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

1, Aug 5, 2018

5 keys to your success in a decade

Filed under: Success — admin @ 9:07 pm

If you want success or want to get somewhere in your career, five or ten years down the road, you’d better possess the following five crucial abilities.

1. Ability to control your mood and emotion, instead of allowing yourself to be controlled by them.

2. Ability to endure pressure, resiliency. It’s not how high you can climb. It’s how deep you fall and then climb out of it that is the real strength.

3. Know the value of money, know how to earn money, not just how to spend.

4. Self-confidence. You must first believe you can make it. Never doubt yourself, no matter what others say.

5. Independence in your thinking and in life. Never allow yourself to follow others blindly.

1, Nov 20, 2015

How Successful people become successful?

Filed under: Success — admin @ 11:32 pm

Today a colleague of mine told me how upset she was with her adult child. According to her, her child was very smart but just couldn’t get through college courses. She was talking about someone who would be 30 years old next year. After getting back home, I read something about how successful people go about their daily lives. I thought it helpful to share these here.

1. They make SMART plan. Execute their plan immediately. Take action. No procrastination.

2. They know how to rest well so that they work with efficiency and high energy.

3. They know how to prioritize and categorize things.

4. They are laser-focused. They are 100% involved in what they are doing at the moment.

5. They don’t seek perfection at the first try. They won’t stop doing something because it is not perfect.

6. They work with rhythm, busy when there dealing with urgent matters; relax when dealing with trivial.

7. They have both vision and well-laid out program to reach their goal. Plan->execution->check their plan and summarize.

8. Good time management. Do the must-to-do first.

9. They are good at delegating to others.

1, Sep 17, 2014

10 Principles for problem solving

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:43 am

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

1, Sep 14, 2014

Never think of yourself as failing…no matter how badly things are

Filed under: Success — admin @ 1:44 am

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.

1, Jul 7, 2014

Find a second, grab a book and read

Filed under: Reading,Success — admin @ 1:03 am

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.

1, Jul 3, 2014

One way to help you on the right track

Filed under: Success — admin @ 1:56 am

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.

1, Jul 1, 2014

Keys to a child’s success in life

Filed under: Success — admin @ 1:00 am

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

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

1, Jun 4, 2014

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

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:42 am

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

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

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

1, Jun 3, 2014

Think outside the box, realize and break your mental set

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:30 pm

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

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

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

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

1, May 18, 2014

Do something everyday and make it a habit

Filed under: Career,Success — admin @ 12:06 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1, Mar 31, 2014

“What motivates you…” weekend reading

Filed under: Success,weekend activity — admin @ 12:44 am

The tire pressure indicator light came up on the dashboard of my black highlander when I was driving to west clinic last Thursday. On the way back home that day, I stopped at a gas station to check tire pressure and fill some air, all by myself. Still, the light would not go away. So, last Saturday morning I drove to Firestone’s car care station at the corner and 95th street.

I was reading some magazines while they checked my car. After getting back home, I found myself missing bookstores. So I allowed myself to drive to Barnes & Noble’s, where I spent some time reading the magazine that I wasn’t able to finish at Firestone’s.

On March 2014 issue of magazine, there is a short piece called “What Motivates You: Calling or Ego” by Shelley Prevost. Here’s part of it.

“Do you have a real vocation for your work or are you in business for egoistic reasons?
(1) Ego leads to burnout. Calling leads to fulfillment.
(2) Ego focuses on the result. Calling focuses on the process. Without a satisfactory result, your ego feels that all your work is pointless. A calling, however, comes from within. It can handle the stress of ambiguity.
(3) Ego wants to preserve the self. Calling wants to affect others. A calling may begin with the self, but it moves toward the needs of others. Author Frederick Buechner describes it as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.'”

I know ego and calling are two different sources of motivation, but I don’t believe in Prevost’s conclusion on them. I would say calling is more other-oriented and tends to last longer than ego. I also don’t think calling does not care about result as much as ego does.

1, Mar 28, 2014

“When there is no target date, no goal, it targets to fail”

Filed under: Success — admin @ 9:36 pm

Today, 3/28, we had our monthly CTO meeting. Normally I only pay attention when there is something that strikes me as enlightening or that gives me some ideas on my personal agenda. Such moment came today when a newly appointed person talked about the problem with lengthy IRB approval period.

When she first came to this office, she asked her team “How long does it take for a protocol to be approved?” The answer was “I don’t know.” Next she asked “How long shall it take?” Same answer. What a typical bunch of idiots!

Of course, that’s not the way to run business. She commented, “When there is no target date, no goal, it targets to fail.” Well said! She then dissected the approval process to find out why it took so long. Under her management, the length of approval time has now been cut short by nearly half.

Don’t we need the same attitude toward whatever we target in our career?

1, Mar 23, 2014

Volker Bertelman and his album “Abandoned City”

Filed under: Success — admin @ 11:43 am

On 3/23/2014, while I was taking my lovely weekend morning walk and listening to NPR, the story of Volker Bertelman and his album “Abandoned City” caught my attention. After that, I couldn’t forget his words and feel that I must share it with my readers.

When they talked about experiment with prepared piano and why he did it,

Prepared piano: “…explored the possibilities of the prepared piano by wedging pieces of leather, felt or rubber between the piano strings, wrapping aluminium foil around the hammers, placing small objects on the strings or joining them together with guitar strings or adhesive tape.”

he said something like this, “it [prepared piano] leads to a lot of questions about myself.

Are you able to actually jump over habits? Are you able to actually work on a bigger scale than you normally think and feel that things that seem to be impossible are actually possible?”

That’s rather thought-provoking. How many of us think of questions like these in our every day life?

1, Feb 5, 2014

We succeed or fail by default, or rather by our default activities

Filed under: Success — admin @ 5:15 am

What are our default activities? They are the ones that we start doing by default, without thinking. We do it when we allow ourselves to follow our habits down the path of least resistance, when we follow our daily auto-pilot to automatically reach our default location, wherever it may be.

Day after day, year after year, following the same process, same pattern, people become the end products of their habits. There is no miracle if people succeed or fail. They succeed or fail by default, depending on the habits that drive their days and that dictate where they spend their time and energy.

A serious person should examine his/her default activities at least on a biweekly basis to avoid the formation of any examined default behavior. Catch yourself when you start drifting aimlessly, before you are seized by unsuccessful habits.

1, Oct 10, 2013

What is the question that could change your life?

Filed under: Life,Success — admin @ 12:24 am

I read this article —A Question That Can Change Your Life by Peter Bregman — on August 12, 2013. Again, I was thinking of sharing it here but didn’t have the time. Wait. I might have posted it but I forgot. Still, here it is.

“So here’s the question I’d like to propose you ask yourself throughout your day: What can I do, right now, that would be the most powerful use of this moment? What can I say? What action can I take? What question can I ask? What issue can I bring up? What decision can I make that would have the greatest impact?

Asking these questions — and answering them honestly — is the path to choosing new actions that could bring better outcomes. The hard part is following through on the answers and taking the risks to reap the full benefits of each moment. That takes courage. But it’s also what brings the payoff.”

Woody Allen famously said that 80% of success is showing up. Maybe that’s true. But, if it is, then I’d say the other 20% is the most important. Simply showing up and watching TV on a treadmill — that’s not enough. Your greatest opportunity is to use your time in a way that will garner the most productive return. To take risks that will shake things up.

What can you do, right now, that would be the most powerful use of this moment?

1, Oct 3, 2013

Successful startup habits

Filed under: Career,Success — admin @ 12:23 am

I read this one during this past summer when my daughter was home and I tried to spend some quality time with her while she was home. It was written by Shane Snow, Chief Creative Officer of his company.

1) Systematizing Repeat Tasks –Entrepreneurship, by definition, is the art of creating systems that generate more value for less effort. Startups realize that the opportunity cost of doing mundane tasks adds up quickly, preventing them from doing the high-impact work they have set out to do.

2) Great Storytelling –Those who tell the stories rule the world.”

3) Carving Out “Heads Down” Time — Interruptions eat up a huge amount of the average person’s work time. Great startups have the habit of finding ways to protect their people from needless distractions. And smart managers block off swaths of their calendars for “productivity time.”

4) Split Testing And Iterating — A hallmark of the Lean Startup movement, entrepreneurs are wont to constantly pit two or more approaches against one another and let data inform their decisions. What should the home page call-to-action say? Split test two different sentences and see which gets more clicks. How do I get more people to respond to my emails? Test different subject lines, lengths, and endings like “Thanks for your help in advance” versus “Warm regards.” What kind of outfit makes me look more professional? Try two different styles and keep track of the compliments.

5) Looking For 80/20s — There’s a strange phenomenon in work that almost always holds true: if you examine your life, you’ll often see that only 20% of the things you do account for 80% of the results you get. Being productive and being busy are two different things. If you want to quadruple your productivity, focus on the 20% first, and if you can, cut the other 80% that just makes you busy.

6) Rather Than Planning, Doing — Too many of us have meetings about meetings, and end meetings with lists of follow-up conversations to be had later. But startups, for which every second counts, have a habit of taking on-the-spot action. Instead of promising to email an introduction for you, a startup founder will pull out her phone and write the email while you sit there. Then the issue doesn’t have to take up future brain- or calendar-space.

7) Ditching Meetings… But Taking Every Networking Meeting —Most meetings are worthless. They usually have too many people, who feel obligated to talk because they are there, and they’re almost always too long.

8) Asking “Why” Like A Five-Year-Old –Entrepreneurs aren’t satisfied with the status quo. They ask “why” over and over again until they get to the bottom of things, rather than ascribing superficial blame on people, or worst of all, accepting the explanation, “That’s just the way it is.”

9) Seeing Every “It Can’t Be Done” As An Opportunity–This is the mindset from which innovation springs. To an entrepreneur, convention means average, and impossible means profit potential. People who see the opportunities in the can’ts in their work—and seize them—create positive change, get promoted, and work happier.

1, Jul 22, 2013

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:55 am

I read this article on 7/19, The One Thing These Crazy Successful People Do Every Morning, which starts with a quote by Benjamin Franklin — “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Fast forward to today and rising early is still considered a common quality of highly successful people.

“Much has been made of the benefits of being an early riser — we’re told that morning people are more proactive and get better grades, and that many of the most powerful CEOs wake up by 6 a.m. Early-risers, the experts claim, might also sleep better and feel happier.”

And much more…

1, Jul 15, 2013

Tips fighting procrastination

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:55 am

I bumped into this article around 4th of July holiday. A Step-by-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating by Gretchen Rubin. Immediately I shared it with my daughter. I am not sure if they work for you, but some of them sounds good to me.

1. “Put yourself in jail.” The explanation is: “If you’re in jail, you have all the time in the world. You have no reason to hurry, no reason to cut corners or to try to do too many things at once. You can slow down, concentrate. You can take the time to get every single detail right.” Not sure if you buy this.

2. “Ask for help.” That is, if you are hopelessly and helplessly procrastinating. You are always better off when you ask for help instead of allowing yourself to rot away your life.

3. “Remember: most decisions don’t require extensive research.” Well, that’s not an excuse to rush through a decision without a good research. The point is not to delay this research.

4. “Take a baby step.” Do something even if it is a small step forward, which is always better than doing nothing. If the task is too formidable, divide and conquer.

5. “Suffer for 15 minutes.” I am not sure if that’s a good idea. I would put it the other way. See the bright side of completing the task, no matter how undesirable the task might seem. Think of the good things that come out of this accomplishment, which is a better incentive than treating it as a suffering.

6. “Do it first thing in the morning.” Get rid of the hardest task first thing in the morning. I like this one. In fact, this is what I have been pushing all the time.

7. “Protect yourself from interruption.” Shut down or put aside cellphone or any possible interruptions.

8. “Remember, work can be one of the most pernicious forms of procrastination.” This is to say: don’t use other work as an excuse for yourself to avoid doing the hardest one. I remember a relative of mine would spend a lot of time cleaning the desk and the environment, delaying starting until time ran out for the serious work.

This is one of the best line, “Pay attention to the amount of time you spend working on tasks you dislike.” That’s why I keep telling my daughter to use a timer when she does something she dislikes, knowing she can take a break when the timer rings instead of beavering endlessly on something very dreadful to her.

“If you feel like your life consists of nothing but going from one dreaded chore to the next, you might be better off figuring out a way to avoid some of those tasks altogether.

On the other hand, novelty and challenge, as uncomfortable as they can be, do bring happiness. The chore that feels onerous today may give you a huge boost of satisfaction tomorrow, when it’s behind you. Keep that in mind, too.”

1, May 13, 2013

“Excellence is not an act, but a habit”

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:12 am

We are what 
we repeatedly do from Aristotle

Here it is, in case the image doesn’t show up — “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

1, Apr 24, 2013

Keys to high performance, Part II

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:30 am

Continued from 4/21 posting.

(1) Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.

(2) Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

(3) Practice Intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break.

(4) Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments.

(5) Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning.

(6) Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

1, Apr 21, 2013

Keys to high performance, part I

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:26 am

“The 6 Keys To Being Awesome At Everything” written by Tony Schwartz, 11/6/2010, published on Business Insider. I read this article before, but dug it out before 4/8 as I was doing cleaning up to get house ready for another adult to come back. Here are part of the article.

“We’ve found, in our work with executives at dozens of organizations, that it’s possible to build any given skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone, and then rest. Aristotle had it exactly right 2000 years ago: “We are what we repeatedly do.” By relying on highly specific practices, we’ve seen our clients dramatically improve skills ranging from empathy, to focus, to creativity, to summoning positive emotions, to deeply relaxing.

“Like everyone who studies performance, I’m indebted to the extraordinary Anders Ericsson, arguably the world’s leading researcher into high performance. For more than two decades, Ericsson has been making the case that it’s not inherited talent which determines how good we become at something, but rather how hard we’re willing to work — something he calls “deliberate practice.” Numerous researchers now agree that 10,000 hours of such practice as the minimum necessary to achieve expertise in any complex domain.”

1, Apr 8, 2013

Will power, teach children to use it to get stronger

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:06 am

Part of a good parenting is to teach children how to have a strong will power, which is the key to his future success. One way of teaching them is to tell them what they should do and do it themselves. Such as, do your homework first right after you get back from school. Tell them this,

“I know you want to play and it is hard to do the right thing when you don’t want to. But guess what? this is the occasion to practice your will power. Don’t you want to be strong both physically and mentally? Will power is like muscle, the more you use it, the more you have, the stronger you are.”

By the way, if you give in every time the child asks for something, the child never learns to accept no.

1, Mar 21, 2013

The guts, the heart and the passion to ship

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:10 am

From Seth Godin Poke the Box1

Here are the words from Seth Godin, in case the image won’t come up.
The Seventh imperative
->The first imperative is to be aware–aware of the market, of opportunities, of who you are.
->The second imperative is to be educated, so you can understand what’s around you.
->The third imperative is to be connected, so you can be trusted as you engage.
->The fourth imperative is to be consistent, so the system knows what to expect.
->The fifth imperative is to build an asset, so you have something to sell
->The sixth imperative is to be productive, so you can be well-priced.

According to Seth Godin, you can do all of these things and still fail, because you need the seventh imperative, which is “to have the guts and the heart and the passion to ship.” Read his book Poke the Box.

1, Feb 19, 2013

Your dreams, goals and their functions in motivating you

Filed under: Reading,Success — admin @ 12:12 am

Reading Sonia Sotomayor
This is the book that I was reading on 2/13/2013. I was thinking of copying the following here, but it is easier to copy this way.

1, Dec 16, 2012

Take pride in your accomplishments and others

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:29 am

My colleague’s 22-months-old granddaughter already shows competitive traits — when she is doing puzzle or some challenging task, she keeps telling herself “Do it.” When she completes a task or a challenge, she proclaims “I did it!” with a proud smile on her face. I must mark this down.

Two of my daughter’s Vietnamese friends are going to major in pharmacy in college. I told my daughter they are mostly interested in making a living, that is, getting into something that can get them a job upon graduation and then hold on to that position until retirement.

For some people, education is all about making a living like this, For some others, it is for making a career. Of course, one could say that people still need to make a living even if they chase a career. I hope people can see the difference between the two.


1, Nov 10, 2012

The making of a genius… Part IV

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:37 am

Fast-tracking talent from one of the articles:
(1) Abilities matter. They are malleable, however, and need to be cultivated.

(2) Society needs to provide opportunities for intellectual enrichment to all students to ferret our hidden talents.

(3) Psychological strengthens such as persistence, social skills and strategic risk taking are determining factors in the successful development of talent.

To achieve greatness in many realms requires extraordinary creativity, grit, passion, and social skills. Creativity, the ability to come up with novel, useful and elegant ideas or ways of doing things, has a long historical association with giftedness. …at the essence are mental processes such as metaphorical thinking, tolerance for complexity, and flexibility in problem solving.

We read so many times words like motivation, persistence, hard work, strong will and efforts. The trick is how to get a person motivated and move on at high speed toward a set goal without any supervision. Where does this motivation come from?


1, Nov 9, 2012

The making of a genius… Part III

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:18 am

Again on the relationship between genius and motivation.

“Giftedness has long been associated with high levels of intrinsic motivation–that is, engaging in a task for the sake of learning. They enjoy extrinsic factors like trophies, scholarships and other forms of recognitions.

“High achievers may have exceptional task commitment, meaning they are willing to engage in study and practice that, though not necessarily enjoyable, is instrumental to improvement.

One again, one author mentions the importance of devoting hours of hard practice. Research has shown it takes about 10,000 hours of guided study or practice to reach levels of expertise in most domains. In other words, there is no other tricks but only hard work.

Another author laments that Americans do not denote as much value to learning as to sports. “There are cheer leaders for athlectic greatness but seldom for academic achievement.”

On the other hand, becoming Olympic champion requires much more than just athletic prowess. To succeed in any field, people need the strong will power to focus, mental toughness, drive, optimism and emotional control.

1, Nov 8, 2012

The making of a genius… Part II

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:09 am

In an article inside this issue of Scientific American Mind— “So you want to be a genius?” the author, Daisy Yuhas emphasizes a person’s motivation in his/her success. He argues that when it comes to cultivating genius, talent matters but motivation may matter more.

Without it, the long, difficult hours of practice that elevate some people above the rest of us are excruciating. But where does such stamina come from, and can we have some, too? Psychologists have identified three critical elements that support motivation, all of which you can tweak to your benefit.

(1) Autonomy–you gain motivation when you feel in charge
(2) Values–motivation also blossoms when you stay true to your beliefs and values
(3) Competence–as you devote more time to an activity, you notice your skills improve, and you gain a sense of competence.

To be continued…

1, Nov 7, 2012

The making of a genius… don’t we already know that?

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:06 am

During the weekend of 10/27 and 28, I went to Barne & Noble’s bookstore to buy a book for my daughter. There I stayed for some times to read Scientific American Mind magazine, Nov 2012 issue.

As you can see from its cover, this issue is dedicated to the topic of genius, the making and predicting of a genius. Many studies either repeat or confirm what we already know, that is genius is 1 percent inspiration plus 99 percent perspiration.

“Many researcher have argued that exceptional achievement can be boiled down simply to hard work — about 10,000 hours of it. Studies of eminent scientists in the 1950s supported this view by underscoring the individual’s capacity for endurance, concentration and commitment to effortful practice.”
To be continued…

1, Jun 8, 2012

One Needs both Extraordinary Talent and Persistence

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:24 am

On 5/13, my sister told me over Skype of this Chinese saying. The main idea is this. Since ancient time, a successful person possesses not only extraordinary ability but also strong will that enables him to persist in spite of all the obstacles.

She meant to tell me that strong will played as crucial part in one’s success as talent. I took it as an encouragement to my children, as I believe both of them are rather average in their ability. In fact, people with extraordinary talent are hard to find. For most people, the key to succeed lie in this second factor.

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