Life lessons come about in the most surprising ways. It was almost a year ago that my wife and I spent 15 minutes trying to coax our new dog Linus into getting into our car. He was no longer an abandoned puppy at the Longmont Humane Society (which by the way is a phenomenal facility that makes these abandoned-to-rescued transitions as easy as possible on the animals). He was now going to have a loving home and every dog toy known to "man"... or at least every toy in petsmart that my wife thought was "cute" (full disclosure—now I'm the dog toy fiend, getting everything that will make him tail-wagging happy). With his one-year rescue anniversary upon us, I really wanted to reflect on the experience and share all the things I learned.
Quick question: I lift a green car up off the ground 5 feet (I've been working out and have Hulk-like strength apparently) and then drop it to the ground... how far did the car move? If you answered 5 feet, you're wrong... or right, depending on the context. In the 0.55 seconds it took to see it move 5 feet in our frame of reference, the earth was moving at 67,000 miles per hour around the sun. So from the sun's perspective the ball moved approximately 53,800 feet as well. This of course ignores the additional effects of the earths rotation and elliptical orbit, but you get the general ide
All together now—"when I win the lottoTM" I will... give some money away to charity, buy everything I've ever wanted to own but couldn't afford, become even more rich by investing it in the stock market, go to all the places I want to visit, quit my job, do nothing, AND FINALLY... begin to pursue my dreams, my passions, and things that matter to me.
The reality is that we all love to dream big dreams, but they also scare the living crap out of us. What if I fail? What if I get our heart set on something we'll never achieve? What if it costs me everything I have to achieve it? What if I don't know how to do it? The list goes on.
Getting through MIT was probably the most stressful thing I've experienced in life. Of course, I clearly didn't learn my lesson the first time when I decided to spend 6 more years there to get my PhD! What can I say... I have my mom's stubbornness and I hate to lose. One phrase in particular kept me focused through the pain was the often heard quote — "MIT is a terrible place to be, but a great place to be from." The idea being that all your hard work and efforts would be rewarded once you got through the sleepless nights filled with problem sets, exam studying, and trying to be the best among the best. Still, I'm learning there are better ways to succeed in life, with whatever definition of success you like, without having to make it is as difficult as possible. This article describes one incredibly powerful idea/experience that helped me out tremendously during my time at MIT — Pass the Gavel... a yearly tradition that occurred during my fraternity's yearly retreat.
50 years ago, getting a published book was a laborious and costly task. No computers, no spell checkers, no MS word, no Lulu.com, no e-books, no kindle, and no second chance if the first run didn't sell worth a damn.
Today the opposite is true. Find a spelling error on page 23 of the eBook? Export new copy of the pdf and have the corrected version online in less than an hour. Kindle edition needs and updated cover? 5 minutes and it's all fixed.
Comment threads at popular (and strongly opinionated) news sites are fascinating from a human psychology perspective. Thousands of posts can be added in less than an hour... far too many for any one person to read, contemplate, and reply in any meaningful way - especially for a topic of great importance and/or complexity.
I was at our local grocery store buying a lottery ticket (because that NY 'Dollar and a Dream' meme always give me hope of serendipity) when I saw a very neat chinese character tattoo on the arm of the older woman handing me the ticket. Now most tattoos have some cool story or meaning and I always like to chat it up with strangers to try and brighten up their day. But when I mentioned how I liked it, I was shocked at the story behind this one.
There is a reason why public speaking is a fear worse than death for most people. The human ego can rarely stand being judged and picked apart for all of its alleged flaws (not pretty enough, not charismatic enough, not smart enough, etc.) Given enough eyeballs and enough opinionated outsiders, they'll surely find something wrong. The pressure is increased with the quantity of eyeballs in the audience just waiting to catch us make a gaff.
I have a hard time believing that you would sit idly by if you knew a company was intentionally scamming you out of your time, money, and other resources. Yet we all let our fears, worries, doubts, and other conscious/unconscious beliefs to rob us daily of our happiness, creativity, and peace in life. What a paradox! Knowingly steal $200 from me and I'll have you arrested. Knowingly destroy my happiness for 2 years and I'll just drink my sorrows away because I believe something crazy like "I deserve it" or "I had it coming."
Mark Twain once remaked "The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." In my days of coaching track and field, I had the exact same experience when trying to teach a group of athletes at the same time. 7 different athletes could hear the very same instructions and (based on their life experience, personalities, etc) come away with completely different interpretations. And it didn't matter how explicit and detailed I was in my directions. I sometimes felt like I was asking for their reaction to a poem or gut reaction to a piece of abstract art.