As many of you had predicted, the "mission to reach Red in 6 months and LGM in 12 months" was as ambitious as it was unsuccessful. I won't be having the "last laugh" and that wasn't even the right way to go about this whole thing. I started the year strong but things fell off track after January. There were some productive weeks throughout the course of the year but I failed to remind myself to keep on going in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge. And yet, I owe it to myself to keep the dream alive and make a proper update that better represents my intentions after a year of reflection. The road to LGM is full of self-doubts and failures no matter how embarrassing or self-sabotaging they may be, but all that crap needs to be thrown right out the window in order to become one. This is just one of those moments.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to become LGM but there is a price to pay for such an esteemed and elusive title held by so few members of this community. Some of you might say "don't focus on the title or rating, just solve problems, first reach expert/master", but that's not true. Many people solve thousands of problems and never make it to LGM, or even worse, hit a plateau far below LGM as early as master or even expert. Therefore, "just solve problems" is not the right answer. There has to be a deeper psychological element to it — one must want it more than anything else in this world AND do whatever it takes to get there. I failed to tick both boxes. No excuses.
A more dangerous suggestion that seems to be floating around these days is to accept that your life has already been determined, and that LGM represents the top 0.1% so it's not worth the effort for a newbie/pupil/(insert other rank) who has no idea what they are talking about since it's an improbable scenario. These are spouted by the same people who tend to make "optimal" decisions in favor of probability while shrugging off any ludicrous notions of some dreamland possibility. That might get you an AC in your CP problem, but the "striving" to become LGM should be seen as a possibility, not a probability.
There is very little we know about the limits of the human mind and it is quite arrogant to not only claim that one can "reach LGM in 12 months" (referring to myself), but also the other way around — to deny that one can never approach the level of "gods" who crossed the magical 3000 barrier. These types of conversations serve no purpose other than to create and maintain a religious fan-following that will never attempt to take on the hierarchy, thereby forever accepting it as a static reality and one's own life as a doomed destiny.
Never settle. If you are truly honest with yourself, there is always something you have swept underneath the rug that has been holding you back from improving. Okay, maybe you just want to have fun and are happy with your rating. But I'm sorry, that's just another load of crap. At best, it's a trap of the mind to stay within the domain of what's familiar and comfortable. Challenge yourself further because there is always something to work on. There is a saying — "Don't follow the footsteps of great men, seek what they sought". Take all the inspiration you need from the Petrs, the tourists, the Um_niks, the ecnerwals, but also be sure to give them back the greatest honor — competing directly at the highest level because this is "competitive" programming.
I have learned why I failed, and my quest to become LGM continues without a shread of doubt. I hope yours does too.
(I removed the original post because while it was a fiery and ambitious rant, it is not representative of who I am today. I still have the same goal as stated in that post but the intention and mindset surrounding the pursuit have evolved and matured over the course of a year.)