This is the personal website of John Watson: father, software developer, artist, guitar player. Follow me on Mastodon or Twitter or Twitch or or GitHub.

Things I believe to be true

November 14, 2023


  • We are mortal, finite beings
  • All things end
  • There is no objective “meaning of life” — you must find and create your own meaning from the chaos
  • It doesn’t matter if the universe is meaningless, it doesn’t matter if free will is an illusion, and it doesn’t matter if we’re living in a simulation — it’s all we’ve got
  • You have no control over most things and very little control over everything else
  • Existing is infinitely better than not existing
  • Things usually work out in the end


  • Most people are fundamentally good
  • The golden rule is to treat others and yourself with kindness, respect, and love
  • Kindness stems from empathy
  • Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden
  • The world would be better if we all treated each other better
  • It’s better to shut up if you have nothing kind to say and no one asked
  • Music and singing are food for the soul
  • Food isn’t really food unless you are sharing it with someone
  • Whisky tastes better when someone else is buying


  • You only have about 80 Summers
  • There will never be enough time to do all the things
  • There’s not enough time to waste it on things that make you unhappy
  • Choosing the things you will do is also choosing the things that you will not do
  • It’s pointless to worry about things that haven’t happened yet
  • Worrying about the past (regret) is also pointless
  • The only thing that matters is this moment right now
  • A life is a series of these moments and what you chose to do with them
  • Spending time with my children has always been worthwhile
  • Hope is justified because the future tends to be better than the past


  • It’s dangerous to go alone
  • The foundations of a happy marriage are listening, understanding, and empathy
  • Love is a choice that you must make every day
  • The whole is greater than the parts
  • You must love the whole person — you can’t pick and choose
  • You must let go of your ego — it’s okay to be wrong
  • You must learn to argue without being mean or angry
  • Most problems are rooted in miscommunication
  • Two people can say the same words but mean different things
  • Raising children is the toughest and most fulfilling job I’ve ever had


  • Everyone is making it up as they go
  • Randomness (luck) affects everything
  • Ideas are easy and worthless on their own
  • Hard work is still important
  • Doing work you are proud of is important
  • The best way to learn how to do something is just to try and do it
  • Finishing things is more important than trying to make them perfect
  • We become experts through failure
  • Originality is overrated
  • The customer is not always right
  • Wages are the product of labor


  • Programming is about solving problems, not typing symbols into a computer
  • You must first understand the problem and constraints on the solution
  • Progamming languages are for people, not computers
  • Boring and reliable is better than shiny and new
  • Verbose and understandable is better than short and clever
  • Reading, writing, and debugging code are distinct skills
  • The best programmers understand the entire stack from the foundations up
  • Not everyone can do it
  • It’s not real until you ship it


  • Houses are just big wooden boxes
  • Water is the enemy
  • Drywall is easily broken, easily patched, and nothing to be scared of
  • Owning things is expensive
  • Regular maintenance is less expensive than big repairs
  • Insurance for items you can easily replace is a waste of money

And just a little advice…

  • Be good and kind and patient
  • Work hard
  • Eat when hungry
  • Rest when tired
  • Worry less