Keeping Eyes On The Prize

Say you have figured out what is important, your big rock or whatever the metaphor may be.  Keeping focus on it is however not always easy.  Because what’s important often takes a tumble to the trivial of daily life.  Why?

It’s easy to get distracted.  Can happen to anyone: emerging crises, fire drills, urgent phone calls, bills or simply fatigue.  Like the musical Les Miserables “I dreamed a dream” has it, life can be quite cruel and unpredictable.

Of course, when you take your eyes off, there goes the dream. So what can we do to increase our odds of success?

Here are my suggestions: One, make sure your prize is indeed yours.  Only we can decide what is important to us.  Not someone else.  Not your parents, bosses, or whomever. This way you can make the reason personal, tangible, and imperative.

Two, make a habit to check in with self to verify that what we deemed important is still our priority.  Yes, things can change, so are life situations. Good to re calibrate and be flexible while keeping eyes on the prize.

Three, make your prize a daily reminder.  Use it to bring self back on track if needed. Like a guidepost to help us get to where we need to be.  It will be the assuring compass when going gets rough.

There is no prize if we don’t try.  What else can help? 

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Week In Review – 21 May 2017

Not sure if fiasco is the right descriptor for Washington.  But ever since the election in last November, I have been fatigued by the negative fallouts.  It is not in keeping with my direction in life.  So I have decided it’s time for me to take a political detox.

Even though politics is the main event here, there are still plenty of worthwhile topics I like to indulge myself with. Environmental issues for one is such an example.  And for sure this is just my goodbye to the business of politics temporarily.

Like in any pursuit of interests, how much investment, pace, and return are delicate balances.  And no consideration is complete without context.  Nothing operates in the vacuum.

Have a great week.

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The Challenge of Seeking to Understand?

Here is the scenario: wife asks husband, “do you know what I mean?”  And he says, “Yes honey, I understand it perfectly.”  The husband is not lying, but he isn’t telling the whole truth either.

You see, understanding someone is not an exact science.  Because it’s impossible to get into another person’s head.  No matter what, the outcome is never perfect nor complete. The best one can hope for is a close approximation of the speaker’s intent.

So, the husband is put in a precarious situation.  What could he do to improve his odds of getting dinner tonight?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t get frustrated in trying for a perfect understanding, it does not exist
  • Instead, focus on not only the words but also the speaker’s intent and feelings
  • Respond in a way to make the other person feels understood

How could the husband improve his answer so his wife would feel more understood?


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Art vs Science

Art and science are like the two bookends of the humanity scale.  One can study to get a degree in bachelor of arts or bachelor of science.  Which one is more important?

Science is straightforward.  Clear in its goals and approach, the study of science involves observable and repeatable facts. Everything is in back and white.  You can argue about the limitations in sciences, the unknowns, but the argument is evidence based. It is objective.

Art on the other hand is subjective. It is based on human creativity with standards of measure more fluid than the science.  Art flows seamlessly, covering all the nooks and crannies which captures our imaginations, hopes, emotions. It is where we find perfection.

I used to rank science over art.  The former seemed more coveted while the later more mushy, touchy-feely.   “The fact speaks for itself” had an authoritative and definitive appeal. It just sounded smart.

Now older and grayer, I realize that while the sciences have propelled our world forward, it is the arts that continue to feed our souls.  Our yearnings, inspirations, despairs, can not be adequately addressed by automation or algorithm.  But music, poetry, and other fine arts can.

After all the world is not all black and white.  So while preferring science, I bow down to art.

Which one do you favor? Art or Science?

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Heat Wave Or Global Warming?

Current Temperatures


What is interesting about this national temperature map is that Washington DC is warmer than most other parts of the country.  Yes, give me all the “hot-air” jokes now, but I couldn’t help but think maybe this has something to do with the global warming.

And the answer is yes.  According to the Natural Resources Defense  Council, the climate change (i.e. the greenhouse effect) is definitely attributing to the heat waves across the globe. For instance, the forecast high temperature in Zabol, Iran (the most polluted city in the world) is 101 degree Fahrenheit and climbing despite its similar latitude to U.S. East Coast.

Now here is the good news. We can all help to reduce our carbon footprints by conserving energy in a few simple steps as suggested in the NRDC site. And shooting the politicians is NOT necessary nor recommended.

How do you stay cool in the heat?

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What’s New & Interesting?

Even though routines can provide a degree of familiarity and comfort, the sameness after awhile becomes flat.  Boredom sets in. And motivation wanes.  At least that’s how I perceive the current state of affair in Washington.

Hence, the question what’s new & interesting?

I have been getting bored with all the drama in Washington (such is the risk of being close proximity to the nation’s capital).  Too much hypes and spins.  Reminiscent of the election campaigns last year.  Politicians are robbing people’s attention.  So much so, it is pushing me to the point of fatigue.

So I am taking a sabbatical from the political news (a self-imposed exile if you will).  The spin, the finger pointing, and the innuendos will continue, but I am getting off this merry-go-round.  Plenty of inspiring subjects I rather engage instead of letting the politics dragging me down.

What’s new & interesting with you?

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How To Say Goodbye Gracefully

“The End” maybe to the point but a bit abrupt.  Would not recommend it if graceful exit is the end goal.  Imagine someone sneezed, and you were gone. Couldn’t wait to leave?

Instead, plan ahead, be positive and be brief. If done right, goodbye serves as transition for you and others involved. And not letting things hanging.

So how to do it?

  1. Capture the last impression – too late on making first impression but here is the chance to leave on a positive note. This is how people will remember.
  2. Be gracious – stick to the positives (aka what people want to hear); miss the people, enjoy the place, treasure the experience, etc.
  3. Be brief – no drama.  Stop when done.  Don’t turn an otherwise happy ending into a recital.

Other suggestions?

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My Directions In Life

Direction in life? Sounds like a big question to answer?  Not for me.

Two years ago, I decided to retire and embark on a journey to discover what my new chapter in life would be.  It was a conscious act.  Unequivocally, that decision afforded me opportunities to explore my intention and options.

While the end of my new chapter is still to be written, here is what I have learned.

Friends and family relatives often compliment on how well I have adjusted to my new role as a retiree.  Frankly, I am still getting used to that title, but I appreciate their feedback. Best I can describe is that I am moving my life in a positive direction.

What “positive” means is that I have eliminated more stressors than fringe benefits in my life.  Stressors like the commute in the city, responsibility associated with my job, and other duties as levied.  The downsides were compounding and becoming a drag on me.

Now unshackled from these stressors, I am more free and productive with my priorities. Can’t emphasize enough the joy of personal ownership of my time.  And yes, I may spend as much time in front of a computer screen as before but my outcome is more gratifying.

Instead of working on someone else’s priorities, I am working on mine.

What’s your direction in life?

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Week In Review – 14 May 2017

Happy Mother’s Day!

President Trump has convinced me this week that he is not the right person for the job. And I say that based on his behaviors since gotten into the White House.  His blatant disregards for the laws, for the people, and for the country are clear indicators that we made a wrong choice last November.

I have tried to understand Mr. Trump and given him the opportunity to fulfill his promise of “make America great again.”  But as the leadership expert, Simon Sinek, says, “there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us,“ I am far from inspired by Mr. Trump.

Moving on.

When it comes to the mobile phone, I am a late bloomer.  It wasn’t until a year before my retirement, I started to explore the potential of this device.  Oh what a fortuitous discovery.  With the internet, my mobile phone has become an indispensable part of my life, enabler to freedom and connection to a vast world of possibilities.  Life is good.

Have a great week.

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What Retirement Means (To Me)

F R E E D O M,

insofar as:

doing what heart desires,

finding what feels good, and

enjoying what life offers.

What does retirement mean to you?

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