Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Nov 30, 2010

Don’t Set Yourself Up for Injury

Filed under: Crime — admin @ 12:27 am

One of the relatives of my colleague had this unfortunate experience. The girl, a young college student, went to a party and got drunk. When she woke up from her dissipation, she found herself being raped, lying outside in the open and totally naked. She had to walk to a nearby house to seek help.

Imagine the agony the young woman had to endure! But, when people talked about it, I got the feeling that the girl herself was partially blamed for her misfortune. “She set herself up for it. She shouldn’t get drunk with a bunch of irresponsible people. If you want to get drunk, make sure you are with some trustworthy people.”

This reminds me of the death of the 18-year-old Kelsey Smith on June 2, 2007. When people watched the video showing how Smith was abducted away from a store’s parking lot, commenting the way she was dressed set herself up for guys with bad intention. Her scantly dressed appearance served to catch attention in a harmful way. In pleading guilty in July 2007, her killer admitted that he had spotted the barely dressed Smith inside the Target store at 97th Street and Quivira Road about 7 p.m. on June 2, 2007. He went outside and waited for her, next raped and killed her.

I would recommend not to get drunk in the first place. Secondly, never put yourself in any kind vulnerable situation either in the way you dress or mixing with the wrong people. The key is to practice self-protection pro-actively in whatever way you can think of.

1, Nov 29, 2010

Sarah Palin Called North Korea US Ally

Filed under: American Culture — admin @ 12:17 am

Back to work after a week off. I find it hard to resist this posting. Here it is to cheer up the end of November weather.

Knowledge is power, so was it true when Dan Quayle failed to spell the word potato in 1992 and remains to this day number one America’s dumb politician; so it is true today when Sarah Palin twice called North Korea US ally on 11/25/2010.

In both cases, their lack of knowledge empowered their political opponents with much needed ammunitions to send them to where they belong and surely guarantee them a place for them in the history book as the dumbest politicians in the U.S.

How much educated can we expect American youngsters to become if the nation were governed by the folks like Dan-Palin alliance?

1, Nov 28, 2010

Public Speech: A Chance to Demonstrate Your Ability

Filed under: Leadership — admin @ 12:20 am

On 11/20, early Saturday, I drove my daughter to University Academy for regional AcaDec competition. She was practising public speech all the way there. This reminded me of the time when my son was doing the same thing to prepare for one of the events at the AcaDec — public speech.

I remember having written something on public speech in leadership category. Still, I have to emphasize once again its importance. You don’t have the chance to make yourself known to many people. Hence, your speech at a large gathering provides you an opportunity to broadcast the best of you and to demonstrate the inner value that you normally have no chance to reveal. You can gain instant recognition simply by making an outstanding speech at such a gathering.

Of course, the speech has to be of high quality, revealing a clear thinking and a well-thought insight, with consistency, coherence and good organization. It takes some practice to reach this level.

1, Nov 27, 2010

The Thanksgiving Break

Filed under: Miscellaneous — admin @ 12:48 am

I had the whole week off from 11/22 to 26, a nice break, though not as long as I need. The first two days saw me cleaning the house, taking care of some bills, and working on my project. I set a timer while cleaning so that I did not get carried away by my enthusiasm over it and spend the rest of the day on it. The two days rushed by and disappeared quickly than an arrow.

My daughter started Thanksgiving break on Wednesday and I have been working with her on some of her favorite and less favorite projects since she got back home. I told her to start with a plan for each day. “You know how fast a break can whisk away no matter how long the break is,” said I. My son did not come back for this break. We are expecting him to be back in mid December.

Even though she did not have piano lesson on Thursday and skating lesson on Friday, I was busy on both days, getting ready for two gatherings at friends’ houses. As always, we ate and chatted while my daughter found a quiet corner doing whatever she needs to.

1, Nov 26, 2010

Black Friday Shopping: Do We Have To?

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:01 am

Last week, after the monitor finished her work with me, she started chatting about Black Friday shopping. She was at loss as what to buy for her son. “His room is like a daycare,” she commented. That means he has all sorts of toys in his room. That is a huge amount for a two-year-old! “He has everything. What else can I buy for him?” puzzled this monitor. I was tempted to tell her this, “Buy nothing. If you do incline toward getting him something, get him the value of not-wanting-too-much. Indeed, get him Christmas value!” Well, I know better than sharing it with her.

This reminds me of another colleague’s dilemma over buying Christmas gifts for her relatives every year. I am amazed at people’s inability to think out of the box and to question the sanity of the so-called norms. Common sense tells us that we should not buy anything that we don’t need, holiday being no exception. We know Christmas is the season of giving to the underprivileged, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, instead of indulging people’s insatiable desirable for material possession.

On the positive side, this shopping season is good for our consumer-driven economy.

1, Nov 25, 2010

Count Our Blessings Today and Always

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:23 am

1, Nov 24, 2010

Spartan, Laconic, Brevity in Writing

Filed under: Writing — admin @ 12:55 am

On the Sunday morning of 11/14, while I was walking, I listened to Modern Scholar lecturers — “Wars That Made the Western World: The Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the Punic Wars.” I thought of the story that I read long ago about the origin of the word laconic. It happened in the land of Laconia-Spartan. King Philip of Macedon wrote to Spartan magistrates, expressing his desire to conquer Sparta, “If I invade your country, I will level your great city” The answer from the Spartan was one word, “If.” Indeed, that was a big IF. That was how we got the word laconic.

Just a few days before that, I read someone’s motto of life — Action speaks louder than words. I am sure this person is spartanly laconic. His motto threatens to put me to shame as I have been uttering non-laconically for over two years. No wonder sometimes my children find it difficult to put up with me when I start talking. Hence, I will strive for brevity in my writing.

1, Nov 23, 2010

Be Thankful: The Week Before Thanksgiving

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:35 am

On 11/17/2010, last Wednesday, nearly one week before Thanksgiving, I started the day at SW clinic at 6:30 AM and ended at SM one. I had to stay late in the office trying to wrap up many things as I would not go back to SM until after Thanksgiving week. I needed to go to our west clinic on Thursday and SW clinic on Friday and off the whole Thanksgiving week. Anyway, the day seemed long and tiresome. I had to drag my feet out of the office.

When I drove back home, an uncomfortable feeling crept up as it was gloomily dark and cold and wet with rain. The thought of a warmly-lit home was very attractive. On the way back I noticed some construction workers still hard at work on the highway, under this weather condition.

The sight of these people brought immediate relief to whatever uncomfortable feeling that I might have at the moment. I bet they would rather be in my shoes in this early winter evening. I remember a Chinese couple living 5 blocks from our house don’t return home until after 10 PM everyday for over a decade, the husband working at a Chinese restaurant and the wife at a grocery store. Sometimes, it takes some comparison to be thankful and to realize how blessed we are.

1, Nov 22, 2010

Soft Addictions, Self-Control, and Seek Outside Help

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:50 am

When my daughter and I talked about soft addictions, we realized it was so easy for people to develop some types of soft addictions, like over-spending your time on the internet or TV or something else.

I told her, “You know the good part about you is you own it up and ask for outside help when you find yourself wasting too time on some sites when you should be on your school work. Too bad not many people share your honest attitude.”

Soft addiction will hurt you if you don’t confront the reality of your addiction and your lack of self-control, and refuse to seek outside help, allowing it to take over your life, slowly and steadily.

1, Nov 21, 2010

Your Soft addictions can Quietly Take Away Your Dreams and Everything You Treasure

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:12 am

I read from some magazine on a weekend, but I forgot the name of the magazine. It talks a little bit of the damages of soft addictions to our health. This is the first time that I heard of this term, but it sounds pertinent and thought-provoking. Here’s the definition from wiki.

“A soft addiction is a seemingly harmless habit—like watching too much TV, overshopping, excessively listening to music, overeating, or surfing the Internet for hours at a time—that takes up excessive time, money, and energy. It numbs a person from their feelings and mutes their consciousness. The term was coined by Judith Wright, an educator, author, and founder of the Wright Graduate Institute. Soft addictions can be activities, moods or ways of being, avoidances, and things-edible and consumable. Many soft addictions involve necessary behaviors like eating, reading, and shopping. They become soft addictions when people overdo them and when they are used for more than their intended purpose.”

Sometimes, soft addictions provide people with a channel of escape or an excuse when they try to avoid tackling something they don’t like. e.g. a child would not tear himself away from TV when he thinks of the alternative being his homework or he spends more than enough time on his favorite subject so as to postpone doing the subject he does not like. I have seen too many people whose lives have been negatively impacted by their soft addictions.

Obviously, soft addictions bring damage to our health when we overdo anything way too much. Yet, more hideous than this is — they can weaken us, devalue us, render us hopeless, and make any of our dreams irrelevant when our hours and days are aimlessly consumed while we let go of ourselves with our indulgence in our soft addictions. Once trapped by our undesirable soft addictions, we are left with nothing but an image, a self which we don’t like to see in ourselves.

When I shared this with my daughter. She was amazed to find that a high percentage of people were plagued with this or that form of soft addictions.

1, Nov 20, 2010

Habits that Make One Broke 2

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:53 am

On 10/8/2010, there is another article on thrifty living, “6 Habits That Will Make You Broke” by Claire Bradley.

I feel so unpatriotic when I constantly talk about saving, the opposite of spending and boosting up our economy. After all, consumer spending makes up nearly 70% of the nation’s GDP. If everybody were as thrifty as they should, we would never see the rebounding of our economy.

Still, you would not want to see this happen to you — “It’s still a week until payday, but your checking account is almost empty already. Where did all your money go?”

The money has been drained away by some of the following bad habits. Below is from Bradley’s article.

1. Window Shopping or internet goods browsing. To be sure, those window showcases are not without purpose.

2. Carrying Lots of Cash You know that paying with plastic is bad, but carrying lots of cash can be just as bad a habit. Avoiding plastic is great, but budgeting is just as important when choosing to pay cash.

3. Saving Your Info With the online Vendors. Those online shopping sites are so considerate to save your address and credit card information — some even have one-click ordering buttons, so you can buy something in just a second. It’s very easy, but also very dangerous.

4. Clipping Unneeded Coupons. The truth is that coupons can make us buy things even we didn’t plan for.

5. Shopping With Your Emotions — the worst type of shopping behavior. It was a rough week, or a good one, or you want to reward yourself for losing a few pounds, so you go shopping. You earned that new dress, that new gadget, that big pie — it was on sale, too. Letting your mood dictate your buying decisions is the quickest way to go broke. Sober up before shopping.

6. Not Planning Ahead. It’s Tuesday, you’re tired, and have no idea what you’ll make for dinner. A great night for takeout, right? Using data from the BLS, it’s estimated that the average family of four spends over $4,000 on eating out — a very expensive habit that will make you broke in a hurry.

I am writing this while thinking of the spending habits of my children. I surely wish they are all free from these wasteful habits.

1, Nov 19, 2010

Habits that Makes One Broke 1

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:21 am

On 10/9/2010, I read an article named “Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters” by Sham Gad. Here’s the short list.

1. Convenience Stores. Remember you have to pay for the goods and the convenience. Nothing comes free. People who like to buy on the spur of the moment are the biggest losers here.

2. Cell or your home phone plans. Be careful of your monthly bill. You might be paying more than you sign up for

3. Soft Drinks at restaurant. It always costs more than the one bought at grocery store.

4. Unnecessary Bank Fees
5. Magazines. Indeed, with the speed of internet, who needs to subsribe magazines? Or you can always spend some time at local bookstore or library.

6. Annual Credit Card Fees. It makes no sense when there are so many fee free credit cards.

The last piece of advice given by the author is “Be Proactive –Spend a couple of hours and go over the above categories along with any other regular habits you may have accumulated over the years. The time will be well spent as it could mean hundreds of dollars of recurring annual savings.”

1, Nov 18, 2010

“I work hard. I deserve it”

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:06 am

Sometime ago I heard this news. A woman earning $40K yearly bought a $50K car. It makes no sense that she lives beyond her means. When she was asked why, she said, “I work hard. I deserve it.” It is just this simple, probably out of the most simplistic mind.

Her explanation is faulty on several accounts.
(1) She should not spend more than her income, unless it is absolutely necessary, like buying a house.

(2) She is unable to think ahead and foresee any possibilities in the near future and prepare for the unexpected. e.g. what would happen if she lost her $40K job? In the long run, it is best to save first, spend second instead of the other way around.

(3) Together with an expensive car, she has to equip it with high insurance and maintenance.

(4) When she has very limited income, she has to sacrifice her other necessities in order to enjoy that luxury car.

My daughter thinks she should put aside some of her earnings and should not buy that expensive car since she doesn’t need it and cannot afford it. I am glad to see even my teenage child has more commonsense than this adult woman.

1, Nov 17, 2010

Sound Financial Advice

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:13 am

Recently, I read something like advice to people in bad economic time. Most of them are simply commonsense. I am surprised that people need to be taught about all this. Here are some interesting points.

(1) Cut spending to the bone, which means no dining out, no entertainment.

(2) Be honest about what is a want and what is a need. That is, avoid wasting on your want. Put food on the table before anything else.

(3) If you have to borrow, spend borrowed money on the basic necessities only. Yes, don’t we know better than this?

(4) Don’t touch your retirement savings.

(5) If you’re nearly tapped out: take any job offer. The key is to generate income while you continue to look for a better job. Remember beggars can’t be choosers. Too bad that’s not what most people do. Some of them, with some skill and education, would not stoop to any unskilled job.

(6) Stay where you are if you can unless you absolutely must move. Because moving always involve extra cost.

(7) If you’re thinking of walking away your house: talk to an expert and exhaust all other options first.

(8) If you watched in horror as your retirement fund took a plunge, do nothing. It will climb up eventually.

1, Nov 16, 2010

What Does Leadership Mean for High School Students

Filed under: Leadership — admin @ 12:20 am

Last Friday after school, 11/12, I took my daughter to her skating lesson, first time after she got well. She felt a bit shaky at first but gradually gained strength and back in shape. While waiting for her, I was chatting with another parent about leadership for high schoolers. Though I have learned a lot about leadership during our company’s leadership workshop, I don’t want to elaborate too much on this simple concept. I shared with her the following key components.

Leadership means taking initiative, taking the lead among your peers, even if you are not the leader;
Leaders can influence others with their ideas so that people will follow the lead;
Leaders do not need to be told when an action is needed;
Leaders are self-motivated and self-directed;
Leaders are locomotives of the train while followers are the carriages.

An example of leadership in action — you find the need to raise awareness for environment protection in your school and there is no organization fulfilling this function. Hence, you start an environmental protection club…

1, Nov 15, 2010

Learn to Be a Boss Even in Elementary School

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:02 am

The other day I talked to a friend of mine about teaching her 7-year-old son how to make and sell origamis among his classmates. Some people may think it a small trick. How much money can you make this way?

If you think the biggest gain is money, you miss the point. The most important part is not money. It is learning and gaining ability. A little kid can learn tremendously from this process, which no money can buy for him.

The first thing that he will learn is this: he cannot make much if he does everything himself. He has to learn to be a boss, that is, mobilizing all the positive elements and make them work for him. Such as, he can make plenty of origamis and ask some of his friends to sell for him among their neighborhood children. Even better he can teach someone else to make for him if he doesn’t have the time. Of course, he has to pay them for their labor.

Secondly, the most important part of being a boss is to work with people. A kid can learn how to deal with people or rather his business partner or whoever helps him sell his stuffs. A kid will learn how to make profits and keep his partners happy and willing to work for him.

There are so much to learn while making money and having a fun time.

1, Nov 14, 2010

Art, Women, and Lack of Success

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:31 am

On October 3, 2010, a sunny Sunday morning, I drove my daughter to Michael’s, an art and crafts store on Metcalf. While she was at Michael’s, I went to the next door Microcenter, an electronics store. On our way back home, I told my daughter this funny thing.

Most customers at Microcenter are men, yet you seldom see men at Michael’s. From this, you can conclude that more women like art and shop for art supplies than men. However, from what we know of art history and of great art masters, we see an almost male dominance.

I asked my daughter how to explain this. Is it because men are more creative than women or because throughout history women have been deprived of equal opportunity to succeed? Or women at Michael’s are not really art lovers, they were there just for fun and entertainment as if they did not take it seriously?

In fact, not only in art but also nearly in everything, not only in the past but also in modern time, women in general trail behind men in great achievements. For whatever reason or excuse people can come up with, it is still rather depressing to confront this fact that women in general are in great need of the drive, the tenacity, the motivation and the determination to achieve and succeed. It is a harsh judgement, but not far from the truth.

p.s. my daughter commented after reading this post, “Women have different priority in life. In some cases, after they got married, they placed their families before their careers.” This is true. That’s why we often hear of woman homemakers, not that of man.

1, Nov 13, 2010

Laugh, Exercise Happily Ever After

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:32 am

OMG, I have gained a ton lately. Time to laugh now.
On 10/2, a Saturday afternoon, while waiting for my daughter’s art lesson, I read an article from Discover, a magazine we used to subscribe when my son was home. There is an article called “Laugh Well, Live Well” on its October 2010 issue. Here’s what I read and hopefully it will motivate people to laugh more if they want to lose weight.

“A good laugh may be the next-best thing to a workout. Researchers have long known that laughter boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduces stress.” A study led by Lee Berk, a psychoneuroimmunologist, shows that the parallels between laughing and exercise go even further: shifts in appetite hormones following a case of the giggles resemble the effects of a moderate session at the gym.”

“People’s ghrelin concentrations spiked after the funny session, just like after a workout.” Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the body that stimulates appetite. Elevated level of ghrelin signal the brain that the body is using energy and will soon need more fuel.”

Now one more reason to bellow out that good hearty laughter.

1, Nov 12, 2010

It Takes More Than an Illness to Appreciate Time and Health

Filed under: Daughter — admin @ 12:28 am

On 11/10/10, after I got home from work, I took my daughter to Michael’s. She was sick again after going to school for two days and had to stay home on Wednesday. While driving on the bridge over 435 highway on Lamar, we noticed the heavy traffic on the highway down below. I told my daughter some of my co-workers live in Lawrence, Harrisburg, Independence or even farther away from the office. They spend nearly an hour one-way to the office everyday.

Some of them choose to save on housing at the cost of time and gas. Some live this far because of job change. They got used to the house they bought and would not move simply because of this job change. Obviously, they don’t feel the hurt over the time lost in this long-distance daily commuting.

Talk about lost time, my daughter was sick on 11/3, last Wednesday, staying home for three days. On Monday, 11/8, she went back to school and that evening she burned late night oil again till after 1:30 AM, not all for study. On Tuesday, she came back from school very tired. On Wednesday, she felt sick and stayed home again.

I told her, “As soon as you feel better, you forget the misery of being sick and the time cost of illness, and you start wasting time like something of no value.”

It takes more than an illness for us to appreciate time and good health. Until then, we have to pay for our fogetfulness and for any lost time, in one way or another.

1, Nov 11, 2010

Find Your Anchor in Times of Changes

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:49 am

Lately, many changes seem to come up simultaneously. With the buyout of our parent company by a public company and the merging of our company, there are other things going on — the change of responsibilities and of office and location, and that of the season. Yes, the days get shorter and colder and outside activities are limited.

Changes inherently mean both uncertainties and opportunities. For some unexplainable reason, an uncomfortable depressed feeling is always present in times of changes. For me, the only thing that I can hold on is the goal I set for myself, which should hold the ground like an anchor.

From this, I think of the time when my son just left the environment that he had grown up in and headed for one totally unfamiliar to him. It must be a tough start for him, even though he had his anchor to hold on.

I am sure the children will have to go through many expected or unexpected changes. I hope they can be prepared. In times of changes, it is very helpful to cling to something you hold dearly in your mind. You will feel uplifted as long as that something-dear-to-you remains unchanged — either your ideal self or your fundamental principle or your dream or goal or any thought that can comfort you.

1, Nov 10, 2010

Modern Scholars Audio Books Where Great Professors Teach You

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:16 am

I have been enjoying listening to great books while working at office. On 9/1/2010, my colleague asked me what I was listening to. I mentioned to her Modern Scholar lectures. I showed her the course list from Modern Scholar website. “Since I don’t have much time for reading, I can always work and listen at the same time,” I explained to her. I did not share with her why I chose these lectures instead of something else.

These lectures, offered by great professors in their fields, free to public via public library, have been wonderful companions to my daily work. With their words ringing in my ears, it always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I am with some professors while at work. Other than learning from these lectures, it also serves as an escape from daily mundaneness into a place I thought I belong.

If you like learning and knowledge, you belong to the community of learners and scholars, that is, folks at universities. I wish my children could see the benefits of these audio books and lectures and find time for them later in their lives.

1, Nov 9, 2010

Appreciate What You Have While You Can

Filed under: Human nature — admin @ 12:51 am

On 11/2/2010, a Tuesday afternoon, right after we got home from her school, I told my daughter to come outside and take a picture in front of the maple tree in our yard. The leaves looked burning red under the afternoon sun. My daughter said we could take it the next day.

The next day she was sick and didn’t go to school. She was down with fever and was confined to bed for the rest of the week. By the time she was well and able to go out, the leaves were largely gone with the gusty autumn wind. The once glorious red maple leaves became past glory.

While my daughter was sick, she mentioned that she regretted that she had not made good use of her time when she was well. “Only when you are sick do you value the time when you are well,” she commented. I hope she will remember her own words after she gets well.

1, Nov 8, 2010

Movement is Crucial to Life

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:48 am

Don’t walk if you can run;
Don’t stand if you can walk;
Don’t sit if you can stand;
Don’t lie down if you can sit.

This is what I keep telling my daughter when she is sick. It is true in times of illness, so is it in its absence.

1, Nov 7, 2010

Your Positive Attitude Can Even Save You in Times of Illness or Any Misfortunes

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:01 am

Last Friday I helped a doctor consent a middle-aged patient for her participation in an adjuvant TC/TAC/TCB breast trial. When we explained to the patient the possible adverse events in the course of treatment, patient couldn’t help crying, afraid of going through the ordeal. Her face revealed a deep-seated worry and concern.

After her consent, I told her, “Breast cancer has the highest survival rate. Cheer up. It will help you get better if you can keep an upbeat spirit.” She smiled unwillingly.

Later back home, I told my bedridden daughter, “When disease strikes you down, your attitude is very crucial. You will get better quickly if you stay positive and actively engage in recovery.” I shared this real life story with my daughter.

I once had an acquaintance who was in her early 50s. She fell and suffered some bone fracture and couldn’t walk. Hence, she was on wheelchair for a long time. After sometime, the physical therapist worked with her so that she could be back on her feet again. But she could not stand the ache and pain here and there and never had the strong will to walk again. At times, she hated life on wheelchair. Before year was out, she died of liver failure, probably from overdrinking or overdosing or despair or lack of will to live.

I am sure the story would end up differently if she had a positive attitude toward a fracture.

1, Nov 6, 2010

A Job is Never a Job Alone

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:39 am

Below is the notes that I wrote down on 1/12/2009, while I was reading and thinking of some people that I know of. I planned to write to that person but thought better to keep it here, for my children and my dear readers.

A job is never just a job.
It is always connected to a deep and invisible process of finding meaning in life through work
It is how you reveal yourself to the world around you and how you are evaluated by the world around you.
All jobs, large and small, contribute to your life’s work. Your labors are shaping your destiny for better or worse.

A job is an opportunity for you and for others.
A job is better than no job.

P.S. People may have different understanding of the meaning of job. I remember when I was given an offer by my current company, someone made this comment,

1, Nov 5, 2010

Activities to Improve Your Working Memory

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:58 am

This is an article that I read two years ago on activities to help improve your working memory and concentration by Tycho Vancreato, out on 1/6/2008. It is said “the working memory could actually be the very core of our intelligence. And it doesn’t matter what kind of education you’ve had, everyone can improve their mental capabilities.”

Activity 1: Eat a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fats, antioxidants
Activity 2: Turn on the music, especially classical one.
Activity 3: Reduce stress.
Activity 4: Pay attention
Activity 5: Group things
Activity 6: Think Back — trace back through the memories of the day.

Activity 7: Strengthen your neural connections. This is an exercise can even create new neural connactions. Grab the mouse with the hand you normally don’t use it with. It’s probably harder to be precise and accurate with your motions. You could easily try some of these exercises everyday. It is important to challenge your brain to learn new tasks, especially processes that you’ve never done before.

Activity 8: include more of your senses in an everyday task. E.g. Get dressed with your eyes closed, wash your hair with your eyes closed, share a meal and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking.

Activity 9: Walk. Walking is especially good for your brain, because it enhances the blood flow, which results in oxygen and energy reaching your brain more efficiently. As walking isn’t intensive, your legs also won’t use up extra oxygen and blood sugar. Walking can create a clear head and improve your working memory.

1, Nov 4, 2010

Reflections on this Mid-term Election

Filed under: Politics — admin @ 12:44 am

When President Obama faced the republican dominance in the House, he accepted the responsibilities, expressing his understanding of people’s frustration over the losing battle of economy, with no complaints and no feeling of bitterness whatsoever. I think the president’s attitude is very generous and admirable.

Every time when I think of US economy, the nursery rhyme of humpty dumpty comes to me,

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

To be fair, it is very unfortunate for Obama to inherit this no-win situation. It took 8 years for his predecessor to make a shambles of the country’s economy by waging two wars and giving tax break. How can we expect the current president to put things back in two years?

The alliance of all the anti-Obama conservative forces squandered billions of dollars in this mid-term election in an effort to cripple Obama power. The ordinary citizens are but small pawns in the grand schema of this alliance. The election reminds me of what Mark Twain described winners as those who can make the loudest noise. Here’s a quote from him “We would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times” I wonder what Mark Twain would say if he were present watching so many female candidates jumped out trying to out-man men in the most distasteful manner.

1, Nov 3, 2010

The Thrifty Minority Americans

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:53 am

On 8/24/2010 I had a monitor from New Mexico and the next day I had one from Michigan. We talked about the hot weather that we had to endure this year. To my surprise, both of the monitors told me how to save on electricity on hot days.

I learned one monitor used fans instead of air conditioner to save energy, the other living up north has tried to keep her bill under $100.

Who ever said Americans are wasteful? Not all of them at least. To be sure, they are hard-working monitors, and they are also exceptions to the rule in exercising financial discipline on themselves. They are the thrifty minorities, more so than most Americans that I have known.

1, Nov 2, 2010

Martin Luther, a Leader Possessing Knowledge and Courage

Filed under: Leadership — admin @ 12:10 am

While my daughter was working on European History course, I also picked up a book on the subject in fall this year. I have been very much impressed by many remarkable individuals in European history. One of my favorites is Martin Luther, the man of great learning and courage.

He initiated the religious reformation movement in western world, thus ending the papal dominance and permanently dividing Christianity into two large camps: Catholics and Protestants.

He was first of all an intellectual. I love intellectuals because they are intelligent, learned and must have worked hard to achieve that level of knowledge.

Knowledge is power, citing the famous word of Francis Bacon. Luther belonged to the rank of great individuals because of his knowledge and courage to stand by what he believed.

Knowledge empowers and encourages one to rise above the crowd and consequently be the leader moving the history forward. So was it at the time of Martin Luther, so it is at the present.

P.S. Yesterday I tried to view this site, but was blocked. I had a feeling that some big change was going to happen. This feeling was confirmed when I read this shocking news, “McKesson to buy US Oncology for $2.2 billion.”

1, Nov 1, 2010

Take Initiative, Take the Lead

Filed under: Leadership — admin @ 12:08 am

Last Saturday morning, on the way to the City Market, I talked to my daughter about one of the qualities of a leader — take initiative.

Most people need someone to tell them what to do either at school or at work. If they are not at either place, they are clueless as what they can do. They might spend a long time looking for a job, but they do not know how to put value into their prolonged job-hunting time.

A leader never needs to be told. She can always find some meaningful activities to put value into her time, in addition to job-hunting. While looking for a job, she will take initiative by seeking out any place that can make use of her talent to render services, free of any compensations.

By injecting value into her time, she will have a meaningful life story to add to her resume. The prospective employer will see in her the leadership quality, the one that no money can buy.

If anything, she distinguishes herself from the majority with her self-initiated experience. Therefore, I wish my children will develop leadership skill by taking initiative and taking the lead. Never ever in your lifetime should you waste time waiting for a boss to control your time. Even after you find an employer, still, be your own boss even when you work for others.

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