Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the unspoken importance of balance

the other day as i was leaving the office, i somehow started reflected on how balanced my life is. and sadly, i came to the conclusion that things are horribly imbalanced in my life right now. considering life as consisting of work, play/social, and love/companionship, my scale is too heavily weighted towards work. the social and companionship aspects of my life are seriously lacking, but this is more so out of circumstance than by choice or lack of effort.

so, my next thought was exactly how important is balance, and how exactly is my work suffering as a result of this imbalance. needless to say, i really didn't come to a conclusion because it is difficult to quantify something like this when you cannot easily change the circumstances (that is, make my life completely balanced tomorrow for the sake of a scientific experiment for comparison) for a fair comparison.

ummm, yea....that's it.....lol. sorry for the ramble, but i just felt like sharing.

Monday, March 30, 2009

what are your plans once you finish?

this is the million dollar question i get immediately after telling people what i am currently doing. and, to be perfectly honest, i have no DEFINITE idea. i am toying with a number of options, but, if i had to make a decision tomorrow, i have not decided. i keep telling myself that i have time to decide, but i may need to begin seriously trying to narrow down my choices and make a decision. and hopefully, this will help me finish my degree. on the other hand, things are so cluttered in my head right now, i don't even know if it is possible for me to make a GOOD decision at this point.

maybe i am lying to myself in saying that things in my head are cluttered, and the real reason is simply i am terrified and that's why i am indecisive (and the fear is perceive by me as "clutter"). there are so many things going on in my head which make my next step unclear. i am just now coming to realize what my passions are and what i enjoy. i am just now gaining the confidence to act on these passions. i am just now opening my mind up to the endless possibilities that are my desires. the magnitude of the success that i envision can be overwhelming at times. at others, it's extremely motivating and inspirational.

i could continue to write and ramble on about all the things going on in my head right now. i will spare you the reading and simply share with you a quote i heard this past friday that really stuck with me:

"...every step means something." - keri hilson (on angie martinez's afternoon radio show on hot97 in ny)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

reach down and get more when you feel there is nothing left

this seems to be the case when i am facing barriers with my research. it's tough. not only are the problems challenging, but you find yourself fighting other distractions and competitors for your attention/energy/time. however, whenever i feel discouraged or "tired in the 4th quarter" i have resolved (to myself of course) to remember how much i love challenges and to think about a life in which nothing was difficult. let's hope that works.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"if you stay ready, you ain't gotta get ready" - will smith

this was an interesting quote i just listened to, and it got me to thinking about preparation and being ready. my thoughts then began to tackle how this applies to life. are our lives just a continuous stream of opportunities that come along at different points along the timeline? is life just a long timesheet of preparing oneself and "readying" ourselves for these opportunities? it's interesting to think about. i would venture to say yes, but to also acknowledge that there is a lot more to life that fills in the gaps. it is such a sweet feeling to be prepared and absolutely nail questions or requests that come up that no one else has the answers to.

life is most definitely a journey, but between preparation and acquiring knowledge and accomplishing goals, we must learn to embrace the JOURNEY and not the SUCCESS.

Monday, March 23, 2009

understanding when you have reached the point where planning is just procrastination for doing

this is where i am at the moment. struggling to determine if my current planning and brainstorming over the last week or so is truly planning or simply a safe place far away from doing. staring at a blank piece of paper waiting for ideas to come has gotten old and i am ready to do some work. the tricky part is that i cannot afford to waste anymore time, so i am kinda in a bind where i need to "make sure" all my efforts are meaningful and relevant to me finishing in the time that i have set out for myself.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

inch by inch

i am slowly working my way towards a definitive immediate goal with my research, but it can be slow as you try and make sure that there is no wasted effort.....especially when time begins to get short to you mentally. ensuring that what you want to test is actually relevant and interesting enough to warrant the effort. the key thing to remember with proper preparation is that it makes the work easier and smoother. effectively, you are putting in extra time on the front end to make things faster on the back end...

...or at least that's what you hope.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

what would you say in your last lecture?

i should have posted this way back when. it's amazing. this talk is modeled after a series of lectures in which top academics are asked to give a "final talk," as if it were the last talk they would give in their life. this actually was randy's final talk as he lost his battle with cancer some months following the talk. it is worth every second of its 1-hour and 16 minute length.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

be careful not to overlook your blessing(s)

i was replaying the last 5 years of my life yesterday, and i found myself feeling a sense of disbelief almost. the awards and accolades that came along during my senior year of college, winning such a prestigious scholarship, living abroad in cambridge for the last 3 and a half years, and being on the cusp of earning the highest degree offered. cambridge is a beautiful place, and i clearly see how so many people love this place and how so many great minds were fostered in this environment. the rainy days and intense fog help to hide the beauty, but sunny days like yesterday and today allow the town's true beauty to shine through. blessings come in all shapes and sizes......and agendas. having a rough experience that forces you to change the way you SEE things is just as much a blessing as getting that job you wanted. too often, we think like is like burger king where we get what we want OUR way. sometimes you just may have to take the tomatoes off the old fashioned way!!! (no complicated orders pls....lol)

there are many days that i may be upset that _this_ is not home or that i cannot go get a popcorn shrimp basket from popeye's, but those few days where i sit back and really internalize how great a place cambridge is intellectually and culturally and naturally EASILY outweigh watching espn as i get dressed in the morning.

Monday, March 16, 2009

funny commercials...something to help you get by

i was in tears yesterday as i watched this state farm commercial as i watched the ncaa selection sunday special on cbs (via slingbox of course)

lmao...."you have to shake that up a lil' bit"....."this watered down too"

then, i got to thinking about the last commercial that had me laughing out loud...and hear it is:

buddy is determined that you are not gonna make a fool of him. i'mma tear this whole damn map down.....lmao

Friday, March 13, 2009

depth-first processing vs. breadth-first processing

here's an interesting talk i watched online today. enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

20% days

just like google, i have begun taking 20% days here and there in efforts to spark more creativity and innovation. for those that are unaware, 20% days at google is the initiative google has implemented to allow employees to spend 20% of their work time (effectively, 1 work day out of a 5-day work week) working on new ideas and projects that interest them. the effectiveness and successfulness of this strategy speaks for itself---services that we use everyday, gmail, google news, adsense, etc. were born from 20% projects.

we shall see how these work out for me. when you allow people to work on something they are passionate about, they will practically work for free!!!

p.s. - here's a new website a friend put me onto yesterday, http://www.getdropbox.com/, that makes syncing files across multiple computers and between friends EFFORTLESS.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"live life intentionally"

an old friend of mine from high school emailed me today, and in that mail, she stated that "i'm trying to live life intentionally." it immediately struck me as a very simple and concise, yet POWERFUL, statement of certainty and dedication. think about it......what exactly does this mean to live life intentionally? my first thought is to understand that you get out of life what you put into it---as another friend recently blogged about (in terms of generating additional streams of income) on his moneyisjustanidea.com blog. secondly, i began to think about how i constantly remind myself that success is no accident and comes about by calculated and organized planning and doing. the last thought that i had in reading this (and possibly the saddest) was that the majority of individuals do not fully understand what it takes to achieve their goals or, even worse, they know but are not willing to put in the effort (possibly from a lack of faith that their goals and dreams are actually achievable).

there is a great deal to be said about purpose. walking with purpose. speaking with purpose. doing with purpose. thinking with purpose. planning with purpose. these are essentials in achieving that level of fulfilment we seek. as i used to hear growing up..."if you don't have the time, then you better make the time"!!!

how much is "it" worth to you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

another year older

it is absolutely amazing how fast time has seemed to fly since graduating college. i just hope that the wisdom and knowledge that i have gained during throughout the years is consistent with the amount of time. what a tragedy it would be to simply be getting older. scary. you don't want to be the older person that has no wise commentary/lessons about life.....lol. here's an AWESOME nugget i was told over the weekend:

"there are only 3 things in life: work, play, and sleep---and you can only choose 2."

that's pretty powerful. it was definitely motivation to me upon hearing this.

Monday, March 09, 2009

one last surge

i got some unexpected motivation to blog and push to finish my phd from a great friend this past weekend. she simply pointed out that i have been blogging strong for the past 3 years, and now is definitely no time to fall off. i know things haven't been the best for me the past few months, but that is all the more story to put into this project that literally started out of need for an outlet when the beginning of my phd was slow and uncertain. once all this phd nonsense is said and done, this blog will be an interesting read for me and hopefully, it may provide the encouragement to help other students starting their phd to persevere. the road does get tough, but it's always reassuring to know that triumph is possible.

that said, i will begin one last surge for the next couple months in order to finish my phd in 2009. i am in a good position to do so. i just need to make sure i keep a consistent discipline about me and a strong work ethic. i have found myself in the last few weeks to be too easily demotivated. one last surge is all it takes. let's get it!!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

how the weeks go by

things with my research have taken a turn for the better, and i am pleased to be progressing again. i was describing my latest slowdown to some colleagues yesterday at lunch, saying that things had been slow for a couple weeks. one of my colleague's responses was "better than things being slow for months" (talking about his own struggles). we laughed at the time, but i was thinking about the comment on the way to work this morning. and my thought was this, a few weeks is a month. and, realistically, i had been stuck for a month or so. i guess i subconsciously chose to see the time in terms of weeks as opposed to months. i guess similarly the way requesting a meeting in terms of minutes as opposed to hours helps to make the time seem shorter.

the next thought i had was just how fast time can fly by when you get into a funk or simply stop paying attention. that thought inspired me to refocus and charge myself to make sure that i make the most of every second of ever day in order to get the most out of life, not just school!!!