”. Among people who build scale remote control airplanes they say you never get finished, you just reach a stopping spot. I find I enjoy a lot of things where I will never achieve mastery of a particular skill but I learn enough to do what I want and then the next shiny thing beckons.

Jess isn’t wrong. You’ve only got so much time. Why waste it doing things where you’ll struggle to do it, and then maybe not even do it any kind of well? Play to your strengths.

If no-one ever tried something they weren’t good at and persevered anyways, we would still be in the ocean. One gets good at something by doing it. Even people who find a certain amount of innate talent at something, are much worse at it than masters who have spent their lives at it. If they see that they aren’t as good as others and don’t keep trying, they’ll never develop that talent.

To answer your question: because you enjoy it anyways, because you have friends that make it fun, because it pays money, because even if you’re not good at it, it needs doing, because of a court order, because it’s the law, because someone will suffer if it doesn’t get done.

“Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.” — G.K. Chesterton


That which we call “talent” isn’t a measure of ability, rather it’s a measure of the amount of effort required to gain that ability. Even if you have a talent for something, it will never develop if you don’t try. Conversely, many people with little to no talent have become masters of their trade through dogged perseverance.

Interesting takes, Jess. Be very careful with it.

I’ve wanted to fly since I was very young, yet I haven’t managed to achieve it yet, and I’m going to turn 44 soon. If I want to achieve my dreams, I must learn something I don’t know.

Speaking of which, you guys have all been in the back of my mind for years. Between Failures is a very clever name for a webcomic, insinuating the good times present while for the time period which it is covering while simultaneously assuming the bad years to come.

I guess you could say I’m between successes right now. I didn’t make it as an avionics tech or A&P mechanic yet. Currently, I’m back at FedEx Ground doing something I know while I regroup to try again. I may quit trying to make money to fly and just jump in this time.

When I was younger, I didn’t have any kind of confidence that I could be a pilot, though I really wanted it. A large part of that was my massive addiction to video games, more specifically Diablo II. I quit playing D2 long enough to get hooked by Lineage 2, then World of WarCraft. I wasn’t sure that I could break away. I remember having this specific conversation with myself when I was in my twenties, “Man, I would do anything to learn to fly. … Like give up video games?” What followed was usually that familiar sense of despair.

I did make an attempt to learn to fly in Fall of 2020 by attending a two year college that offers a flight program. I was trying to work so that I could pay rent, and not have to use a loan to cover living expenses, though I knew I would need a loan to cover flight costs.

I was a sleep deprived mess. One of my first weeks attempting that schedule saw me nearly going off the road at highway speeds on my way to work. It was the first time in my life I called in to work because I didn’t feel safe driving with that severe of sleep deprivation. I found a way to push through, but my mind was definitely operating at much reduced faculties. I dropped out after one semester.

This past spring, I was able to get a job at Gulfstream but that didn’t last. Gulfstreams are really cool business jets, but I was just not picking up what I needed fast enough.

After getting fired at Gulfstream, I spent three months unemployed, trying to get hired. I applied to two flight simulator training companies as a technician. We’re talking the full-motion sims used to train military and airline pilots. I applied to American Airlines as a mechanic. I applied to other Certified Repair Stations. I got lots of interviews, but no job offers. I finally just started applying to logistics companies. Oddly enough, they weren’t picking me up right away, either. I did finally apply to FedEx at the location near the airport I was taking lessons at. It was a farther drive than at least two other stations, but they picked me up right away.

So, yeah. I’ve been licking my wounds and getting ready to dive in again. Thankfully, my wife has been the steady one, keeping work the whole time we’ve been married.

I am waiting for a call back from FedEx Supply Chain for a full-time position. That side of FedEx looks really interesting. With my experience I’ve gained so far at FedEx, I’ve been thinking about starting a business in shipping, myself. I’ve even been thinking about starting a YouTube channel teaching people how to pack packages so that they can avoid damaging their goods.

I also have an idea for a webcomic, of all things, that I would use to catalog my experiences as a package handler and QA Administrator. I’m not an artist, so I’d have to hire one. Being successful enough at it to justify doing it would be a real gamble. I’ve been following webcomics for awhile. No one really makes a lot of money doing it.

I mean, hell. People might just get angry finding out what exactly happens behind the walls at FedEx instead of finding the humor in it.

Someone recently told me that we have lots of ideas, and the majority of them are bad. It really takes a good number of advisors to really land on a good idea. I guess it’s time to learn how to network instead of just try to do things the way I think they work.

It’s great to see you’re still going, Jackie.

That is a great route to getting there actually. Kudos for keeping at it.

Before or after committing to the dream, have you tried digging deeper and find out what particularly fascinates you about this dream?
It took me a number of guided meditations that would navigate past the surface self-reassurances, success anxiety and desire pull to get to the root why.
then it was easier to design the experience, here working remotely, without relying on others’ brochure depictions and romanticism of it. It was a bit rougher, but turned out true.

A friend of mine also wanted to fly, but did not have the body for it. He went on to learn all the motions in MS flight simulator. Now he’s ‘flying’ as a hobby. Another one went for glider piloting in an association also as a hobby. Neither could take the other one’s experience, because they are in it for different reasons or parts of it – the complexity of controlling the jet, vs. the weightlessness and panorama experience. and there are other motivations. Maybe you can ‘hack’ your experience, as well.

Since learning about flight emissions, I went a bit allergic against the need. The meager benefits of fast travel did not outweigh the drawbacks for safe living. This also refueled my annoyance with the glamourous presentation of flights, compared to how the crew shoves those adds in your face and need to sell useless luxury goods on flights. I’m not travelling to buy a Swiss watch as investment duty free, overpriced by 400%, save 20-40%. If you really needed one, and were waiting for just that trip to get the deal. It is seriously annoying how the business organization of commercial flights has been geared to the wealthy dumb, pompous with fake glamour, and perpetuates keeping rich people dumb, while they are ruining a decent life for everyone. presented as successful, or aspirable, or even success measure. ugh. but this may not be the core of the experience for everyone who choses it, just a nasty add-on one might be tempted to glance over.

Having your ideas tested by a friendly advisor can help single out the good ones. Some will reject the idea though, because they don’t believe in it, which might be more their lack of trying than it being generally hard to do. It’s three things, whether you want to master something (personal achievement, you be the judge), if you want to have others admire or pay you for it (social recognition/success, depends on other’s mind), or if you want to do this in a competitive market where the social environment is part of the challenge (outcompeting the competition with fair or unfair means, including luck of how many contestants have joined in).

So, good luck, mate.

Jess has a point however. No innate talent can lead you to feel like crap when you try and keep going. You can put in as much talent as the top talents and still get no where.

“Anything worth doing is worth the effort put in.
Putting in the effort, means it’s worth it.”

Can’t remember who got that phrase stuck in my head but it is a good mantra to repeat when I have doubts on what I’m doing or if I should even be trying. But on the sides of the coin, I gotta lean towards Jo’s ideals. You only get one life so spend it doing what brings it joy instead of what the world says will improve it.

Talent is mostly an excuse label for admirers, who do not understand what it takes to get something done, and just want to bathe in their awe. Or identify ‘talent’, as if a mediocre performer could not get the job done, as well. It’s that unconscious competition for the best, who are so good at their game that you trust they will invent something important. But it’s also a disdain for everybody else, who can be well qualified for the task at hand. Now if you want to identify talent early on and give them a tailored education, ok, though the psychology of it is tricky, as well. And sometimes it helps them recognize their distinctive abilities when someone believes in them. this is fine, but this is also true for non-talents, so the label ‘talent’ does not make a difference other than instilling a belief that you are something special and can do well.

Ability or talent is the raw material, experience and persistence the way to shape it. Divided by the time you have, and frustrtion tolerance to endure the necessary failures. Jess is doing the comfy way, but for some this also feels like the true way. Jo is right that the pull will help you get back on track many times.
What is more important is an individual choice and depends on the learning journey. On very short steep learning curves, talent beats persistence. On slower or longer learning curves, persistence beats talent. If it’s not a competition, you can try for the achievement anyway. Intrinsic motivation will help a lot.

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