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I’m human

Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die.

We all need someone to notice us.   Please give me your undivided attention when I’m speaking.  Please show me that you care.  Please be there when I need you the most. Please speak to me with your true feelings.  In return, I will try to do the same.

“Everyone was once a kid and had tons of dreams…”

Everyone was once a kid and had tons of dreams; dream to be an actor, dream to be a pilot or even the superman. However, do you still remember the little but passionate dream you used to have when you were 6 years old?

When life becomes a struggle and reality breathes down your neck with nowhere to breathe, all you can do is just taking all these grievances and swallow them down. Life becomes 10 insipid hours of work a day just for feeding your family; it is nothing but a torture of repetition.

I was a chief mechanical engineer of a plastic-injection machinery corporation. I used to work 12 hours a day in average just to make a slightly higher salary. One day I woke up and realized my life was fading and it freaked me out:O I will be living a life of repetition doing exactly the same thing I had been doing everyday if I don’t make a change. Where did all my dreams go? So I quit my job; took a long vacation for 6 months in search of what I really wanted to do. Being a heavy internet user, and a creative person, I found that sometimes I came up with some cooler and better ideas than the already bountiful cool things and useful tools on the web. So I figured, “ Why not do this for my job? ” Maybe I can be the next facebook! That’s the power of internet that no other else can give. Therefore I did an insightful research and analysis. I decided to follow my dreams and establish this firm.

I’ve always liked the line in the movie Forrest Gump . “ Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. ” Instead of sitting here wondering if it is worth taking the risk, I’ve chosen to give myself a chance so that I won’t have any regrets. All it needs is just a little bit of adventurous spirit and a further step. So, if you feel the way I feel, simply join us and begin your adventure! – Ben, founder of DreamersLab

When we were a kid, our teachers would always ask us what we want to be when we grow up and write about it.  I remember I wanted to be a fire fighter when a fireman came to school to talk about his job.  He had a great humor and played with us kids, and I wanted to be just like him.  Obviously, that was quickly forgotten, and some how something happened that made me want to be an astronaut.  Who doesn’t right?  I probably saw a movie with spaceships in space with all the beautiful stars and plants that are so far and so out of reach for a kid, but not for an astronaut.  And so for the longest time I wanted to be an astronaut.  The moment I needed glasses to see the tiny words on the blackboard, my dream of becoming an astronaut was forgotten, not sure if this is true, but my mom told me that only people with perfect vision can become an astronaut.

Just a few months ago, I was stuck at a dead end job.  My managers and senior executives would say otherwise and that I was in a highly regarded program within the company.  However, I wasn’t happy.

I learned a lot, and I worked a lot for it too.  By the end, I was working non-stop – no fun, no life, no nothing – with only 4 hours of sleep on average.  I struggled, I cried, and I smiled.  It wasn’t exactly in that order, but in the end, I did smile.  The moment I was free, I could not have been happier.  It was better than my graduation, better than my first job offer, and better than a vacation (because I knew I was going on one soon).

Like Ben, I was freaking out when I knew I wasn’t happy at my previous company.  Each day was passing by.  I knew soon enough months and years would pass by, and I would feel stuck.  That was my fear – being stuck, having to settle, and knowing I wouldn’t be happy – but my biggest fear was regret.  I left the company to find my happiness.  And now, I am working with my college friends at a startup that we have founded.  I am still struggling, and I know this isn’t what I had dreamed of as a kid.  However, I enjoy the things that I do now.  Everyday is still a journey full of unknowns, but I look forward to them now.

Are you on the same page as your supervisor?

The Thesis Whisperer

This post is by Cassily Charles from Charles Sturt University – a fellow thesis whisperer. Cassily is the Academic Writing Coordinator for Higher Degree by Research students in the CSU Academic Support Unit (ccharles@csu.edu.au). In this post, Cassily discusses misunderstandings about personal writing processes, and how they can lead to conflict between students and supervisors. This post is enlightening to me as an educator – I hope you will be enlightened too.

This is a story about a doctoral student named Laura (a real person, but not her real name) and how she came to pull her hair out (well a few hairs anyway).

Laura began her PhD this year and really hit the ground running – within a few weeks, she was giving her supervisors many many pages about the literature on her topic. Laura’s supervisors are conscientious, organised and well-intentioned. They gave her masses of feedback on her…

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Is love real?

There was an article post on my FB newsfeed: Why Developing Serious Relationships in Your 20s Matters. The article begins with “Are you in your twenties? Are you an entrepreneur? Have you been told by your friends, your advisors, and your professional peers that now is your time to build your own life and not worry about things like settling down and having children — especially if you’re a female entrepreneur?”

That caught my attention. I’m currently in my 20s. And yes, I just started my entrepreneur career very recently. Have I been told by my friends, advisors, peers that I should focus on my professional career instead of finding my lifelong SO? Not exactly, there has been a mix, but I had came to a decision that I want to focus on my career development first. However, to really focus on my career and nothing else, I also convinced myself that if something was meant to be, it’ll happen no matter what – true? I’m not sure, but it kept me going until now. This article is making me ponder again, despite how much I would like to avoid it.

I know I want a career that I love, and I know I only want to be with someone that I love and loves me back, equally if not more.

When I was younger, I had always wanted a serious relationship. Perhaps serious is too strong of a word, but I had fantasized that my first crush would be my first love and my SO. I fantasized of meeting him, falling romantically in love, and growing old together. I grew up watching Disney princess movies, which gave me a more than realistic “living happily ever after” kind of expectation. The truth is it never happened, and growing up and living independently in college, that fantasy was shattered quickly.

To be continued…

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Lose yourself to creation and you will never be lost in Life! (Repost)

Lose yourself to creation and you will never be lost in Life! (Repost)

“Try this: Lose yourself to a sunrise or walk in the rain. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Look at a flower. Hear the bird songs, look at your child sleeping peacefully, hold your companion’s hand, watch a tree laden with fruit…..do any of these or your own. But for a full minute. In that minute, as long as you have lost yourself to creation, I promise you, there will be no unhappiness, no worry, no turmoil in you. The Cosmic Design has a unique feature that only makes all of creation happy. But to experience that you have to learn to lose yourself. You have rid yourself of yourself, of your thought and immerse your Self in the beauty of this Universe.”

Right after I started the blog, I learned about Storylane – a place where people share things that matters, thought provoking and inspirational messages.  I now use it as a source for  daily inspirations, a place to help me feel connected even when I’m lost.  This story from AVIS really resonante with me right now.  I’m so caught up in myself, my future, that I forget about the moment.  In today’s fast paced society, it’s hard to take the time to stop and just enjoy what we’re given.  I have a hard time remembering to do this, and so I’m grateful of AVIS’s story to remind me.  If every one of us has a person in our lives who can teach us and remind us to take in a deep breath and enjoy the moment, we can be happier.

SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh! (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”

SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.
DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling.
SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”

SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.

“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love? If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family.

Some things are more important.

I think everyone should take sometime from their busy schedule and really think what’s important to him or her.  For me, it’s my family and friends.  It took me a while to realize this, but now that I know, I’ll always keep them close to me.
[Saw this pic/post on someone’s fb.  I’m not exactly the brightest when it comes to social media, so copied and pasted here…if anyone knows how reposting from fb works, please let me know ;)]
Photo: SON: "Daddy, may I ask you a question?"DAD: "Yeah sure, what is it?"SON: "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"DAD: "That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?"SON: "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?"DAD: "If you must know, I make $100 an hour."SON: "Oh! (With his head down).SON: "Daddy, may I please borrow $50?"The father was furious.DAD: "If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior."The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.DAD: "Are you asleep, son?"SON: "No daddy, I'm awake".DAD: "I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the $50 you asked for."The little boy sat straight up, smiling.SON: "Oh, thank you daddy!"Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.DAD: "Why do you want more money if you already have some?"SON: "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do."Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you."The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love? If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family.Some things are more important.

Searching for similar minds…

Today the Chinese Institute of Engineers held their annual Asian American Engineer of the Year award in Dallas and had a symposium with it. Unfortunately I wasn’t invited to the award ceremony banquet, but I was still lucky enough to have heard of the symposium and was able to attend.

The symposium wasn’t exactly what I had expected. It had the typical layout – opening remarks by the president of the DFW chapter followed by a key note speaker and then more speakers. They were all great. Good content, but not inspiring enough especially when the focus was on innovation and inspiration, which was what I am looking for.

Nevertheless, there were still some good takeaways – new insights, enforcement of concepts, and reminders that I need right now. I even had the chance to pick the brain of a TI principle fellow Gene Frantz on the topic of making ideas happen.

Innovation. By the principle fellow’s definition, innovation is discovering an unanswered problem and solving it. Or, simply creating something that society cannot live without and cannot imagine how it had lived without it. Of course, another vital aspect of innovation is spreading the product – having the business mindset to creat and market it to the extent where everyone wants it and buys it.

It’s a simple idea and is very true. A popular example is the mobile phone (or iPhone for the Apple lovers). This was something that I needed reminder of.

I now need to always remember what innovation is and develop that constant creative mindset. However, I know my flaws and the roadblocks I face right now. One of them is not knowing how to carry a concept into reality. I can see the end goal, but not the starting point.

I asked Gene how he would advise young engineers who wish to bring an idea to reality. Currently, the innovators and the entrepreneurs are the young ones, the inexperienced. Gene pointed the obvious that we need someone with grey hair, someone with experience. An advisor or a mentor to seek the validity of the idea, confirm that there’s market for it and the market is big enough. A market analysis definitely needs to be done to ensure that people are willing to pay for it. However, the big questions for me were the how and the who. How will the business be funded? Who do I include in the start of this exciting innovation?

Money is always the big question, but we often hear or the 3 Fs: friends, family, and fools. Or venture capitalists.

What about the who? As my readers, you may have already realized, but I’ve recently found myself to be an odd one from most people I know or have met. There are only few who share the same ideologies as I. Many of my friends are still fresh out of college or will be soon. They are concerned with having financial stability, which means they follow the normal path of climbing the corporate ladder. So instead, Gene says “there will be those who can’t stand the corporate structure.” That was me! That was what I needed. I didn’t think to realize there were more people like me! It’ll definitely be harder to meet people now that I’m out of college, but at least I know who to look for right now.