Email Standards


On 5/18/2011, we received an internal email regarding our company’s email standards. I am sure these standards were not invented by our company, as they seem pretty much standards for all professional email behavior.

(1) Business emails should never, ever be set to include stationery.
(2) Use it strictly for business purpose.
(3) Don’t Forward Spam, Hoaxes, cute stories or chain letters. Cute stories, jokes or emails of “inspiration” are not work related and should be deleted.
(4) Reply to the sender and ask that they only email your personal email account.
(5) Refrain from using “Reply All” unless every recipient needs to see your response.
(6) Use of “Subject” Line
(7) Always reply to emails – especially the ones specifically addressed to you. The sender is still waiting to hear from you.
(8) Keep your email message short and to the point.
(9) Do not hit the Send button without doing a spell check.
(10) If it is really important, make a call to make sure it was received.
(11) Temper and tone matter.
(12) Keep in mind that email is not private.
(13) Use out of office response to alert others of your absence.
(14) Be courteous, considerate and responsible when writing an email message.

In a word, keep it professional.



Can You Be Happy at Work?


We all know that the happiest is he who does what he enjoys and does it everyday. Yet, for those who don’t really enjoy their work, how can they be happy, even though not being the happiest of all? To be sure, I am one of those folks. All we can do is to achieve as high level of happiness as we can.

For me, there are three things that never fails to cheer me up at work.
(1) I make a point of learning something new at work as the preparation for something that I enjoy doing. I am a happy fly as long as I have learned something new and feel that I have not wasted my day.

(2) I will enjoy my time off work much more when I have a job. This is like eating chocolate. Much as I like it, I would not be able to enjoy it if I have chocolate everyday and all day long. I see work time as the time between chocolate-intake hours.

(3) Keep everything professional. This way you won’t be disturbed if you unfortunately encounter a very barbarous and disgusting colleague, like I once did. My favorite self-deceiving and self-comforting saying is: “A dog bites a human being, how can that human being bite back?”

Enjoy your eight-hour-a-day toil! Remember it is your responsibility to make yourself happy.



Nancy F. Olivieri, a Whistleblower in Clinical Trials


From AAAS award speech,
“In 1997, while conducting a clinical trial of a drug that showed promise in improving the lives of patients suffering from thalassemia—a blood disorder that can be fatal if not treated—Dr. Olivieri discovered possibly life-threatening side effects of the medication. She informed the pharmaceutical company, Apotex, of this risk and of her intention to notify the hospital’s Research Ethics Board, her patients, and other clinicians. The company, disagreeing with her findings, informed Dr. Olivieri that such actions would be in violation of a confidentiality agreement she had signed and that they would seek “legal remedies” if she carried out her intentions.”

“After publishing her findings, she suffered a series of adverse actions from the company and the hospital, including being relieved of one of her positions and referral to a physicians’ disciplinary board. The press received anonymous letters accusing her of misconduct, later traced to a colleague who received money from the company. The university where she had an appointment, which had been promised a large donation by the company, supported her only after an investigation by the Canadian Association of University Teachers completely vindicated her, as did the physicians’ board. Dr. Olivieri continues to fight legal battles brought against her by the drug company.”

“Her struggle in defending these principles has brought world attention to the importance of scientific integrity for public health and safety. Editors of leading biomedical journals have imposed new publishing standards, the university changed its policies on industry-supported research, and her findings regarding the drug have stood.”

This case touches many issues related to clinical trials. Do patients have the right to know the truth of the study drug that they are in? Are doctors obligated to be ethical toward patients, even if it means violation of any agreement with the drug company? How much academic freedom is guaranteed when academic institutions have to be sustained by other money?



Attention to Details and Big Pictures


It is both interesting and challenging for me to go through the exclusion list defined in our company’s dress code, because some of the terms are foreign to me and I have never challenged myself to learn all these words.
–jeans of any color, except on designated days
–tennis shoes or athletic shoes except with jeans on approved jeans days.
–Shorts
–bermuda shorts (?)
–low cut blouses
–tank tops (?)
–thin or spaghetti straps (?)
–tube tops (?)
–crop tops or halters (?)
–Cargo pants (?)
–open-toed shoes
–sandals
–flip flops (?)
–Crocs with holes (?)
–leggings (?)
–spandex pants (?)
–sweatshirts
–sweat pants
–baseball caps or hats
–tee shirts

By the way, I received a warning for wearing a T-shirt at office on 5/23, less than a month before the expiration of our company. This is the first time that I violated the company’s dress code, of which I had not been aware in my entire six years of service. Call it a failure to pay attention to details, which is very much characterized of me.

After that I think about big pictures and grand scheme in life. Your mind will be tightly entrenched and restricted by the endless details like this if you find yourself in this position for long. I know both of my children already refuse to be thus locked down.



My Son Is Not a “Jonathan Franzen”


Recently, I was reading Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom. A very interesting one. More on this later.

On 8/23/2011, while I was at work, upon learning the earthquake in Virginia, I emailed my son, asking if he was ok and hoping he could fill in some detailed description about the quake in New York.

“yep no worries, everything’s fine here.” was his answer.

On the one hand, I wish he could write more; on the other, I would not like it if he fills me in with too much insignificant details. No nonsense. No dissecting details. I like it this way and hope he can remain so. After all, he is a typical man, nan-zi-han, not a Jonathan Franzen type.



For My Daughter, Dream, Determination, Plan and Action


On my daughter’s birthday in March, I shared this observation with her, trying to make her see that dream is only the first step. Other qualities are equally essential in the process.

Dreams are wings of your soul. With dreams you set your goal to the star. Without it you are chained to the ground.

Determination is the fire that energizes us and make a dream come true.

Plan is the road map to your goal; without it you are likely to get lost or feeling overwhelmed and despaired.

Action plan means following your well-laid out plan step by step. With an action plan, you will reach your goal as long as you make steady and persistent efforts, with each step getting you closer and closer.

Focus your time and energies. Get out of your mind anything that block you from achieving your goal.

Never say “I can’t” without giving it a try. Never give up too easily.



Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation, Part IV


If your parents made you start piano lesson at age 5 or drawing or Chinese or marshall art or tennis lesson or whatever your mom was fancy of cramming on you at your tender age, after 10 years of hard drilling or by the time you enter high school, you should be good enough to torture a group of 5-year-olds with the same tenacity and dead seriousness, as if they paid you a million dollar for doing that. Trust me the benefit goes far beyond any monetary measurement.

How? Go to a local primary school or library or nursing home, tell them you have skills and are willing to share them with the children or senior citizens, free of charge. You offer to organize kid’s club, teaching whatever you can brag about. People love freebies, especially now when money runs so low. Parents embrace it when their youngsters are learning something without their having to pay for it. Don’t forget to hold a performance party at the end of the activity as a report and showcase to the parents of how great you are.

During holiday season when you hear the extreme boring money-begging bell sound from Salvation Army, you volunteer to marshal a group of primary school children, teach them some crafts and sell their work. The handsome proceeds go to the Salvation Army.

If you love, say math or English, go to an elementary school and share your enthusiasm over it by offering free tutoring in math or whatever you are crazy about. After all, what’s the use of your good math skill if you don’t put it to good use? Like an investment, the earlier you put your skills to good use, the higher the return will be.

The key is be creative, be a passionate leader and be daring and original in a good way. Be one of a kind. Never ever follow the crowd like one of the mindless herd. Of course, it is always safe to follow the beaten path. But don’t you hate the idea of being safe among a crowd? I told my children security is for senior folks, definitely not for the daring youth.

Finally, your volunteer experience can potentially be a great topic for your college application essay. Now high schoolers, rise to the occasion, make difference and do something marvelously good to your otherwise boring existence.



Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation Part III


I once heard this saying, somewhere I forgot where. It goes like this: the highest reward for your work is not what you get for it, but what you become because of it. An event or experience always means more than what it appears on the surface.

First of all, to the admission officer, the process of seeking volunteer opportunities reveals more of you than the fact you donate unpaid time to some place. You should make full use of this opportunity to let your outstanding character shine through your narration of this process.

Secondly, for volunteer ideas, your mind and soul must be out of the conventional box. You must believe there is an inexhaustive gold mine in you and search for this wealth inside you. If you don’t have this bottom line self-confidence, you are better off without any big dream, which is perfectly okay. After all, not many people have big dreams.

Next, think of anything you can claim to be capable of doing and are willing to share with those who is so eager to be on the receiving end as long as it is free. By the time you enter high school, you got to be good at something.
To be continued…



Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation Part II


First of all, what do you want to show to the world through your volunteering activities?

1) You are unselfish when everybody tries to get something for nothing and you give something for nothing.

2) You have time to donate to a good cause that you believe in. That’s also good.

3) You are willing to make all kinds of personal sacrifices in order to get into your dream college.

If you don’t have anything other than these three reasons, this is almost the dead end for you. Because (1) it is not a challenge to come up with this; (2) it shows you are so one of the crowd, so banal, so empty of ideas and creativity or anything shining that we want to see in a leader that we don’t see the promise of a bright future in you.
To be continued…



Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation, Part I


Last Saturday a Chinese parent talked to me about volunteering work for building up high-school resume. It seems an almost banal routine item that a child got to have on their resume if they aspire to any good college. The problem is — this is far from being enough.

As this parent told me, some awesome, church-attending kid going to all kinds of volunteering activities with straight-As throughout high school, yet was rejected by the college he was so ready to spend next 4 years in. “What is it that they want?” she asked.

What I see in this type of children is they are too conventional, too much of a product of a routine, going through the motions, without a demonstrated real passion for something of their own.

For a starter, here are the problems with this church-going kid and also here are some of my volunteer ideas that guarantee to push them to the frontline among thousand of applicants.
To be continued…

PS. today I took my daughter to Leawood library after school. I saw the same girl volunteering there with the same listless look, which reminded me of this posting.



Movers and Shakers Make Things Happen


On 5/3, when I asked HR about an internal position that I had applied, I learned the person who left that position decided not to leave. That just dashed all the hopes that were lingering in my mind. I felt bad about it. HR person said, after the buyout, there would be plenty of opportunities for me. She said I was the “mover and shaker.” Whatever that means I am not sure at that moment, but I know it means good.

I checked the internet later and learned they are “Individual who has a dramatic impact on an organization or a series of events. For example, an individual may be known as a mover and shaker in a particular business activity because of his ability to get things done quickly and successfully.” That’s not me, though I do want to have more control over my own destiny.

I like this definition better, mover and shaker is the “person who makes things happen.” Most people have dreams and ideals, but only the few movers and shakers do something to make their dreams come true. What a lovely thought!



How To Keep Your Mailbox Nice and Clean


On 3/12/2011, while I was at HyVee, I took up PCWorld magazine, trying to keep up with the new gadgets. I saw this article, which gave me a familiar feeling –“Master Your E-mail Before It Masters You” by Robert Strohmeyer, PCWorld March 2011. Indeed, my office inbox seems rather overwhelmingly crowded. It is like an old cluster which results from a few years of piling. The thought of ever cleaning it up is dreadful to me. Here are his tips, which I am trying to follow.

(1) Zero your inbox–keep it empty whenever possible
(2) Use folders sparingly. Don’t create more folders and subfolders than you can consciously track daily. When your folder list gets so long that you can’t see all of them at a glance, you will have trouble staying on top of them. Use the folders you keep as ‘trusted buckets that you check periodically during their useful life.
(3) Use filters sparingly
(4) Delete garbage first, read surviving message later.
(5) Take action immediately–deal with an open email message at once.
(6) Slow you roll–don’t check your email too often as it wastes too much time for each checking
(7) Use canned responses in outlook for saving time.



Donation, Doing Good, Exercise, Small Amounts Count


I read this article on BBC on 8/16/2011, “Just 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years and cut death risk by 14%, research from Taiwan suggests.” “You can get good gains with relatively small amounts of physical activity. More is always better, but less is a good place to start,” said Prof Stuart Biddle, an expert in exercise psychology at Loughborough University.

On the evening of 8/15, the day before I read this article, I talked to my son over the phone. Now that he is an MIT alumnus, he should start donating to MIT. He doesn’t have to be a big donor at first. A dollar per day and keep the ball rolling. Just like this 15-minute-per-day exercise, the benefit of this good deed will be immense and immeasurable in the long run.



A Sense of Purpose Reduces Risk of Senile Dementia


While we know of many factors that contribute to the mental health of our senior fellows, a study further confirmed another key factor, call it spiritual power. This is the power of a strong sense of purpose in life. A study published in March 2010 in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that people with a greater sense of purpose in life ran low risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those without.

The study involved 951 people from the Rush Memory and Aging Project and was conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The researchers analyzed medical records and life outlook of participants. Their overall sense of purpose in life was measured by assessing their level of agreement with 10 statements derived from a psychological well-being scale, such as, “I have a sense of direction and purpose in life,” or “I feel good when I think of what I have done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.”

After an average of four years of follow-up, 16.3% (155) participants had developed Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found participants with high scores on the life purpose test were 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with low score.

The study finding is helpful and significant because having a sense of purpose in life is something spiritual that we can work on, despite of mother nature’s relentless effect of aging on each one of us.



Spoiled Children as the Debtors and Workaholic Parents as the Lenders


The economic mess that the U.S. is enjoying now originated from (1) over consuming, under production, either in housing bubbles and credit card abuse, at individual and national level, like going to war with borrowed money; (2) Negative saving, that is deficit, again on both levels.

China is doing the opposite: (1) Under consumption, over production; (2) Over saving. Hence, China lends the surplus to the US so that US can keep importing from China, which will perpetuate the consumption in the U.S. and the running of factories in China.

Sometimes, I see China as hard-working parents who toil themselves to generate value and save them for their children (the dear Americans), while the US behaves like spoiled children who demand high-level consumption even running on empty purse. We would expect the US, with a mountain of debts, to save more and spend less and China does the opposite. It is not likely to happen this way, though. The children must be spoiled because of their dollar dominance in the world. Something will happen eventually. Let’s wait and see.



The Power of Belief and Self-fulfilling Prophecy


“A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” from wiki.

I wrote about this story before, but when I asked my daughter about it. She totally forgot. This happened during my years of sociology teaching. There were a few Jewish boys in my class who already excelled in my class but still worked hard. When I asked one of them why, he told me these words which I will never forget, “Since God gives us such smart brains, we would waste them if we do not use them.”

The theory goes like this. It is this belief that has motivated them to work hard. As the result of their working hard, they got good grades which further reinforced their previous belief–they were given smart brains.

This works in all aspects of life. It can initiate either a good or a vicious cycle. e.g. if you believe exercise can help you lose weight, you go for it, with big stride and highly motivated. When you see the fact that you have lost weight, you are more convinced and motivated for more of it. If you want to be chained in a good cycle, hold fast to positive belief, no matter what you engage yourself.



Parents Should Insist on Doing the Right Things


On 4/21/2011, I accidentally came across an old memo book. I opened it and found it used to be my daughter’s allowance book. It says, “1 day = $1.” The first page has four columns. Their headings are Date, Math, Total, Signature. The date lasted from 10/7 to 10/21. I think the year was 2004.

I don’t remember exactly what happened. But I do remember I once worked on two things with my daughter. One was extra math work; the other dealt with allowance. To be sure, she did not want to do anything extra at that time and she did want allowance as her classmates had.

I showed my daughter this record with her handwriting. Both of us agreed that it would benefit her tremendously in terms of her math skill and her money management, if she had kept up this practice. Too bad it lasted only two weeks.

When I look back, I realize that I should have followed it through. It is entirely up to the parents to insist on the beneficial practice for the children, even if it means some unpleasant moments. The children will be grateful to the parents when they become mature.

I am certain that Amy Chua’s children would not have been so accomplished if she gave up as I so often did with my children. I hope other parents can learn something from this incident.



The Poor and the Powerless: No Fun in Times of Economic Woes


Last Friday, 8/12, while I was reading “U.S. Debt Reaches 100 Percent of Country’s GDP” from fox news, I received an internal email on selling “cheap” Worlds of Fun ticket —
Adult $35
Junior (under 48 inches) $24
Season ticket holder wanting the meal only $13.02
With the country’s debt exceeding the total GDP, that’s the fun that most people have to forgo now.

It is very hard to become sanguine when we vision a few years down the road. The US economy is very much consumer driven, consisting of consumption by US government and ordinary citizens. Now, with Republicans calling for government spending cut and consumers increasingly squirreling away their meager savings for lack of confidence, we are seeing less and less spending instead of the other direction as people have expected?

Now talk about increasing productivity and revenue, a sheer empty talk. With the majority of manufacture jobs moving overseas and the lack of the required skills for the emerging technology market, where do productivity come from? No job, no income.

To be honest, forgoing the Worlds of Fun is a small sacrifice compared to the fact that many people will have to face the shrinking of their retirement pension and health care service. Keep in mind the government always stands by the side the rich and powerful while the poor and the powerless can never escape bearing the brunt of economic woes.



Apolo Ohno and Zero Regrets


Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday by Apolo Ohno, 2010. Having read it, I told my daughter it was worth reading. But she did not have the time for it. Hence, I told her, “Well, you don’t have to read the whole book, as long as you understand and keep in mind the following quote and by the end of the day, you can say ‘Zero regrets.'”

“Zero regrets. It’s a philosophy not just about sport but about life. School, business, academics, love- anything and everything. It’s complicated and yet not. You have to figure out who it is you want to be. Not what you want to be—who.

“There has to be a vision, a dream, a plan. Then you chase that with everything you’ve got. That means you have to put in the work, the practice, the training. There aren’t any shortcuts. If you want something, you have to be 100 clear in how you plan to get it. You have to be relentless in your pursuit.” p. 2

I know not many of us can say zero regrets when we look back. The best we can do is to try to reduce our level of regrets.



A Story on Margaret Mitchell


A man was invited to a writer’s gathering. He saw a young woman dressed simple, with modest appearance. The man thought she must be a novice in the field, asking her,
“Are you a professional writer?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Do you have any magnum opus? Can you show me a few of them?” he asked her.
“I have only written novels, no magnum opus,” she said,
“In this case, we are colleagues. I have published 339 novels. How many have you published?” he asked.
“One.”
“Only one? Can you tell me the title of your novel?” he asked.
“Gone with the Wind,” was the answer.
The man was floored, speechless.

So many years have passed. That man has never made himself known to the world, but the world will always remember Margaret Mitchell.



True Happiness is Hard to Find


On 3/27/2011, I read an article on what makes people happy. Here are some interesting findings, though some of them are not totally new.

Happiness is an attitude, a perspective, a positive way of looking at things. “Happy people are far more focused on the little victories and miracles than the problems,” says Dan Baker, a medical psychologist.

While happy people see possibilities at every corner, unhappy people are likely to see impossibility.

Count your blessings, that is, focus on what you have not what you don’t have.
Be nice to yourself.
Be generous to others. Giving makes both giver and receiver happy.

True happiness comes when you do what you enjoy doing and do it everyday. Take me for example, I enjoy reading, writing and gardening and do it all day long, except no one pays me for doing it. Focus on doing what you enjoy gives you a sense of purpose in life. Not many people can afford this, especially when you dislike sitting in your office cube for the whole hectic day waiting for the end of it. A funny joke at my office is asking this question on Monday — “Is it Friday now?”



Is it so Difficult to Say Thank You?


“I am working very hard on my ‘thank you.’ It’s not a bad way to open or close a conversation with someone you haven’t met before, who is your new partner or co-worker. And it lets them know that you appreciate the effort they have made to make your life a little bit better. So I am generous with my ‘thank you,’ my ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am.’ I may not remember all the names, but I remember the desire to take care of people.” These words came from the former CEO of our practice on our newsletter on 6/7/2011, that is, before the practice disappeared. Imagine how much weight this CEO has placed on being polite, most likely because of its shortage. I thought I were the only old fashioned one teaching this to my children.

Number one comment, this is a well said commonsense that we should all practice automatically, without being told or having to work very hard on. Too honestly funny.

Number two, it is easy said than done as I have observed the very lack of this in this CEO, which, sadly to say, is also common with all of us. That’s why, no matter how platitudinous it is, I still find it necessary to share with my readers.



Six Effective Study Skills


Early this year, my mother told me of these study skills over the internet. She asked me to share them with my children. I wrote it down on a piece of paper and found it lately.

I am not sure if I have posted it. I shared with my daughter who agreed to give it a try. I am sure people will benefit from this.

(1) Be focused in class–you always get more done by pure concentration.
(2) Train your memory–ability to retain knowledge.
(3) Enhance your reading comprehension
(4) Develop your writing skill
(5) Learn to take notes with images
(6) Learn to manage well study process



Ignorance, Desolate, Swindling, and Religion


There is this Family Radio, a Christian radio station network based in Oakland, California. It predicted the world would end on May 21, 2011. Hence many doomsday believers donated their earthly possessions to this radio, getting themselves ready to go to heaven. The stations reaped $18 million in contributions in 2009 alone.

One such believer, Doris Schmitt, gave away her entire estate, $300,000, to the wealthy Family Radio, when her family members needed her financial help desperately. Her family was angry with her decision and sued Family Radio. Lost case.

When the woman was alive, she had a tough life and no relatives seemed to care for her, so she died alone at age 78 on May 2. In her lonely existence, all she had was this radio station, where she found comfort in the promise of a happy life in heaven. She believed in doomsday because it fulfilled some earthly needs that she was not given the chance to enjoy.

Think this way. If her relatives were a little bit caring to her, providing her the same comfort that she got from Family Radio, would she squander all her possession to this radio? No.



Job Creation Start With Free-of-Charge Service


During the month of March, I have been working at another location the central business office. One colleague of mine is taking belly-dancing class and has successfully reduced belly fat. She told me of her belly-dancing teacher, who is rather exemplary.

That teacher came from a third-world country. When she first started the lesson many years ago, she gave it free of charge. She only wanted good reference and her first small group of students functioned as her advertisement. They have been her most loyal customers ever since. Some have graduated and became belly-dancing teachers.

Sometimes, people complain of no job or no opportunities and end up staying home doing nothing. Look at this immigrant with language barrier. If she can do it, anyone with some skill can do it, too.



Money and Your Mental Health


On 4/7/2011, I read an article from BBC new, “Money woes ‘linked to rise in depression'” Economic problems may be fuelling a rise in depression in England, it has been suggested, which seems to be a good thing for pharmaceutical company as they saw an increase of 40% of prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac over the past four years.

This is totally expected when all these things shower upon you at the same time– the loss of job, inability to pay your bills, the buildup of debts, the self-perception as a loser who cannot even support oneself or one’s family, loneliness when the loved one leaves, feeling of being trapped down below, helplessness and hopelessness…

It is so dreadful to be hit twice, first by economic downturn and second by depression. The best protection against this type of misfortune is to build your fortune, your financial security before crisis set in.



Have a Cup of Coffee


On 4/9/2011, while waiting for my daughter’s drawing lesson, I read an article in Psychology Today, April, 2011 issue and learned some benefits of Caffeine:

(1) Reduces the risk of glioma
(2) Preserve even restore working memory, reduce cognitive decline among senior population
(3) Prevent pain feeling
(4) Boost mood

Hence, sip some coffee occasionally, even if it is bitter and not as good as your favorite tea.



Language, Thought, and Parenting


On 1/29/2011, Saturday afternoon, I was at HyVee reading magazine Scientific American. There is an article by Lera Boroditsky, “How Language Shapes Thought–The Language We Speak Affect Our Perceptions of the World.”

“In recent years empirical evidence for this causal relation has emerged, indicating that one’s mother tongue does indeed mold the way one thinks about many aspects of world, including space and time. The latest findings also hint that language is part and parcel of many more aspects of thought than scientists have previously realized.”

This is no surprise when considering the fact that language is but an instrument, with which we think, express and communicate to each other. Different instrument will naturally yield different result. However, no matter what instrument you use as a parent, the more you use it with your youngsters, the sharper their minds will become. So, talk with them as much as you can.



Walk Speed and Longevity



We are all familiar with this Chinese saying goes, that is aging starts from your legs. It makes sense when aging weakens your frame and slows you down. On 1/5/2011, I read an interesting article on the relationship between one’s walk speed and longevity. “Walking Speed Predicts Who Will Live Longer Elderly Who Walk More Slowly May Die Sooner, Analysis Suggests” by LIZ NEPORENT

A research carried out at the University of Pittsburgh found the correlation of walking speed in people 65 or older with expected longevity.

The faster an older person can walk, the longer they can expect to live and, according to the researchers, walking with some pep in your step appears to be a better predictor of who survives than simply looking at someone’s age and sex. Scientists consider how quickly a person walks, when correlated with age and sex, a reflection of their underlying health.

“In fact, speed of movement seems to be linear, with each increase correlating with an increased prediction for years of life,” said the lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Studenski.



Health Risk Assessment and Goal-Setting


Before the final merge of our company into KU system on 6/20, we were asked to do a health risk assessment. To be sure, it was interesting going through the list of questions. By the end of assessment, we were given some advice on how to be our healthy best, which sounds like a sound advice for all goal-setting. I make sure my daughter pays special attention to this when she makes hers, no matter what plan she does.

(1) Decide if you are ready to change
(2) Choose one lifestyle action you wish to improve

(3) Set goals leading toward changing this behavior. Think of where, when and why you have this habit.
(4) Work on one goal at a time

(5) Be realistic. Set yourself up for success. Goals that you don’t really care about or that are set too high may be un-reachable. Then you may give up.
(6) Choose positive goals.
(7) Plan measurable goals.



Gardening, Parenting, Hard Work


On the Saturday morning of 7/30, the heat finally let down in its intensity as the long-waited rain finally blessed the dry-hit land. I knew weeds had grown out of control in my backyard garden during the time when I was in China. Since I got back, I had not done anything about it because of the hot weather and dryness of the land. Now with the rain and the cool day, it was the good time for me to work on the yard.

Oh boy, in just a few weeks, the weeds had grown taller than my waistline and it was so hard to yank out just a tiny part of them. Yet, I had to do something about the weeds as some of them had already yielded seeds and might be soon spreaded far and wide, which meant a whole lot extra labor.

As I was hard at work over the weeds, I thought of the similarity between gardening and parenting. Weeds will grow wild when the garden is left unattended. When children are left without parenting, they will be free to develop. There is a strong possibility that some of them will go wild like these undesirable weeds.

The moral lesson is parenting is like gardening. Both need constant tender loving care. No shortcut. Hard work, whichever way you look at.


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