This is what happened yesterday after work when I was at the gas station on Holmes a little north of highway 435. An elderly lady with her car hood popped up was moving around and her car parked at one spot where people normally fill the gas. She kept popping up and down the car hood. I thought there might be something wrong with her car, that is, her car would not start or something on that line.
I drove in front of her car to take up another spot. While I was filling the gas to my highlander, I heard her talking over the phone to her child, loudly.
This is her story. She was obviously handicapped when she moved around. Her face reveals a life of hardships, miseries, poor health, anything you want to avoid. Her husband was admitted into hospice, dying of AIDS. She spent all the money on her husband’s medical expenses. Now she ran out of money after she spent all on her car. She didn’t even have money to buy grocery. There was a toddler in her car, whom she also kept talking to. She was talking and crying, and kept going to grab car wash paper towel for her nose and eyes. She is a total picture of sadness and dejection, reminding me of Hugo’s novel les misérables. I kept thinking “How could anyone fall into this wretched state of living in today’s world?”
I knew I must do something before I drove away from her. I reached out to my purse and gave her a $20 bill that I normally kept for emergency. She grabbed my hand to express her gratitude. Honestly, her hands looked very unclean.
As I drove away, I saw her starting her car and was leaving, too. My heart was too full to think of anything. Now when I looked back, it was obvious that there was nothing wrong with her car. Most likely she was there begging for help.
There should be many government agencies that take care of people like them. At least I know there are many food banks serving them who cannot put food on the table. What else does she need if food is not the issue? Drug or what? I don’t want to think about it. I can’t imagine people can mess up their lives so miserably.
My heart sank when I went there again,
When, a year ago, my daughter insisted,
“Mommy, get yourself a new clothes.”
“Me? No,” I told her,
“Old and ugly needs no new clothes.”
“Uh-uh,” she protested,
“You are most beautiful when you smile.”
A daughter’s bias took me back 20 years, when
My sisters asked my son, 5-year-old,
“Who’s the most beautiful of us three?”
“My mom,” he answered without looking.
“I mean it,” my daughter kept saying,
“I wish I had your smile. I do.”
Now, she reminds me from her Boston dorm.
“My sweetest daughter, I will, because
Forever, your word will warm up my heart.
PS. when I shared it with a friend of mine, he said, “Your daughter is right, smile is beauty… You know it for long, but when it comes from your daughter’s voice, it tastes better.”
On 9/14/2014, one day after my birthday, I thought I would spoil myself a little bit by spending an afternoon at Barnes & Noble’ bookstore. I often visited this place when my daughter was home. This was the first time that I went there since she left. A strange feeling.
Among others, I read this one “The Power of Reflection: Insight into our own thoughts, or metacognition, is key to high achievement in all domains,” by Stephen M. Fleming, on Scientific American Mind 25, Sept-Oct 2014. Here are the main ideas.
1. Metacognition is the ability to make judgments about our own thoughts—for example, assessing whether a memory is accurate or a decision is appropriate.
2. People vary in the accuracy of their metacognition. Certain psychological disorders, including dementia and schizophrenia, can impair this ability.
3. Several strategies appear to shore up metacognition, including meditation and taking breaks while studying to reflect on one’s own learning.
Reading Time magazine, 9/22/2014 issue, “10 Questions, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.”
Q: If you are stuck picking up dry cleaning, what’s the best way to ask your boss to take you more seriously?
A: Say, “I love this company. I love this job. I am willing to do anything, because I am that kind of person. I do want to make sure I am progressing and taking on things that are going to challenge me more. Can you walk me through the things I need to demonstrate so I can earn more responsibility?”
Q: Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?
A: When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us overestimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.
Q: How should college women balance exploring different interests with focusing on career goals?
A: It can be either, but you have to be explicit. Maybe you want to use college to …. But don’t let life happen– make it happen.
In other word, no matter what your goals are, do something to make it happen.
When you are disturbed by something or somebody, focus on yourself, instead of on someone or something that disturbs you in the first place.
When you find yourself helplessly locked in a seemingly hard-to-change undesirable lifestyle, the best tactic is pray. Pray is to focus, to trust, and to surrounder yourself. It forces you to look inward and connects you to your inner self.
I wrote it in my notebook a long long ago, so long that I even forgot when I ever copied it. I must love it at that time when I copied it. My handwriting was still neat and clear. Here’s the whole poem. Hope you like this one.
“Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.
The little poem will sing to you
the little picture bring to you
a dozen dreams to dance to you
at night when you’re in bed.
Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.”
I am not busy at office, which is a good thing. Because I will have more time for myself to do what I enjoy.
I used to enjoy helping people at other sites, but I have changed my mind after I learned from the manager that one colleague of mine complained of the mistakes that I made while helping her, saying that I had created more work for her than not doing it at all. This is of course a very unfair judgment. I made no attempt to argue with her. Peace, this is all I want.
I finally figure out this simple division of labor under the sun: your job, other people’s job, and God’s job.
The world would be a wonderful place if you only focus on your job and let others and God take care of theirs.
This should be nothing but common sense to all men. The fact it is posted online in Chinese and passed around as a popular post emphasizes the severe and sad lack of it. I translate it to English for my son and will forward it to him someday.
A man says to his wife.
“I am thankful to you, because
— you agree to be part of my life. You might not be the perfect one in my life, but you are the only one.
— You agree to allow me to be part of your life. I might not be the perfect one in your life, but I will try my best.
— You love me. You might not be the first one I fell in love, but you are the last and the best one.
— You allow me to love you. I might not be the first one you fell in love, but I am confident that I am the last and the most loved one.
— your way of thinking, even if you think differently from I.
— your expression of love, even though it might not be the best one.
— your family, even though I value my family more than do yours.
— your privacy, even though I want to know more than you want to share.
— your friends, even though I don’t know them.
— your hobbies and interests, even if I don’t enjoy them.
Continue note sharing.
I know there are many ways of attacking a problem. Here’s something that I wrote years ago. I think they still help.
1) Don’t underestimate
2) Don’t exaggerate
3) Don’t wait
4) Don’t aggravate
5) Do illuminate and describe what it is
6) Do motivate
7) Do set date for keeping problem under control
8) Do communicate
9) Do insulate and isolate
10) Do Divide and conquer
“To every man his chance, to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity–to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him–this, seeker, is the promise of America.”
from The Promise of America, Thomas Wolfe
Continue my note sharing.
Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind. — William James
A man is what he thinks about all day long. — Emerson
The first step towards philosophy is incredulity.” –Diderot
There will never be another now–I’ll make the most of today.
There will never be another me–I’ll make the most of myself.
For winners, life consists not in getting more but in being more and knowing more.
Winners do not get their security by controlling others. They do not set themselves up to lose.
There is never a scarcity of opportunity; there is a scarcity of resolution and determination to realize your dream.
I have many responsibilities, but I don’t worry about them. I plan, I work hard, but I don’t get anxious about results.
Children who grow up without hearing no from their parents will be terribly brittle when they have to take no from life itself–and worse, they will have a hard time saying no to themselves.
The very best way to change someone is to begin with your own example. You behave in the way you expect others to behave.
“To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons” or cook dinners or clean their bathroom. — Marilyn French
Continue from sharing my notes.
Have a self you respect.
Turn disappointments into strength.
Enjoy life’s process, not just life’s rewards.
Marx’s favorite maxim — “Nothing human is alien to me.”
His favorite motto — “One must doubt of everything.”
Become involved in something bigger than yourself.
Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade…Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image…always picture success, no matter how badly things are.
If your mind tells you that you are tired, the body mechanism, the nerves, and the muscles accept the facts. If your mind is intensely interested, you can keep on at an activity indefinitely… By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind, it can increase energy.
Do what you love; Focus on what you do. But be detached from the results while you are doing it.
According to your faith in yourself, according to your faith in your job…this far will you get and no further.
The greatest factor in any undertaking is one’s belief about it.
Keep calm. Tension blocks the flow of thinking power. Your brain cannot operate efficiently under stress.
On 9/9/2014, I told my daughter that “I must do something that will make both of you proud of.” Yes, I am still trying to be a good mom to both of them.
More from my previous reading notes,
“Man ultimately decides for himself! And in the end, education must be education toward the ability to decide.” — Viktor Frankle
Achieving autonomy is the ultimate goal in transactional analysis. Being autonomous means being self-governing, determining one’s own destiny, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and feelings, and throwing off patterns that are irrelevant and inappropriate to living in the here and now.”
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear of newer and richer experiences.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.” — Henry Adams
Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.” — T.W. Higginson
“The man who has daily inured himself to habits of concentration, attention, energetic volition and self-denial in unnecessary things, will stand like a tower when everything rocks around him, and when his softer fellow-mortals are winnowed like chaff in the blast.” — William James
“Most men fail, not through lack of education, but from the lack of dogged determination, from lack of dauntless will.” — O.S. Marden
The secret of Victor Hugo is his stupendous energy and self-confidence, enabling him to hurl the whole of himself into whatever he has on hand.
No doubt his egoism was monstrous, but a man who thought less well of himself could not have risen,…to heights at which he seems to be expressing.
We build up the feeling of insecurity or security by how we think.
Practice thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what…
“They conquer who believe they can.” — Emerson
I felt excited when I read this paragraph during my youth years. Today, the paragraph still serves as a reminder. That is, I should not waste time, my precious life, on trivial in life.
“Man’s dearest possession is life, and it is given to him but once. He must live so as to feel no torturing regrets for years without purpose, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, when dying, he can say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world…” — Karl Marx
“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.” –O.W. Holmes
When you read, try to find out the part that can challenge you to think deep and get rid of the rest. This way you can unburden your brain and avoid distractions.
(1) Clean your room or house. The old stuffs can remind you of the past which is here no more. It can only aggravate your sadness. The best thing to do is to leave the place that is associated with the past and get into a place totally new and unrelated.
(2) Look at old pictures. In fact, stay away from anything that is associated with the past. Don’t do this unless you think you are not depressed enough.
(3) Keep everything to yourself. Instead, find some outlets, like sharing your feeling with your friends or someone who faces similar situation. A great camaraderie is very essential here.
(4) Lock yourself in your room. The isolation only serves to make you more focus on your sad sorry existence, which is suicidal. Don’t do that.
(5) Writing can be cathartic and therapeutic to some people, but essentially writing is a lonely act. It sometimes makes me feel worse. If you are like me, stay away from writing until you think you feel better.
I had nearly the whole weekend doing cleaning both inside and outside the house. Yard work is back-breaking, made especially miserable under the hot weather. Indoor cleaning is physically comfortable but emotionally painful. I am more dreadful of indoor cleaning because the sight of old stuffs brings back memories of the past when both of my children were small and with me. I’d rather either leave things as they are or throw them all out of door. But I can’t do either of them.
In one corner, I found a notebook that I wrote in 1994, exactly 20 years ago. Oh boy, time flies! To be sure, the notebook is filled with reading notes. Here are one of them.
“…I think on the whole that the sort of method adopted by Descartes is right: that you should set to work to doubt things and retain only what you cannot doubt because of its clearness and distinctness, not because you are sure not to be induced into error, for there does not exist a method which will safeguard you against the possibility of error.”
7 habits that help keep things to minimum
1. Don’t take. If it is free, it is perhaps not valuable.
2. Don’t buy. Impulsive buy seldom bring long-lasting joy
3. Don’t store.
4. Abandon. Old books, magazines, beautiful packaging, etc.
5. Replacement. If you only use it once a year, don’t buy it. Create a temporary one to avoid another addition to the house.
6. Borrow or rent. If you cannot make it by yourself, consider borrow or renting.
7. It’s ok not to have it all. Before any purchase, ask yourself if the new purchase makes real difference in your life.
Here are more details from yesterday’s posting.
26 ways to a life unburdened by materials. Note I only copy 24 of them.
On material and money,
1. Simple and creative. Don’t allow materials block your vision.
2. Beauty of nothing. Say goodbye to useless materials and to your past.
3. Going minimum. Get rid of the habit of storing stuffs
4. Pay forward. Give your stuffs to those in Get rid of the habit of not wanting to give.
5. A little makes a big loss. Small purchases build up a mountain of hard-to-removed stuffs
6. Avoid impulsive buy. Listen to your clean soul. Do you really like and need it?
7. You are what you buy. It’s not the matter of thrift but of choice.
8. Choose natural beauty instead of using accessories.
9. Choose minimum life cost instead of constantly seeking for higher living standard.
10. Find your best fit instead of chasing fashions.
11. Make your time creative and learn to find point of creativity in your work. Leave the job you are not good at.
12. Focus on the task on hand instead of trying for multi-tasking
13. Look at yourself. Don’t over- and under-estimate yourself.
14. Sing for one if that’s the right one, instead of following the crowd.
15. No change, no future. Don’t use other people’s rule to restrict you. It is you who eventually restrict you.
16. Trust your instinct, instead of relying on the old map.
17. Now is the time. Now is the chance. No procrastination.
18. Be a specialist instead of a jack-of-all trades and good at none.
19. Rise and shine. No midnight candle burning. The key of a day is in the morning
20. Be hungry and rest. Avoid poor quality slumber.
21. A hungry dog hunts best. Don’t overeat.
22. Be yourself. Don’t be a slave of other’s opinions.
23. You are what you say. Get rid of profanities.
24. Studying is a tool. Do not study for the sake of study.
A little makes a big loss
You are what you buy
Make your time creative
Focus on the main task
Look at yourself. Don’t overestimate yourself
Sing for one instead of following the majority
Follow your own pace
You are the only restriction on yourself
Trust your instinct
Now is the time. Don’t procrastinate.
Be a specialist, not an all-arounded
Rise and shine. Avoid staying late
Be hungry and sleep well
A hungry dog hunts best
You are what you say. No dirty language
Studying is just a tool, not an end
Ok to do without
— More details tomorrow
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 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.
I will get back to this later with some explanation.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
This is from medpage today, “Healthy Behaviors May Help Stressed Cells Stay Young”
“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.”
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.
(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
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.”
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!
I will translate this later.
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.
Again, I will translate this later, that is, when I have time.
I will translate it later…
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!
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.
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.”
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.
“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
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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
Cc: VF, another of my colleagues and me
Subject: something very important
Thank you for your communication with my research team.
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
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.
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.
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.
Next Page »
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.