Take a break and leave room for your brain to think and imagine


On the evening of 6/29, I was reading while my daughter was on the computer doing her project. It was this way for many evenings. Before I left for bed, I told her, “You need to give your brain a break after some times. If you spend all the time on the computer, you leave no time for your brain to think, digest, create and imagine…”

This is what I want to say to many people, especially younger generation. Their time on the computer is way too long to be good and healthy to them.



Use your time to create value, to add joy to your life


Use your time to create value and to add joy to your life.
I post these words on the wall in my office, initially to remind myself not to waste time. On 8/26/14, I looked at these words again and found it extra helpful when something unpleasant cropped up.

I shared something on patient locations with a colleague of mine, thinking she might need it. Instead of showing gratitude, she wrote back, “Do you seriously think I don’t know where these patients are? Give me a break…” I wrote back, “…I don’t know, so I dug them out and just thought of sharing with you…” Obviously, sharing is not always welcome and offering to share can be a slap on your face.

I don’t know how that colleague of mine feels after saying these words. For me, I feel like totally wasting time when I thought I was creating values and adding joy to my life by helping others. I guess I have made a poor judgment when I was trying to be nice and helpful.

In this culture, the best route to happiness is to focus on your own happiness, keeping your eyes and nose off anybody else… Call it selfish. You have to be this way in this extremely individualistic culture.



Key to happiness — void of too many desires


what is happiness

I will get back to this later with some explanation.



A father sending his son off to college


If you feel a sense of loss or overwhelmed with sadness when you have to say goodbye to your child, you will find many parents, be they famous or not famous, share your feeling. I read this piece today, Rob Lowe on sending his son off to college. It is a very touching one, well articulated, though a bit long when the author keeps flashing back to his childhood.

It is nearly a week since my daughter left for Boston. I still could not hold back tears when this morning I opened refrigerator and found blueberry that she likes and we bought for her. Everyday when I drive back home, passing their high school, the memory of going there always come back, hurting me. I don’t remember how many times I cried when I entered an empty house after work.

I told my son “No worry. Time will heal it all.” But as we age, the past is so much present and that past is no more. It seems time won’t do the trick, unless we lose memory of the dear-departed past.

Of course, that will be a terrible thing because that means senior dementia. It’s better to be tortured by the past memories than by any disease of this type. For now, I try to behave well as I know what my children expect me now.



Keep the spirit up…


“What I like most about change is that it is a synonym for hope. If you are taking risk, what you are really saying is ‘I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.‘”
– Linda Ellerbee, an American journalist



The more they walk, the farther away they are from us


The more they walk the farther away they are.
A friend of mine emailed me this 4 characters.
Indeed, the more the children walk, the further away and the more independent they are from us. We will have to live with the reality of a life without them being close by like before.

When I tried to focus on the future, I realized the future would not be as joyful as the past and the past has passed forever. Nothing’s the same. The older we become, the more we realize the past is more present than the present, determined by the biological based matter, which is our past-dominant memory.



My daughter has spent this summer with us, a true luxury


This morning we left for the airport at 7. My daughter would fly to Boston, where she would meet two of her college friends. From Boston, she will go to New York City on 8/19 to stay at her brother’s apartment. She will go back to Boston on 8/28.

Even before she left, I realized it was a true luxury to have her at home this summer, one that I don’t think I will be able to indulge next year and the years after. I am so glad she has decided to spend this summer with us, more than three months, even though this is not her first choice.

The fall semester won’t start until after September. I let her go early because I know she will have a great time with two of her great friends and of course with her brother and his girlfriend. I understand how young people are, that is, they will have hugely more fun with their friends than with their parents. I remember how things were when I was her age.

I miss her so much now.



It is hard to trust anyone you don’t know, really?


Never-trust-writing-to-anyone-that-I-dont-know
Yesterday I sent this email to someone who is doing the same work but at another location of the place where I work. Since both of us have to prepare for the coming audit and they have this kind of audit before, I thought I might learn something by reaching out to see how they prepare for it.

After a few hours, my boss called me regarding this email and inform me how improper it was for me to write to that person instead of directing any question to my boss, making me feel like having committed a big blunder. To say I was mildly disturbed is an understatement. This morning I wrote to that person, cc my boss and the senior director of the whole department:

“I am sorry that I wrote to the wrong person yesterday.
I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding regarding my email to you. Please understand there is nothing personal and entirely professional.

I want you to understand the reasons I wrote to you:
(1) You are the first … on the research contact list. I am your counterpart on the … side. I was asking my counterparts on … sides work related questions.

(2) I thought people at WW had experience with … audit and I might be able to learn something by reaching out to my colleagues. I wasn’t expecting anything more.

(3) There WAS some confusion on our end. Don’t worry there IS no confusion NOW.

Please, next time, I would appreciate it tremendously –
(1) if you don’t know the answer, simply reply to me by saying “I don’t know.”
(2) please INCLUDE me in the Cc.. line if you decide to forward MY EMAIL to anyone else. I appreciate a culture of openness and integrity above anything else.”

Guess what? This person wrote back saying — “No need to apologize to me” He truly believes I was apologetic and even offers to help next time. Yeah right, I still trust writing to anyone at all. What a joke! What a culture! I get into trouble even by asking someone in the same work place some work related questions. A disgusting workplace!



They will provide you lifelong benefits


two of each

Frequent two places throughout your life: playground and library.
Able to go through hardships and endure grievances.
Possess both dreams or goals and the will power to reach your goal
Two best doctors in life are: exercise and optimism
The key to good health is in the morning; the key to success is in the evening.



Tips on shoe buying


I got this from Harvard Medical School newsletter. I might have posted this one before as it was published on 7/11/2013, over a year ago, “8 tips for buying shoes that are good to your feet.” Still, before I delete it from my inbox, I’d like to share it here, even if it means second time around.

“Buying the right shoes is an investment in foot health. But how do you find ones that fit properly and provide adequate support?

Start with your own feet, and look at what’s already in your closet. Stand barefoot on a piece of paper or cardboard, and trace the shape of each foot. Now take your shoes, one by one, and place them on top of the drawing. If you’re like most people, your “comfortable” shoes will closely match the outline of your own feet.

Identify the shoes that cause pain. If you’re a woman, most of these will be shoes with narrow toes or high heels. Check to see if the toe of the shoe is narrower or shorter than your own toes.

When you’re ready to replace some of that uncomfortable footwear, these tips can help:
1. Wait until the afternoon to shop for shoes — your feet naturally expand with use during the day and may swell in hot weather.

2. Wear the same type of socks that you intend to wear with the shoes.

3. Have the salesperson measure both of your feet — and get measured every time you buy new shoes. If one foot is larger or wider than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.

4. Stand in the shoes. Make sure you have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

5. Walk around in the shoes to determine how they feel. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Don’t rationalize that the shoes just need to be “broken in” or that they’ll stretch with time. Find shoes that fit from the start.

6. Trust your own comfort level rather than a shoe’s size or description. Sizes vary from one manufacturer to another. And no matter how comfortable an advertisement claims those shoes are, you’re the real judge.

7. Feel the inside of the shoes to see if they have any tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your feet or cause blisters.

8. Turn the shoes over and examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to provide protection from sharp objects? Do they provide any cushioning? Also, take the sole test as you walk around the shoe store: do the soles cushion against impact? 9. Try to walk on hard surfaces as well as carpet to see how the shoe feel.



Healthy lifestyle helps you stay young even under stress


This is from medpage today, “Healthy Behaviors May Help Stressed Cells Stay Young”
8/2/2014

“In healthy women followed for over 1 year, accumulation of major life stressors predicted telomere attrition. Women who maintained relatively higher levels of health behaviors appeared to be protected when exposed to stress.

Major life stressors appear to be associated with significant acceleration of cellular aging over a relatively short period of time, but engaging in healthy behaviors such as eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may mitigate that effect, a study showed.

While telomere length did not change drastically over the course of the year in the majority of women, there was still a significant amount of change and that change was predicted by life stressors and modifiable healthy behaviors.

The findings support the idea that stressful events can quickly lead to acceleration of immune cell aging in adults and that healthy behaviors can protect cells from this assault, Puterman said.

“In our sample of participants who were eating well, sleeping well, and exercising regularly over the course of the year, the amount of stress they experienced did not seem to impact telomere length,” he told MedPage Today.”



A few things that you can do to boost your energy


This is what I just read today from Harvard Medical School newsletter, just as I was getting tired and feeling the need for re-charging.

Want more energy? Here’s what really helps
We all get tired from time to time, but fatigue tends to become more common as we get older. Assuming your doctor has ruled out medical causes for persistent fatigue, there are a few basic steps you can take to feel more energetic day to day.

(1) Pace yourself. Instead of burning though all your battery life in two hours, spread it out between morning tasks, afternoon tasks, and evening activities — with rest and meals in between.

(2) Take a walk or a nap. A short power nap can restore energy, but if you struggle to get enough sleep at night, napping can make insomnia worse. Rather than take a siesta, get moving. Get up and walk around the block, or just move around. If you are not an insomniac, though, enjoy that 20- to 30-minute power nap.

(3) Skip most supplements. There is no evidence that energy-boosting or “anti-aging” supplements work. In particular:
– DHEA. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone that’s naturally produced by the adrenal glands. There is absolutely no evidence that that DHEA provides any benefit. And you especially shouldn’t be buying it from ads in the back of a magazine, because you don’t know what’s in it.
– Iron. Iron is only beneficial if you are clearly deficient, which a doctor can check with a blood test. Unless you are low in iron, you don’t need to take it, and getting too much iron can be harmful.
– B vitamins. It is true that B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12) help the body convert food into the form of energy that cells can burn, but it’s a myth that taking in more B vitamins supercharges your cells.

(4) Eat long-lasting fuel. Your body burns through sugars and highly processed carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice, or prepared bakery goods, more rapidly than protein and the carbohydrates in whole grains. Instead, try low-fat yogurt with a sprinkling of nuts, raisins, and honey. Your body will take in the carb-fiber-protein mix more gradually. To really sustain yourself over the course of the day, eat a breakfast and a lunch that include complex carbohydrates and protein.

(5) Don’t skip meals. It’s better to evenly space your meals out so your body gets the nourishment it needs all through the day.



College “should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life”


I read this article not long ago, “Ivy League miseducation,” by By Anthony Zurcher. Here’s part of it.

“In a lengthy article in the latest issue of the New Republic, former Yale associate professor (and Columbia graduate) William Deresiewicz says that the prestigious private colleges dotting the US, particularly in the Northeast, are creating a class of entitled ‘zombies’.

The author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to Meaningful Life, writes:

Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.’

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them.’ William Deresiewicz The New Republic.

Ivy League colleges and their ilk, says Deresiewicz, have created an education-industrial complex that processes the children of privilege from cradle to diploma and beyond.

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them,’ he writes. ‘The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk.’

College shouldn’t be this way, Deresiewicz writes. Instead of four years of career training, it should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life.”

It is a very good article, much worth reading and thinking…



More on strength training… how to get more out of it


Focus on form, not weight.
Good form means aligning your body correctly and moving smoothly through an exercise. Poor form can cause injuries and hinder strength gains because you aren’t isolating muscles properly. Start with very light weights because I want them to get their alignment and form right. “It’s good to start off using light to moderate weight when learning an exercise routine.” Concentrate on performing slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group. You isolate a muscle group by holding your body in the position specified for each exercise while consciously contracting and releasing certain muscles.

Tempo, tempo. Control is important.
Tempo helps you stay in control and avoid undercutting gains through relying on momentum. And sometimes switching speed — for example, lowering for three counts and lifting for one count instead of taking two counts for each — can enhance power.

Breathe.
Blood pressure rises if you hold your breath while performing strength exercises. Exhale as you work against gravity (when you’re lifting, pushing, or pulling); inhale as you relax.

Challenge your muscles.
Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two reps while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy to complete all the reps, challenge your muscles again by adding weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds at a time for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs); adding a set to your workout (up to three sets per exercise); or working out additional days per week (as long as you rest each muscle group for 48 hours between strength workouts). If you add weight, remember that you should still be able to do all the reps with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two reps.

Practice regularly.
A complete upper- and lower-body strength workout two or three times a week is ideal.

Give muscles time off.
Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. Muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always allow at least 48 hours between sessions for muscles to recover. You can always do “split sessions” — for example, you might do upper body on Monday, lower body on Tuesday, upper body on Wednesday, lower body on Thursday, etc.

From Harvard medical school newsletter.



Reading on how to write well, part 2


You want to engage your audience, not completely overwhelm them, … The more you write, the more you will learn to walk this fine line between effective display and use of your writerly knowledge and simply showing off–something that is likely to turn off your audience and not help you in achieving your ultimate goal.

The trick, as a writer, is to know for whom you’re writing and what it is you’re trying to convey.

One of the most important factors in good writing is the writer’s understanding of the nature of his or her audience. Perhaps even more important is understanding what particular information you need or want to convey to your audience…you have to know what you want to say, how to say it, and why you want to say it.

When you write, you construct not only an authorial persona, but you also construct an audience.

When you write essay, you want to make your opening as effective and engaging as possible so that people will keep reading.



Reading on how to write well, part 1


Here are some notes that I took on how to write well.

Great writers are always great readers.

The elements of successful writing are insightful reading, careful research, and rigorous analytical thinking. Successful writing requires us to develop active-analytical reading strategies as opposed to passive-receptive reading habits.

Active, insightful reading empowers us to more effectively evaluate and interpret the meaning of what we read.

Writing, when it’s done well, is never just words on a page–good writing invites interaction. The reader engages with the words, interacts with the language and ideas of the author.

Moving beyond the initial reaction (like or dislike) can allow you to appreciate even writing that you might not really like. It can help you recognize the writer’s skill, appreciate the effort the writer made, and admire the emotions he or she is able to make you feel.

A useful thing to remember when you are composing your own writing is that …your audience can’t immediately interact with you in the present moment, so above all you should strive for clarity. You should anticipate questions or moments of confusion, and you should consider the self-image you’re conveying to your audience. How are they going to interpret you and your personality based on what you’ve written?



Two keys to sharp brain in old age


Here’s a free advice from Harvard Medical School newsletter. Trust me, such freebies are getting less and less. Enjoy!

“Two ways to stay mentally sharp
Regular physical activity helps keep your heart, lungs, and muscles in shape and can stave off the effects of aging. In much the same way, exercising your brain can help keep your mind sharp and your memory intact. Here are two ways to activate your brain.

Keep busy and engaged
The MacArthur Foundation Study on Successful Aging, a long-term study of aging in America, found that education level was the strongest predictor of mental capacity as people aged. The more education, the more likely an individual was to maintain his or her memory and thinking skills. Other research has shown that people who held jobs that involved complex work, such as speaking to, instructing, or negotiating with others, had a lower risk of memory loss (dementia) than people whose jobs were less intellectually demanding.

It probably isn’t the years of formal education or the type of occupation itself that benefits memory. Intellectual enrichment and learning stimulate the brain to make more connections. The more connections, the more resilient the brain. That’s how a habit of learning and engaging in mentally challenging activities — like learning a new language or craft — can help keep the brain in shape.

Stay connected
Establishing and maintaining close ties with others is another way to maintain mental skills and memory. There are several ways that social engagement may do this. Social interaction and mentally engaging activities often go hand in hand (think volunteering or tutoring schoolkids). Social relationships can also provide support during stressful times, reducing the damaging effects that stress can have on the brain.

Social support can come from relationships with family members, friends, relatives, or caregivers, as well as from a religious community or other organized group.

Meaningful, socially engaging activities may prove especially helpful. In a study conducted with the Baltimore Experience Corps, volunteers were assigned to either a waitlist (control group) or a group that helped elementary school children during class and library time. Early results suggested that participants who remained engaged in the program for many months improved their executive function and memory.”



Not that many ADHDs, try behavior management


Is it ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or behavior problem? Parents, try behavior management before heading to the doctor’s office. Medicine may seem an easy solution, but good discipline will last longer.

Behavior management/self-management:
(1) Daily routine, having boundaries and consistency in expectation
(2) Positive reinforcement for the effort made not just for the result
(3) Clear rules, instructions, and expectations
(4) Consistent consequences to unwanted behavior



Happiness is not defined by the size of your house…


Happiness is...
1. Happiness is not defined by the size of your house but by the sweetness of the laughter in the house.
2. It is not demonstrated by the luxury car that you drive but by the fact that you drive home safely.
3. Your abundant savings in the bank won’t bring you happiness. Instead, your freedom to do what you please every day is what makes you happy.
4. It is not the beauty but the beautiful smile on the face of your loved one that makes you happy.
5. Being in a high position won’t make you happy. Being praised as a good person wherever you go makes you happy.
6. Being free from illness and disaster makes you happier than simply being well-fed and well-clothed.
7. Happy is he who receives encouragement when in defeat, not he who is loudly applauded in victory.
8. Happiness does not come from the too-often heard sweet talks. Instead, it is when you are sad and weeping, someone tells you, “That’s okay. I am here.”



A family man met his death at the hand of a high-priced call girl


I read this piece of news on 7/9 about a Google exec’s overdose death on yacht.

The 26-year-old high-priced call girl Alix Tichelman and 51-year-old google executive Forrest Hayes “met on SeekingArrangement.com, which according to the website is, for sugar daddies and sugar babies seeking mutually beneficial relationships and arrangements.”

They had met a few times before their Nov. 26 encounter on Hayes’ 50-foot yacht, Escape, at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.”

The “SANTA CRUZ Police have arrested the call girl from Georgia who is suspected of injecting heroin into a Santa Cruz tech executive on his yacht and then fleeing when he overdosed.

“Tichelman, who allegedly worked as a call girl, had an ‘ongoing prostitution relationship’ with Hayes, who was married and a father of five, police said.”

“Hayes, originally from Dearborn, Michigan, worked in the auto industry early in his career. He lived in Santa Cruz for years and worked at technology giants such as Sun Microsystems, Apple and Google, according to his friends and family. He is survived by his wife of 17 years and his five children.

“Forrest will be remembered above all as a loving husband and father. More than anything else he enjoyed spending time with his family at home and on his boat,” according to a January obituary that his family wrote for the Sentinel. “His brilliant mind, contagious smile and warm embrace will be missed and cherished in memories by his friends and family.”

Family man–Hayes’ co-workers and friends described him as intelligent, a family man with a great sense of humor with a penchant for impulse buys.”

This is a big joke or what — a loving husband and father, a family man with 5 children messed up with a 26-year-old high-priced call girl and lost his life? Would he be still alive if he were a truly family man? Of course, he would. Someone got to come up with a new definition of a family man , that is the one with “ongoing prostitution relationship” to convince me that he was one of them.

I know I shouldn’t be too harsh to a “dear departed.” Still, truth be told, he got himself in this ending. A lesson for all is, no matter how rich and successful you are, be good and don’t do what Forrest Hayes had done to himself and to his family. What a shameful ending!



A happy family is the key to one’s health


A happy family is the key to ones health and happiness
I will translate this later.



Remembering my father, July 11, 1987


I searched flowers for my father. There were so many of them that I would like to gather them all for him, which was, of course, not possible. Here are some of them. I know he would like them all. It is 27 years since his departure.

To my father 07112014



People die of what? Anger?


people die of what
Again, I will translate this later, that is, when I have time.



The highest level of …


The highest level

I will translate it later…



Labor surplus in the US, good or bad news for the coming generation?


I read this article on 7/2/14, “U.S. Will Have Something Other Countries Want: A Big Labor Surplus.” This is from the article.

“Over the next 15 years, the U.S. will have a problem that plenty of other countries would love to have: too many workers for the jobs available. That’s according to a report released today by the Boston Consulting Group.

Idle labor isn’t a good thing, especially for the unemployed workers. But you could argue that it beats the alternative, which is having so few workers that jobs go unfilled and economic output falls short of potential. That’s the problem that most other major nations, from Germany to Brazil to South Korea, will face between now and 2030, according to the BCG report.

A relatively high birthrate and liberal immigration policy give the U.S. an advantage in labor supply.”

It seems like a bad thing when you have many people competing for a limited number of jobs in the market. Still, I would say there is always market for really skilled people, people with needed expertise.

Yes, the key to the problem is to be above the average. When you rise above the average, you will face less competition and more opportunities. Go ahead and meet the challenge!



Find a second, grab a book and read


I like this article, “The One Thing Successful People Constantly Do.” Believe it or not, here’s part of the article.

The most successful business people read.

They read way beyond their business field. They consume poetry, fiction, science, philosophy, science fiction, science fantasy, religion, psychology and then some. Without these references, you are doomed to lose prestige when your product knowledge is no longer at issue.

Consider whether you have an education deficit, which is more of a liability than you might think. Consider what subject areas would expand your point of view, like anthropology, fine arts, sociology, physical science, biology, mathematics, linguistics, political science and the whole host of topics that enliven the world with different perspectives.

You can be an autodidact, a MOOC-addict or at least a casual reader in these other fields. However, nothing comes close to being engaged by a teacher or mentor who is dedicated to challenging you on a new subject.

Successful people actively widen or deepen the shallow areas of their education. They never stop learning — really learning, not just apprising themselves of a topic with a Buzzfeed style list.

Read and learn to get a richer framework for life, and life brings you greater riches.”

Now, find a second, grab a book and read.



Re-read the article “Build a career worth having”


This article was posted on 8/5/2013, by Nathaniel Koloc, on Harvard Business Review blog site. When I recently talked about this article with another adult in the house, I said we actually belonged to the great majority of people who, as the article describes, “wait until they are unhappy, look around for opportunities that seem better than their current job, apply for a few, cross their fingers, and take the best option that they can get. Then, they toil away until they are unhappy again, and the cycle repeats.”

The author offers this as the solution to “this dismal cycle.” — “Let go of the idea that careers are linear. These days, they are much more like a field of stepping stones that extends in all directions. Each stone is a job or project that is available to you, and you can move in any direction that you like. The trick is simply to move to stones that take you closer and closer to what is meaningful to you. There is no single path — but rather, an infinite number of options that will lead to the sweet spot of fulfillment.”

Here are his advice:
1. See your career as a series of stepping stones, not a linear trajectory.
2. Seek legacy, mastery, and freedom — in that order.
Legacy. A higher purpose, a mission, a cause. This means knowing that in some way — large or small — the world will be a better place after you’ve done your work.
Mastery. This refers to the art of getting better and better at skills and talents that you enjoy using, to the extent that they become intertwined with your identity. Picture a Jedi, or a Samurai, or a master blacksmith.
Freedom. The ability to choose who you work with, what projects you work on, where and when you work each day, and getting paid enough to responsibly support the lifestyle that you want.

3. Treat your career like a grand experiment.
“The faster and cheaper that you’re able to validate your career hypotheses, the sooner you’ll find fulfillment. You don’t have to take a job in a new industry to realize it’s not for you. You can learn a ton about potential lines of work from reading online, having conversations, taking on side projects, and volunteering.”



Basic mindfulness meditation exercise


From Harvard Medical School newsletter, 6/14/2014, “Ways to become ‘mindful’”

Learning to focus the mind can be a powerful antidote to the stresses and strains of our on-the-go lives. The ability to pay attention to what you’re experiencing from moment to moment — without drifting into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future, or getting caught up in opinions about what is going on — is called mindfulness. This basic mindfulness meditation exercise is easy to learn and practice.

1. Sit on a straight-backed chair, or cross-legged on the floor.
2. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
3. Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas.
4. Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it as good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

The effects of mindfulness meditation tend to be dose-related — the more you practice it, the more benefits you usually experience.
A less formal approach can also help you stay in the present and fully engage in your life. You can practice mindfulness at any time or during any task. Here’s how:

1. Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body.
2. Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air to move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then breathe out through your mouth. Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.
3. Proceed with the task at hand slowly and with full deliberation.
4. Engage your senses fully. Notice each sight, touch, and sound so that you savor every sensation.
5. When you notice that your mind has wandered from the task at hand, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the moment.



Great advice to both seniors and non-senior


write to my 70 self
Write to 70-year-old me,” this was written by someone who is not 70 years old yet.
1. Don’t desire for material possession
2. No more endless nagging
3. Don’t live on your past memory
4. Don’t be opinionated
5. Don’t be complaining
6. Don’t regret
7. Do what you want



One way to help you on the right track


You can define your own tracks. I define it as my personal agenda or goals I have in mind. It is not easy to be on the track all the time, especially when you are at work and exposed to all kinds of events, positive or negative, happy or unhappy. They can, to certain degree, grab your attention or make you lose focus.

One way for me to not lose focus is to have reminders, like pictures of my children, or images of people having special meanings to me.

You can find your own ways to keep yourself on the track, regardless what happens outside. The key is you must have some mechanisms to block outside forces, if you find yourself struggling to keep your mind away from trivial.

Always remember the most important things in life.



Why one-up guys always try to one up others


Don’t be a one-up guy because a person who always tries to one up others is not happy either in a group or with others or in his family. This is the definition from urban dictionary on one-up guy

“A guy who always has to one-up everything anyone says or does. If you say you ran a 5 minute mile, he ran a 4 minute mile. If you say you went swimming this weekend, he’ll tell you he’s a certified lifeguard and swims every weekend. If you say you made coffee this morning, one-up guy will tell you that he grew, harvested, roasted, ground, and brewed his coffee. Usually the one-up explanations are long-winded, boring, and self-serving. Most of the one-up explanations are probably lies.
“e.g. I was telling him about my ski trip to Taos. One-up guy over there spent 20 minutes talking about how he used to be a ski instructor in Taos. I hate one-up guy.”

The bottom line is this:
(1) A one up guy tries to show he is better than or superior over others.
(2) Why? Because a one up guy is insecure. He always feels the need to impress others with his superiority and the need to make people like him or accept him as being the best.
(3) The fact is nobody is stupid and nobody likes one up guy. Consequently, the more one tries to impress others, the more people find him annoying, see through him, dislike him, and the more miserable this one up guy is.
(4) For your own happiness, don’t even try to one up anyone but yourself. The ultimate source of your happiness is this: you impress yourself with your own achievements.

Get it? Yeah, get your happiness from within, not from outside!



Keys to a child’s success in life


key factors to a childs success
I will translate it into English later.

This is what I wrote to my children today,
“Today is the first of the second half of the year. New Year seems like yesterday, but we are already on the way to finish off this year! Cheer up.”



Be a friend to all who know you


Last Friday, a colleague of mine at my previous office wrote to me telling me that she had handed in her resignation and next week would be her last week. She is going back to school full-time now. I am so glad for her. I told her to keep in touch and update me of her progress. Below is what I wrote to her.

“This is the word that I am going to give you and this is what I have tried to follow, no matter where I go. It’s not easy, but trust me this is the only way for people to feel good:
Be a friend to all who know you.
Your friend.”



5 things to avoid in life


5 things to avoid in life



My son is my inspiration


When I went to the central library to fetch my daughter back home on 6/26, I related to her what happened to me that day. Of course, she told me to forget it as it’s not worth wasting my time. Indeed, there are so many important things waiting for me.

I know the event is too trivial to even think about. But in reality, I did find myself struggling to keep it out of my mind. I told my daughter, “I have the pictures of both of you in my office.”

Every time I encounter unpleasant things like this, I look at my son’s picture and say to myself, “My son would think this too trivial to even let it enter his radar of attention. He would not allow such trivial to upset him, not for a second.” He has so many big things on his mind.

When I look at his sunny picture, my mind clears up and I become cheerful once again. Immediately I turn back to what is important to me — my personal agenda.

My son is my inspiration. Thank you, my beloved son.



This is what often happens at my office


Below is exactly what happened yesterday, 6/26/2014, at 10:13 AM. Another colleague of mine wrote to my boss about me having a problem… when in fact she and I don’t even work at the same office and when she knows nothing about my work and how I work. For some unspeakable reason, she just cannot stop stirring up trouble like saying something bad about me behind my back to my boss.

I shouldn’t be bothered by her trouble-making act. Yet, to say I am not upset is a total lie. The day was at least partially blackened out by this. She did this thing to me more than once. I screamed out inside me: Why can’t you leave me alone? Why do you hate me so much that you have to stir up trouble like this? I have no answer. A colleague of mine said some people are addicted to sabotage acts like this. I am just unfortunate to become her target.

In medical documentation, there is a saying, “If it’s not documented, it’s not happened.” I share it here so that I can put it behind me and focus on what is important to me.

From: (my boss)
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:13 AM
To: (monitor)
Cc: VF, another of my colleagues and me
Subject: something very important
Importance: High

(Monitor’s name),

Thank you for your communication with my research team.

(My boss)

—–Original Message—–
From: VF (Yes, that’s the name of the person who does things like this, God knows how many times a day)
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:00 AM
To: (my boss)
Subject: something very important

(my boss),

I believe there is a problem with how (MY NAME here) is handling the issue noted below. I’m not sure what she is communicating regarding cost of mailing [NOTE: it is none of your business to know what I communicate with others] or ….

Thought you should know.

VF



Tips on safe strength training


Harvard Medical School often sends emails for me to buy their articles. On rare occasions, they give away something free, like this one –”seven tips can keep your strength training safe and effective.” Here are the tips which I’d like to share with my readers.

1. Warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a fine way to warm up; stretching is an excellent way to cool down.

2. Focus on form, not weight. Align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains. When learning a strength training routine, many experts suggest starting with no weight, or very light weight. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group.

3. Working at the right tempo helps you stay in control rather than compromise strength gains through momentum. For example, count to three while lowering a weight, hold, then count to three while raising it to the starting position.

4. Pay attention to your breathing during your workouts. Exhale as you work against resistance by lifting, pushing, or pulling; inhale as you release.

5. Keep challenging muscles by slowly increasing weight or resistance. The right weight for you differs depending on the exercise. Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two repetitions while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy to complete all the reps, add weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs), or add another set of repetitions to your workout (up to three sets). If you add weight, remember that you should be able to do all the repetitions with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two.

6. Stick with your routine — working all the major muscles of your body two or three times a week is ideal. You can choose to do one full-body strength workout two or three times a week, or you may break your strength workout into upper- and lower-body components. In that case, be sure you perform each component two or three times a week.
7. Give muscles time off. Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. These tears aren’t harmful, but they are important: muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always give your muscles at least 48 hours to recover before your next strength training session.



Envision yourself five years down the road


There is a new colleague in our research team. She is even younger than my son. She is supposed to drive among five different locations to do her job. I can see she is already a bit stressed after two weeks down in the clinics. I am not sure if she still has time to think of anything else other than her work. Still, I share with her my advice to my children.

I often encourage my children to imagine where they are five years down the road. If you want to achieve a career leap, follow this.
1. Have short-term and long-term goals
2. Have a clear road map to reach your goals
3. Have an open mind to new things and opportunities. Let nothing go by without your close scrutiny
4. Keep constant self-pep talk as morale booster and also as reminder not to forget your goal. Nothing can come true without your believing it
5. Learn from your failures. Move on regardless of all the setbacks.



10 Keys to your happiness, part II


This is a rough translation of last post.

(1) Be in good health
(2) Have a realistic goal
(3) Have self-respect
(4) Have self-control over one’s emotion
(5) Be optimistic
(6) Be generous and forgiving towards others
(7) Have a circle of friends
(8) Get along well with others, being able to integrate in a team
(9) Have a challenging job and proper pastime
(10) Belong to a team or be aware of the group you belong to

No. 6, 7, 8, and 10 talk about our relationship with others. As social beings, our ability to be comfortable with others is essential to our happiness.



10 keys to your happiness


10 keys to happiness
I am at my office right now. Hang on there. I am going to translate this in my next post.



These unpleasant tips on getting the job you want


This is from Money magazine, June 2014 issue, “Get the Line on Unlisted Jobs.” It gives some tips for job hunters. Without these tips, “the job seeker who waits to be tapped on the shoulder might be waiting awhile.” I truly hope my children won’t feel the need to use any of them, that is, they have skills strong enough to get whatever job they desire without having to even think of them.

(1) Talk to the top recruiters. Higher-up HR reps tend to be gate-keepers for higher-level positions, so identify recruiters with sway at the businesses you admire. Write to them or send your resume… “They may not look at it, but they’ll remember your name…” I wish my children have better ways to make themselves known to others.

(2) Make a friend on the inside. Since upper-level jobs are often revealed only internally, it can pay to establish relationships with peers at companies on your wish list. Use LinkedIn to find a second-degree connection then request an introduction from your mutual pal. The trick is how not to make people feel like they are being used.

(3) Impress the C-suite crowd. For you to be identified as a candidate, the companies need to see that you are a known commodity.” “To capture the attention of those with hire power, you must steal the spotlight. This sounds uncomfortable to me.

(4) Get the boss’s buy-in. Not me.

How I dislike these tips, even though deep inside me I know they are useful. In fact, the dreadful fact that one is put in the situation in which one has to resort to these tips.



Pueblo Indian Prayer, love it, though a bit sad


Pueblo Indian Prayer

Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.

Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.

Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.

Hold on to my hand,
Even if I’ve gone away from you.



Do we need to be told again that dream needs actions?


This message is as old as I can remember. That is, dreams need actions, plenty of them, for them to materialize. Dream without actions remain forever a dream.

I can’t believe we still need to be told of this ancient message today and even get celebrity like Shonda Rhimes, on the list of TIME magazine’s 100 people who help shape the world, to repeat it at Dartmouth’s graduation speech.

I don’t feel comfortable reading these words of hers — “Dreams Are for Losers…” I am wondering what Martin Luther King, Jr. would think with his “I have a dream” speech. And don’t forget my favorite piece by Langston Hughes,

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

For me, I still hold my dreams and work steadily toward whatever I fancy to hold.



Revisit New Year Resolution as we approach mid June


As I turned the pages of 2014 calendar, it dawned on me that the mid month and also mid year is approaching quickly, faster than I’d prepare. At this point, I thought of my New Year Resolution and realized that I have somehow moved away from my resolution, not totally though.

At the beginning of the year, I was very determined to move on in my life to another post, to leave the work place that I have been with since 2005. It is rather dreadful to see myself in the same position for a decade. In fact, I still don’t like my work place, more so now than before. But after a few attempts of job hunting and a few interviews, I became disheartened, because the process has been exhaustive and completely fruitless and time-wasting.

I don’t want to keep looking any more. This does not mean I will stop making efforts. Nor does it mean I will give up my personal agenda, totally dedicating myself to my work. That will never happen.

I am glad I revisit my New Year Resolution now as I need to revise it in order to channel my energy and time toward some new goals for the rest of this year.



Help your youngsters cultivate these great habits


I read this piece during the weekend of 6/7/14. I like it so much that I shared it with some of my friends today when I went back to the office.

I told them “I just shared this article with my daughter. I told her ‘You are not twenty-somethings yet, but they are good habits to start having.’ Not sure if she will read it. Still. There is only this much that parents can do with their children. We’ll just do as much as we can while they listen.”

The article “Effective habits to cultivate as enterprising twenty-somethings” lists the following good habits. Below is pretty much a copy of the article.

(1) Read every day
(2) Experiment & launch every week
Get something out the door once every few days. Build and launch, do it quickly while using some intuition to guide you.

(3) Explore your areas of talent
Are the businesses you involve yourself in within your range of passions and talents or are you beating away at something you won’t be able to continue with when things get hard. Working within your element is important not only because you know more about what you’re working on but also because you will feel excited every day to get to work.

(4) Keep your house in order
Stop putting off the small things. Every hour of the day shouldn’t be devoted to business and working. Spend time to clean up the house, keep track of your finances, your relationships and all of those other things you’re building a business for in the first place. If you don’t take care of the little things, they pile up and come back to haunt you, and potentially kill you.

(5) Work out
Exercise, and the lack of, has a huge effect on your health, ability to think clearly and how happy you feel overall. Not to mention, it will improve many other areas of your life… In short, working out will give you the state of mind to stay balanced and clear about what you’re doing.

(6) Save every cent you can
Some day you’ll want to quit your job and work full time on your business. When that happens there is no guarantee you’ll be making mad cash or totally financially stable. Save every cent you can. Set up a few accounts, investments and start throwing money in there every week. This changes your overall outlook on how much you actually need your job and if you can take the risk of pursuing your business full time.

(7) Find more reasons for what you’re doing
Money is a great motivator. But what will that matter if you’re too old or busy to ever enjoy it and explore your life while you’re still fairly young.

My motivator is money as well. However, maybe even more is wanting to travel, be free from a job and enjoy more things while my wife and I are young. Nice cars and big houses don’t need to even be a part of the picture. More than anything, I’m looking for freedom to do what I love while making money and creating value for other people.

(8) Be a strategy builder and problem solver
Just launching random crap without thinking will cause you to run into the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe without learning anything.

The world pays problem solvers everything. Everything we pay into is to solve a need, problem or urge. Problem solvers make life easier and, if they’re smart, get paid for it.

(9) Don’t waste your youth
Maybe another motivator to work hard, get things done right and set yourself up is that twenty years makes a big difference. More importantly, what you do with that time.

My parents are going to retire with almost nothing. A small pension and an outstanding mortgage. How different would things be if they would have saved a little more money for those forty years, gotten better careers and knew what they actually wanted?

Doing these things now saves you a lot of pain later. So many twenty-somethings waste the most critical decade of their lives doing absolutely nothing that they’ll care about five years, months or even weeks from now.

Be smart and work hard.



Good skills, habits or qualities that parents can help their children to develop


In my last post, I have a Chinese version of these skills, habits or qualities that good parenting can help children to develop. I am going to attempt a translation today.

(1) Help children become a good listener. Many people lack of patience today. They either can’t wait to hear out what others have to day or make no effort to understand what other people say.

(2) Help them cultivate a love for reading. Be a diligent reader, that is, seize every moment to read. Be a fast reader and don’t stop at shallow read.

(3) Ability to communicate with anyone at all levels.

(4) Develop a strong written communication skill.

(5) Develop problem solving ability in daily life.

(6) Keep your promise. Mean what you say.

(7) Respect others. Accept responsibilities instead of blaming others when something happens.

(8) Go green. Don’t waste resources.

(9) Influence people around you. Create a positive environment.

(10) Keep an open mind to things that are new to you. Get along well with others.



The best things that parents can leave to their children


I read this one on 6/5/2014 and was eager to share it here. I will try to translate it later.

10 qualities for the children



A very pleasant trip to New York City and Boston


Last Friday, 5/30, three of us went to New York. We left early in the morning and arrived early in the afternoon. We picked up a rental car at the airport, then drove to my son’s apartment at the corner of Park Avenue and 62nd street, to the east of Central Park in Manhattan.

We parked the car in a public parking garage, then walked to my son’s apartment. There we waited till his girlfriend came back from work. Then, five of us drove out of New York to Boston. We stopped overnight at Meriden, CT, Hawthorn Suites, and continued our way the next morning, 5/31, Saturday.

We went to tour Boston College and then walked on Boston busy streets. In the evening, we drove to Northampton, stopped overnight at Hartford, MA. We drove back to New York City Sunday morning, said goodbye to my son and his girlfriend, returned the rental car, took the shuttle bus to the airport. By the time we got back home, it was around 1:30 AM, Monday morning.

What a wonderful weekend!



Holding no opinion on anything? Easy said than done for all of us


“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”
— Charlie Munger

“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.”
— Charlie Munger

“The ability to destroy your ideas rapidly instead of slowly when the occasion is right is one of the most valuable things. You have to work hard on it. Ask yourself what are the arguments on the other side. It’s bad to have an opinion you’re proud of if you can’t state the arguments for the other side better than your opponents. This is a great mental discipline.”
— Charlie Munger



Think outside the box, realize and break your mental set


We all tend to have a certain fixed way of thinking, which is often rigid, settled, anchored, or rooted. Call it our established mental set or a mental box. The box is made of our past experience, knowledge, prejudice and almost everything we have learned in the socialization process.

I have heard people say something like “Don’t get into the box in the first place.” I am not sure if you can do it since the mental box is an inalienable part of our growing up experience.

The undesirable thing about this in-box thinking is it prevents us from thinking creatively and successfully. It binds our hands and feet and issues a virtual order on what we can and cannot do. Haven’t you met people who are likely to say “It is impossible” even before they try it? This is the effect of in-box thinking.

The first step to think creatively is to be aware of the mental box that you are in. Once you realize the retriction, try to challenge yourself and see how many different ways you can think on certain issues.



Money, travel, and regret or no regret


Early last Sunday morning, 5/25, a friend of ours and her whole family went on a three-week tour in some European countries. While they have been to Europe many times, our family has never been there once. I felt a bit sad that we were not able to go while both of my children were home with us. The trip really is expensive. Compared to some of the Chinese here, we are relatively less affluent, which is why we have not travelled outside the country as much as some of our friends. I told my son that I felt like a loser, in economical sense. I feel my children have been deprived of a lot of fun in their childhood because of this.

Shortly after I was laid off from Sprint, I had opportunities to go back IT job and maintain my IT salary if I were willing to travel to other places and take on short-term contract positions. But if I did, it would mean leaving the children behind. So I chose to give up these opportunities and stay with them till they are able to be on their own, believing I could always made money but the children needed me for only these few years. I am glad I have made this decision. Still, I feel like finding lame excuses for my financial failure in life.

No matter what happened, I have tried my best to provide a protective and well-guided life to both of my children. When looking back, the only big comfort to me is to see both of them have turned out well-bred and well-educated and are well on their way to a much better life than mine.

I regret not having traveled widely while my children were home with me, but no regret for my past decision.



Read in order to be a better and understanding people


I don’t remember where I read this or who said this. I thought of this while making origami for a colleague of mine today–
The purpose of literature is to realize other people really exist.
That is, through reading we get to know more people, their lives and their experience. With this understanding, we will hopefully become less self-centered and more sympathetic and understanding, and eventually can co-exist peacefully with others. Isn’t that a wonderful thought?



Here are the steps to lower Alzheimer’s risk


I know there is nothing new about this. Still, every time I read something along this line from Harvard Medical School (HMS) newsletter, I feel the urge to share it here. I especially wish my children will pay attention to this as their paternal grandfather was inflicted with senile dementia in his early 70s.

Here are the 5 steps to lower Alzheimer’s risk from HMS:
(1) Maintain a healthy weight. Cut back on calories and increase physical activity if you need to shed some pounds.

(2) Check your waistline. To accurately measure your waistline, use a tape measure around the narrowest portion of your waist (usually at the height of the navel and lowest rib). A National Institutes of Health panel recommends waist measurements of no more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

(3) Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; protein sources such as fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes; plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.

(4) Exercise regularly. This simple step does great things for your body. Regular physical activity helps control weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, rowing), can also help chip away total body fat and abdominal fat over time. Aim for 2 1/2 to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.

(5) Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, ask your doctor whether your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar are within healthy ranges. Exercise, weight loss if needed, and medications (if necessary) can help keep these numbers on target.

Of course, I have to add this last and the most important activity: use your brain daily. Yes, use if you don’t want to lose.



The most peaceful and joyful moments that I once enjoyed


It is Wednesday morning, 5/21/2014. Right now I am sitting in my office, all by myself, with the monitor in the monitor room. Quiet and alone, seemingly peaceful and undisturbed by anything outside. Still, I think of my children, of the time I spent with them when they were little and when they are home. How peaceful and relaxing these moments were. How heavenly happy and joyful I was when I was with them.

Work is not stressful here and people at my new office are nice and friendly. Still, I’d rather spend my time at home with my children. I don’t want to analyze myself and find out why I don’t enjoy myself at work. This is how I feel now.



An ideal family or what a relationship between two should be


This is from a friend of mine. It is all well said, yet I have not seen anything like that from what I observe among my friends and acquaintances. In fact, the opposite is what I know of. Well, this is at least what an ideal family or relationship should be.

(1) The couple should pay attention to the changes in, the strength of and the positive words articulated by each other.
(2) There should be less complaint, less blame-game, less misunderstanding in a family.
(3) Think more of what each other has done. Truly appreciate each other’s strength. Understand each other’s situation. Forgive each other’s weakness.
(4) Words should be often said inside a family:
-Thank you.
-I am sorry I made a mistake.
-I believe you.
-I am proud of you.
-I love you.
(5) The couple should try to have a common life’s goal, environment of living, conversation topic, and friends.
Finally, there is no right or wrong in a family. There is only harmony and lack of harmony. Family is the place where love dominates not reason.



Do something everyday and make it a habit


I read this article “Write Code Every Day” by John Resig before my daughter came back. I was going to share with her after she came back. This is once again written by someone who, apart from his day job, has side project or hobby or something he dreams of pursuing but it is not without a heavy dose of will power to make it happen.

“Last fall, work on my coding side projects came to a head: I wasn’t making adequate progress and I couldn’t find a way to get more done without sacrificing my ability to do effective work at Khan Academy. There were a few major problems with how I was working on my side projects. I was primarily working on them during the weekends and sometimes in the evenings during the week. This is a strategy that does not work well for me, as it turns out. I was burdened with an incredible amount of stress to try and complete as much high quality work as possible during the weekend (and if I was unable to it felt like a failure). This was a problem as there’s no guarantee that every weekend will be free – nor that I’ll want to program all day for two days (removing any chance of relaxation or doing anything fun).

There’s also the issue that a week between working on some code is a long time, it’s very easy to forget what you were working on or what you left off on (even if you keep notes). Not to mention if you miss a weekend you end up with a two week gap as a result. That massive multi-week context switch can be deadly (I’ve had many side projects die due to attention starvation like that).

Inspired by the incredible work that Jennifer Dewalt completed last year, in which she taught herself programming by building 180 web sites in 180 days, I felt compelled to try a similar tactic: working on my side projects every single day.”

Illustration by Steven ResigI decided to set a couple rules for myself:
I must write code every day. I can write docs, or blog posts, or other things but it must be in addition to the code that I write.

It must be useful code. No tweaking indentation, no code re-formatting, and if at all possible no refactoring. (All these things are permitted, but not as the exclusive work of the day.)
All code must be written before midnight.
The code must be Open Source and up on Github.

Some of these rules were arbitrary. The code doesn’t technically need to be written before midnight of the day of but I wanted to avoid staying up too late writing sloppy code. Neither does the code have to be Open Source or up on Github. This just forced me to be more mindful of the code that I was writing (thinking about reusability and deciding to create modules earlier in the process).

Thus far I’ve been very successful, I’m nearing 20 weeks of consecutive work. I wanted to write about it as it’s completely changed how I code and has had a substantial impact upon my life and psyche.
With this in mind a number of interesting things happened as a result of this change in habit:
Minimum viable code. I was forced to write code for no less than 30 minutes a day. (It’s really hard to write meaningful code in less time, especially after remembering where you left off the day before.) Some week days I work a little bit more (usually no more than an hour) and on weekends I’m sometimes able to work a full day.”



Easier said than done, always, even in ancient times


Read this story about Su Dongpo, a famous poet in Song Dynasty. Laugh at yourself first before you laugh at Su. Find someone to translate it for you if you so want to know it. I don’t have time for it now.
easy said than done



How to avoid these stupid things


I dug out this article and was ready to throw it away when something happened lately and that reminded me one of the stupid things mentioned in this article. I am sure I have posted this one before. Still, it doesn’t hurt to post it again just to remind people to avoid them. Here are these stupid things. For details, please go to the original article.

1. Whose Fault it is
2. Celebrity and Sports Gossip
3. Sexual Jealousy
4. Being Right
5. National Politics
6. Trying to Impress Other People
8. Being Offended
9. The Fact that I skipped Number 7 on this list
10. Buying a Bunch of “Nice” Stuff
11. Waiting in line for 36 hours to buy some new product the day it’s released
12. Hiding Your Flaws



We all need to get started everyday


Getting Started Is Everything” by Adam Pash, someone who has a day job and a plan to work on his hobby after work but seldom puts his plan to action.

“Nothing’s better than sinking your teeth into a satisfying after-hours side project—or what I guess most people may just call a hobby. But after 10 hours at work, it’s not always easy to muster the energy to switch off your TV and go to work on your project. The trick I use is simple, self-evident, and it works. Getting started is everything.”

Sound familiar? Yes, like you and me, he takes forever to even get started, finds all kinds of excuses to postpone starting the project he has in mind. Thus, with each passing days, so passed whatever dream that we may initially have, till having no time and energy left for anything but cooking, cleaning and resting. Well, not he, but many people. That’s why I share his article here.



Tricks to cut cooling costs


On May 2014 issue of Money magazine, there is a page on energy savings during hot summer. Here are some tips:

Three habits of the energy efficient:
1) Use the shades to block solar heat.
2) Keep the air flowing by leaving the doors and vents open. Don’t put furniture in front of the vent.
3) Open windows strategically. If it is humid, your system will have to work hard to remove the moisture.

More tips:
1) Clear the condenser by pruning back shrubs and ground covers at least a foot away from your outdoor A/C equipment.
2) Get a checkup: have a technician service your central-air system every year or two.
3) Replace filters, install new filters at least twice a year.
4) Plant a tree on the south or west side of your home.
5) Tighten ducts, hire an energy efficiency contractor to seal and insulate attic ducts.
6) Install ceiling fans.
7) Upgrade, if your A/C is more than 10 years old and you are in a hot summer, replacement will pay for itself quickly.

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