Category Archives: Insightful Insights

Musings on life, love, purpose, and other questions to which there can be no definitive answers.

Expressing Your Authority May Be Working Against You

It doesn’t matter whether you are a senior engineer, a team lead, or an IT manager – eventually you will encounter the situation.  A meeting or discussion that becomes slightly more animated than usual.  Opinions are strong, and it is clear that consensus will not be found on this particular contentious issue today.   As a senior engineer, team lead, or manager, it is fair and understood that sometimes you will have to make a call one way or the other.   This article is not about whether or not you should make that call.  This article is about how to make that call.

Lets say for example that you are in a meeting with many of your direct reports, and these direct reports may be working on different aspects of the same project – or – they may be on different teams, still working toward the successful completion of a specific project.  There is a contentious concern, perhaps on the complexity around a specific problem where dead-lines need to be set.  Opinions are being vocalized, and the volumes of those voices are getting louder.  There doesn’t seem to be a clear way to reason out the differences of opinion at the moment. People are being blamed, fingers are being pointed.  You are the team lead/manager.  What do you do?

Well, lets look at what you should not do, with some suggestions on how you might handle these situations differently:

  1. Do Not Swear
    • It may seem to you that swearing at a meeting to get the attention of your team is either hip, cool, contemporary, or resonant with authority, but you would be dead wrong.
    • Anyone who really wants to succeed, and wants their teams and their company to succeed, will always want to bring positivity to the table.  By swearing (and I mean anything that is obviously vulgar, saying something like “what the fuck”), you are tarnishing the respect that your direct reports may have had for you.
    • With you being in a senior position, your direct reports look up to you, and will often try to mimic your mannerisms and the method by which you work (without full context of course), and they will replicate these mannerisms upon interactions with other teams and team members.
    • If you are swearing because you are highly frustrated, and simply lost control, then that is another matter that you need to address, immediately.
    • Apologize – If you do swear, communicate to your team that you are indeed frustrated, and did not mean to offend anyone.  Apologize sincerely to the whole team, and this will immediately re-gain any respect you may have lost, since you are showing the team that you are responsible for your actions, and are willing to concede when you’ve made a mistake.  This takes courage, and is a great example to set for your team.
  2. Do Not Raise Your Voice
    • There are many situations where raising your voice might be appropriate, for example to get everyone’s attention so that a meeting can begin.  Context is very important.
    • However, raising your voice for the sake of making a point (or to invalidate a point being made by someone else), or to express your authority will only back-fire, as you will lose the respect of those to whom you are trying to make your point.
    • Silence is golden – if you need to visibly show your disappointment or disagreement with an individual or a decision being made at a meeting, then the best thing to do is to be quiet.  Stand up, and hold your hand out as if you are pushing something away from you (think Neo in the Matrix).  Make it visible that you have something to say, or that you disagree, or would like to take the discussion off-line.  Your teams will respect you even more if you are able to command the attention of a room with silence.  Any fool can get attention by being loud and abrasive.
    • Again, by raising your voice, you are setting an example for others to do the same as well.  Your team members will take your queue and start to build a paradigm around how they see you acting and reacting, and they will do the same – believing either that this is what it takes to be successful, or that this is how YOU would rather interact.  They may even raise their voice against you in the very same meeting, with the misguided belief that you would see this as a positive characteristic in them.  Do not perpetuate this line of thinking.  If you are able to command a room with silence, then everyone else will follow suit and become silent, at which point a real and valuable conversation can once again be had.
  3. Do Not Perpetuate Fact-less Finger-pointing
    • Just because someone on your team makes a claim against another, doesn’t mean it is true.  If one team member claims that they are in a bad situation, or that they “are blocked” by another team or individual, do not simply jump on that finger-pointing train.  This is the equivalent of joining a pitch-fork mob against a monster which you didn’t know existed only a few minutes ago.  As a leader, you should be critical of all information coming your way, especially the hearsay that tends to happen when a second party is criticising a third.  It is a purely reactive method of dealing with people and situations, and it does more harm than good.
    • Ask questions – but from the perspective of information-gathering, not finger pointing.  What this means is that you are taking ‘people’ out of the picture, and instead are looking at ‘facts’ (current status and configuration, time-stamps, and corroborating evidence).  Instead of just taking those who claim that the ‘sky is falling’ at their word.
    • If you are going to address someone who is to be the defendant of a particular criticism, don’t ask them “Did you do (or not do) x?”.  Instead of being open about the obstacles which have prevented them from completing a certain task, this puts people on the defensive.  Try instead to be on their side.  If you are sincerely interested in achieving success for all teams, and for the entire company, and not just for yourself or your team, then show this by being helpful.  Instead, make statements like “What can I do to help move x along?”, or “Can we spend a few moments to break down this objective into smaller tasks?  Perhaps I or someone from my team can assist with moving this along?”.  This kind questioning puts the person being criticised in a position to ask for, and accept help if they need it.  If it is simply a matter of prioritization, something the person hadn’t gotten around to just yet, or if they simply lost sight of the tasks – they will once again be aware that the task needs attention.  They may even be embarrassed that you are offering to assist them with such a simple task that they will openly concede that they’ve simply lost sight of it, and would likely resolve the situation right away to avoid further embarrassment.
    • Bring people together.  Be an example to the person raising the issue or making the criticism by bringing together the parties involved so that there can be a quick and constructive dialogue about current obstacles or perceived road-blocks.  Show people how to solve problems without escalation, so that they can perpetuate a positive methodology around people-handling, and so that they themselves can become positive role-models that others can aspire to.
    • If you instead believe that perpetuating unfounded criticism and finger-pointing is a good thing, and that is all you believe you can or should do; then all you will end up doing is to make people feel alienated.  Those who are being criticised will go on the defensive, and they will likely want to avoid interacting with you (or anyone else on the finger-pointing bandwagon) going forward.  This does nothing to improve collaboration within or between teams.  Your organization and your company will suffer because of it.

Getting upset at your direct reports, raising your voice in order to re-claim a conversation, or simply ignoring input from specific people is a sure-fire way to diminish your reputation and earned respect across your entire team.  For the most part, private sector IT including software development, systems administration, and project management, is all thought-work.  It is important to be aware of and to understand how much psychology plays a part in the success of a team or organization.  Positivity breeds positivity, and the inverse is true as well.

Bad advice on “free advice”

Cross-post from LinkedIn, in response to How Seeking ‘Free’ Works Against Our Career Success:

I cannot completely agree here. There are many who offer free advice that also happens to be good advice. Alternatively, it is important for advice seekers to learn how to distinguish between good and bad advice by learning to think critically about the information they are receiving – by asking deeper, probing questions. Every answer received should lead to further questions. While I do agree that it is important to learn how to be independent and make your own way in this world (as in the example of parents encouraging children to pay for their own education), I do not see how this directly relates to giving or receiving free advice, or how free advice (as suggested in this article) can be considered to be bad advice without further inquiry. With regard to the job seeker asking for his/her resume to be reviewed, that was simply a lazy request. You cannot help those who are not willing to put in the effort to help themselves, regardless of whether or not your advice is free.

Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson at Montclair Kimberley Academy – 2010-Jan-29

Cross-post from LinkedIn, in response to Stephen Hawking: Black Holes May Not Have ‘Event Horizons’ After All:

So relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXh9RQCvxmg Stephen Colbert interviews Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. The entire interview (starts about 6 mins in) is just a wholly wonderful discussion. I wish more people would watch it, over and over again. Dr. Tyson tries to elaborate on the very same topic (current understanding of black holes). Simply engrossing and inspiring. The interview is long, but the elaboration of black holes starts about 1hr 6 mins into the video. Enjoy!

Every Minute is a Reflection of Life

 “Time passes so quickly. Minutes are like seconds.  Hours fly by in a wink. Responsibilities are inherited, expanded.  Your self-image pushes you forward to embrace the challenge. Thinking becomes a luxury.  Quick fixes and band-aid solutions become the norm. There is always something to do, somewhere to go, something to be acquired.

Adapt.  It becomes increasingly important to be concise.  To be clear.  To avoid trivialities. However you cannot lose who you are.  What motivated you to go where you have gone, and to be who you are today? It likely makes no difference, since who we are, and the motivations that drive us change with us every day. What is important, in fact the only thing that is important, is that you continue to try to be a better you.

There is no better critic of your personal character than you.  You think about it.  Don’t lie to yourself. It does bother you to see people suffering in one part of the world, while corporations bask in wasteful ignorance in another. It does bother you that most of society is locked into a dependant relationship with such corporations. But the cure for the world’s pain can only come from awareness and education.  No one is different from anyone else. Aggression breeds aggression.  Tolerance breeds tolerance.  Empathy breeds empathy.

Simple things can make a big difference under just the right circumstances. Never give up, but don’t be hard on yourself for not going as far as you would have liked, as fast as you would have liked. Time passes so quickly.”

My Fun With Necrolinguaphilia

Last night I attended a talk given by Dr. Damian Conway (of Perl Best Practices fame) titled “Fun With Dead Languages“.  Although this is a talk that Damian had given previously, it is the first time that I heard it, and I’m so glad I did!

I was the first to arrive at the Mozilla office building at 366 Adelaide, and so was able to score a sweet parking spot right across the street (no small feat in downtown Toronto).

I arrived and introduced myself to Damian as he was preparing for his delivery shortly before a herd of approximately 70 hackers (according to Mozilla) from all language and computing backgrounds started pouring through the meeting room doors to be seated.

Damian has a very energetic style of presentation, and was able to hold our attention while covering everything from the virtual extinction of the Gros Michel Banana, to the benefits and efficiencies of stack-based programming (using PostScript as an example).  He compares many, very different languages including Befunge, Brainfuck, Lisp, and Piet, and suggests that a great place to look for new ideas is what he calls the “Language Morgue”, where he includes languages such as Awk, Prolog, Cobol… and even C++ as examples of dead languages and language paradigms.

Mr. Conway also dived into excruciating detail on how the Latin natural language can be used as an effective computer programming language, and has even gone so far as to write a module called Lingua::Romana::Perligata, which he has made available on the CPAN.

I also had the special treat of sitting right behind Sacha Chua who brilliantly sketched notes of the entire talk in real-time.  I haven’t had the pleasure of formally meeting Sacha just yet (didn’t even say “hello”, my bad!) as I didn’t want to distract her.  Aside from having my mind blown by Damian’s talk, I was also being mesmerized by Sacha’s artistic skills, and so I do feel somewhat justified in keeping my mouth shut just to absorb everything that was going on right in front of me (front-row seats FTW!).

20130806 Fun with Dead Languages - Damian Conway

Sacha has made her “Fun With Dead Languages” sketch notes publicly available on her blog for everyone to review and enjoy, and has placed it under a Creative Commons license, so please share freely (and drop her a note to say “thanks!”).

Overall, I learned a lot from this this talk and appreciate it immensely.  The energy of the audience made the discussion that much more enjoyable.  If you are interested in programming languages or language theory in general, I suggest you attend this talk the next time Damian decides to deliver it (or find a recording if one happens to be available?).  Damian Conway’s insights and humorous delivery are well worth the brainfuck ;)

Maybe Big Brother Isn’t As Bad as You Think..

Cross-post from LinkedIn, in response to Maybe Big Brother Isn’t As Bad as You Think:

“This is a future Orwell could not have predicted. And Big Brother may turn out to be a pretty nice guy.” I respectfully disagree. As others have noted, there is (and always will be) a huge asymmetry in the information being shared and consumed as far as “Big Brother” and state surveillance is concerned. The “sharing” in this case is one-way. Only those in power would have the ability to view and make sense of the data.

Your argument that we “choose to share data” because we get something in return, is flawed. Most people do not choose to share the kind of data that we are referring to in this regard, otherwise it would be done freely and intentionally, and the secretive information gathering we are witnessing here would not be taking place. Even the information we do share “intentionally”, is done so for the most part by many of us who do not pay attention to, and truly consider the ramifications of the many disclaimers, license agreements, and privacy policies that we agree to on a daily basis. What we get in return, as you suggest, is far from a fair compromise.

This one-way “sharing” means that those who are in power have not only the ability to collect this information, but also the tools and the ability to analyse this data and generate statistics that the rest of us have no choice but to consume as facts. Aside from the ability to collect and “make sense of” the data, on our behalf – those in power also have the ability to limit and restrict infrastructure and resources in order to manipulate the “facts” at the source. For example, the ability to manipulate DNS or shut down ISPs to prevent the dissemination of data – effective censorship. Many people have been detained or persecuted (or worse) simply for “sharing” their thoughts and beliefs.

How can you make an anti-Orwellian argument, a case *for* “Big Brother”, and suggest that this kind of sharing can be good and benefit us all equally, when the vast amount of information we are talking about can be controlled from source to audience by such small percentage of the population? I suggest you pay attention the thoughts and many works of notable individuals such as Noam Chomsky, Glen Greenwald, and Lawrence Lessig, and perhaps reconsider your position on this matter. I am currently reading Greenwald’s latest book “With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful”. I am sure you would find it most enlightening.

For those more visually/audibly inclined: “Noam Chomsky & Glenn Greenwald – With Liberty and Justice For Some”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1nlRFbZvXI

Why You Shouldn’t be Sharing “Live” Documents by E-mail

 

If you and your team, in 2013, are still sharing Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) documents via internal corporate e-mail, I’ve got news for you.  You’re doing it wrong.

“Live documents” are documents that are actively being updated and collaborated on by multiple people.  Collaborating on these documents by e-mail is a process that you should avoid.  It is a process that can eat away at your team’s productivity precious minutes at a time, and can severely impede your team’s work-flow and ability to stay synchronised.

I’ve been involved with projects where this method of collaboration was adopted.  Whenever I recognize this to be the case, I would immediately share my concerns, and try to suggest better ways of getting the team organized. There are always better ways to do it.

One of the biggest problems with e-mail document sharing is that there is no tracking or accountability.  There is no way to easily know what version of the document you have in your possession.  Is it the latest?  Perhaps it’s new enough?  Ever had to find an email with a document attachment, and ended up trying to craft clever little search terms to search your inbox?  Even if you find the document you were looking for, there is no way for you to know whether it is the last official revision, unless a system is implemented to allow “official” versions of the document to reside in a central location.

If there is a point-person in charge of managing this kind of set-up (for example, a simple system implemented with shared folders), and the maintainer ends up leaving the company for any reason (vacation, short-term disability, lay-off), then you still end up in a bad situation.  Without someone actively maintaining the structure of the document store, things will end up getting messy very quickly.  Users will begin storing documents in arbitrary locations (whatever feels right at the time), and before you know it, you will have to start yet another document archive clean-up project.

Version control is ubiquitous, and it is here to stay.  Any company (in any industry, not just IT) not seriously considering a process for document revision control should at least make it a point to have the discussion at least once a year.  You may find that your current document handling processes are actually a significant time waster, and that implementing a document management system could save you a lot of time (or money) over the long run.

There are many document sharing and collaboration technologies available today.  Some of the more popular include Sharepoint (if you are a Microsoft shop) or Documentum.  There are also many open source (free) packages, such as Drupal, Joomla, and Liferay.  There are even projects like Etherpad that make collaboration just plain fun.  You can also roll-your-own (if you are so inclined) by developing a custom system on top of foundational version control software such as Git or Bazaar, as I personally have done in the past.

Do your research when considering a content management system.  Some important considerations you might want to make include:

  • Is it easy to set up?
  • Is it easy to use?  Does it blend well with our team’s work-flow?
  • Is it safe?  Is it easy to make backups?
  • What kind of security mechanisms does it have built-in?
  • Is it easy to get our data out of the system (strong import/export functionality), in the event that we decide to move to another system in the future?
  • Is it cross-platform, or does it tie us to a specific platform (operating system)?
  • Is the cost worth the investment for a company our size?

The important thing here is to start thinking about it.  Be open to evaluating multiple products before you decide on a system that blends best with your organization’s work-flow. Software is about solving problems, which includes eliminating routine and time-consuming tasks.  If your company is not continually looking at new ways to improve efficiencies via clever (and practical) software implementations, then it will eventually be left in the dust as more efficient start-ups and entrepreneurs bring their shiny new productivity platforms to the game.

Flowers still hanging in there

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To my surprise the flowers we planted in early spring are still hanging in there!

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The last rainfall really helped a lot; it was starting to get pretty dry at one point earlier in the year.

Hopefully I”ll get a chance to rip out some weeds over the weekend.

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It”ll be sad to see them wither away in the fall :(

Be sure to enjoy the rest of your summer!

People Getting Along

It always surprises me when people share a bit more about themselves than they realize, especially those who think themselves fairly reserved, quiet, or “better than thou”.

I find this occurs when a big change has happened (or is happening) in that person’s life; a life-changing change. Sometimes these are the only moments when you get any kind of real insight into how that person thinks and reacts under pressure, or how they truly feel about the people and the issues in the world around them.

Enjoy The Silence

httpv://youtu.be/RTOLMbKjLeY

♫ Words like violence break the silence ♫
♫ Come crashing in into my little world ♫
♫ Painful to me, pierce right through me ♫
♫ Can’t you understand, oh my little girl? ♫

♫ All I ever wanted, all I ever needed Is here in my arms ♫
♫ Words are very unnecessary They can only do harm ♫

♫ Words are spoken to be broken ♫
♫ Feelings are intense, words are trivial ♫
♫ Pleasures remain, so does the pain ♫
♫ Words are meaningless and forgettable ♫

♫ All I ever wanted, all I ever needed Is here in my arms ♫
♫ Words are very unnecessary They can only do harm ♫

Wikipedia: Enjoy The Silence

Experiences and Recorded History

It is amazing to me how far we have come technologically, yet we are still so far away from being able to record experiences with any degree of accuracy.  It is the experiences that we have that make us who we are, our identities.  And so it goes to reason that who we are can never be conveyed to another person or individual with any degree of accuracy.

There will always be gaps.. pieces of the puzzle missing so as to prevent anyone from seeing a clear picture of who you are, both inside and out.  The people around you the most will (should) have the fairest ideas about who you are overall; but even they woun’t have all the information.  There will always be little details about your personality, your dreams, and your fears that no one will ever be aware of, simply because they reside nowhere but within your own mind.

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

It’s occurred to me fairly often of the past several years that the reason why democracy doesn’t achieve ideal results is simply because most voters are ill-informed about the real issues facing the world; and not just the issues being relayed via cable television news networks.  This article simply confirms my assumptions.. unfortunately.

For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they “effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.”

Read the full article here –>>

Are your feelings as important as those of others around you? Should they be?

Ever feel like you’re in a position to make a decision where there can be no reasonably useful or positive outcome?  Ever feel like the the choice in front of you will simply lead to misery (or at very least, be anti-climactic), regardless of the path you take?

We are all selfish in our own little (or not so little) ways.  We have all said, done, and been involved with things in the past that has shaped us into the individuals we are today.  Everyone at some point will regret some of the decisions they’ve made.  At the same time we understand that, in most cases, we would not have acquired the wisdom of experience gained by making those decisions in the first place.  Wisdom aside, we may never again have the opportunity to engage experiences we have always quietly longed for.

I, of course, am not a God fearing man by any means.  I don’t believe that chosing whether or not to consume pork or beef will have any major karmic consequence (aside from what can naturally occur health-wise if proper diet isn’t maintained).  I believe that whatever happens to us in our lives is the result of either a) the decisions we have made in the past, b) the decisions that others have made which happen to affect us by consequence, or c) cascading events over time, including genetics and environmental changes. Any moral conflicts which stir in my mind are the result of my own experiences and what I’ve come to see as good, bad, or taboo.

Having said that, “let your conscience be your guide” becomes a double-edged sword. Taking your own feelings into account is just as important as taking into account the feelings and wishes of others (isn’t it?).  One day you may find that the very thing you’ve avoided in order to “do the right thing” – to be the best model of a good person that you can be (from the perspective of your current society/environment),  could very well end up being your biggest regret.

There is of course a significant portion of our population that, by default, will put their own feelings first, before the feelings of others.  Lets call this group the “me first” group.  This type of person will consider the feelings of others as an after-thought, and usually in a reactive manner, should their general lack of consideration put them in an uncomfortable situation.

I am not one to be inconsiderate of the feelings of others.. for the most part.

On the flip-side, there are those who feel that their desires and feelings should always be considered first, in any situation.  I guess these people also fall squarely into the “me first” group.  Many of these people have a knack for twisting culture, tradition and social norms to support their “me first” mind-set.

But isn’t making your own feelings an equal or greater priority over the feelings of others place you in the “me first” group as well?  It depends.

It’s all about patterns – how often do you do it? How regularly does it occur? To what extent? I would imagine that the “me first” group are “me first” people most, if not all of the time.  Whereas, those who have to consciously think about putting their own feelings first – who generally put others first, and themselves second (or last) don’t necessarily get lumped into the “me first” group.  Of course, a single selfish action can cause you to be labelled one way or the other.  I suppose also, over time, people can shift in and out of the “me first” group depending on their current life situation.

But anyone capable of using the space between their ears can understand the difference between an intermittent, irregular behavior, and that of behavior which is regular, recurring, and often predictable.

So.. does a selfish act committed by a generally un-selfish person, make that person generally selfish?  Everyone is selfish to some degree.  Understood.  However there are extremes that need to be taken into account, extremes that most people cannot (or will not) acknowledge.  Practical wisdom to the rescue.

TEDxUW – Larry Smith – Why you will fail to have a great career

Larry Smith, economics instructor at the University of Waterloo, gives a very moving lecture to both educate and inspire upcoming graduates on the reason why most of them will fail to have a great career.  He doesn’t come right out and say it, but he does all he can to point his viewers in the direction of the answer in the hope that his audience will come to the realization themselves.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKHTawgyKWQ

 

Stop And Smell The Roses, But Be Wary of The Road Yet Travelled

Here is a wonderful poem that I remember from my childhood.  Although many of the things that we learn in school as children are akin to shrink-wrapped airplane food, there are some juicy bits of wisdom that are worth taking the time to stop and savour.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Wikipedia: by Robert Frost, 1874/March/26 – 1963/January/29

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”  These words always seem to dance in the back of my mind after any significantly challenging or rewarding moment in my life.  It is a reminder that despite where we may be right now in our lives, we have miles to go (both in mind and body) before we reach our true destination, which is (when you really think about it) just another point of departure.  Go bravely into the great unknown.

Just finished “The Book” by Alan Watts. I like it.

I have just finished reading The Book.. On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!  It comes as close as I can imagine to a book that helps its reader truly understand the concept of existence, our world, and our “purpose in it”.

The Book (cover)

I must admit that I have had an affair with such ideas and philosophies for a very long time – and this perhaps makes the content and context of the book easier for me to grok than it would others – but it is worth the effort.  If there is anything worth doing in this world, I would image that understanding who you are, and understanding why you have the experiences and knowledge that you do, in contrast to the experiences and knowledge of others around you, to be of utmost significance and importance.

I have written a few articles under various pseudonyms over the years that explore the very concepts explained in this book, but have never really come across a published work that summarized these thoughts as clearly and succinctly as I would have liked, until now.

If you have any capacity or motivation to understand the world you live in, and you are able to free yourself (your mind) from the conditioning of your environment and your up-bringing, even for a moment, then I suggest you take the time read this book.

If you are not very familiar with Eastern or Western philosophy to begin with, then the ideas in this book may be difficult to grasp.  Nevertheless, once you’ve had a chance to explore the basics of such ideas in other writings, you would do well to circle ’round and come back to this marvelous treasure.

[Quote] Alan Watts on the difference between where we are, and where we are going..

“… To most of us living today, all these fantasies of the future seem most objectionable: the loss of privacy and freedom, the restriction of travel, and the progressive conversion of flesh and blood, wood and stone, fruit and fish, sight and sound, into plastic, synthetic, and electronic reproductions. Increasingly, the artist and musician puts himself out of business through making ever more faithful and inexpensive reproductions of his original works. Is reproduction in this sense to replace biological reproduction, through cellular fission or sexual union? In short, is the next step in evolution to be the transformation of man into nothing more than electronic patterns?”

” All these eventualities may seem so remote as to be unworthy of concern. Yet in so many ways they are already with us, and, as we have seen, the speed of technical and social change accelerates more than we like to admit. The popularity of science-fiction attests to a very widespread fascination with such questions, and so much science-fiction is in fact a commentary on the present, since one of the best ways of understanding what goes on today is to extend it into tomorrow. What is the difference between what is happening, on the one hand, and the direction of its motion, on the other? If I am flying from London to New York, I am moving westwards even before leaving the British Coast.”

– From: The Book.. On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, by Alan W. Watts,  First Collier Books Edition 1967

An arbitrary thought

I’m sure that not everyone has this ability. It takes a sense of rhythm, the ability to identify and follow a pattern.  The ability, is that which allows you to listen to music and have it somehow tell an epic story in the depths of your imagination.  If you’ve ever done this, then you know precisely what I’m talking about.  I would argue that it is one of the most creative things a human being can do – create a visual story based on sound.  It’s like our ability to draw three dimensional objects on 2 dimensional surfaces, these are very special abilities – very rare gifts indeed.

Just had an idea for a multi-player, multi-controller, single interface, multi-achievement gaming environment.

Imagine a multiplayer game where two or more people are playing the same game simultaneously, and controlling the same character. I don’t mean controlling parts of the character, I mean the whole character (for example, if implemented in a first-person shooter, or RPG like Oblivion).

The game starts, and you are both playing the same character at the same point in time. The way this works is that each player is playing an instance of that character in the same world. Each player is able to make decisions and do things however they see fit with their character instance. The character that has the higest achievement score after a major decision or event becomes the save-point for the next period of play. So whoever makes the better decision, or who ever fights the best and delivers the most damage and kills the bad guy, win that round, and the game continues forward from that point.

This could be applied to games like Oblivion, where multiple people are playing the same character, and the one who kills the vampire, or the one who is able to pick the lock, wins that “encounter” receives a separately counted set of points (tied to the player, not the character), and the game is saved and continues from that point.

I think this would be a great game to play, you can jump in and out any time you want, and the game will continue to move forward because of the other players. Consider this idea GPL’d.

The Movie Review: Limitless

So I watched Limitless the other day on the advice of good friend.  (spoiler alert) It was awesome.

Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper as Edward “Eddie” Morra, explores a world where a pharmaceutical  company has manufactured pills that, when ingested, allows the imbiber to use the full capabilities of his or her brain.  If we currently only use 20% of our brains, then just one of these pills would allow you to use 100% of your brain power within 30 seconds of swallowing it, and the effects last for almost a day.

What makes this movie exciting for me is the believability of the powers that Eddie is endowed with, not to mention a great performance by the cast.  When Eddie takes his first pill, he essentially gains instant access to every single memory that he has.  Everything that he has learned, overheard, or glanced at briefly, becomes a strength and an intuition that he quickly begins to realize and exploit.  Not only does Eddie have access to all of his memories, including all of the Bruce Lee movies he has ever watched, but he also instantly gains the muscle-memory required to accomplish these feats which he has never trained for.

Eddie’s senses become sharper, and some type of time-dilation occurs which allows him to instantly absorb the smallest details about the environment around him.  He becomes intensely motivated to challenge himself by doing seemingly impossible things, like learning to fluently speak new languages in a matter of days.  He can mentally profile people he’s just met with great accuracy in a matter of seconds, allowing him to masterfully manipulate people and conversations to his advantage.  But the most important “ability” that he gains, in my opinion, is the drive to go out into the world and do something.

You see, before Eddie took the pill, he was an unmotivated, unsuccessful writer with one failed relationship behind him, and another crumbling right in front of him.  He was always behind on his rent.  He’s had perpetual writer’s block, which prevented him from even starting to write the novel he’d been promising his publisher for several weeks; and even though he’s a reasonably healthy guy, with a place to live (for the time being), he always looked homeless whenever he went out in public.   Eddie was a mess before the pill.   However, after taking the pill, and given the ability to master his own mind, Eddie was no longer afraid of anything.  He could quickly visualize possible solutions to any unexpected situation he was facing, and address the situation with ease.  Eddie completely turned his life around and began to accomplish things he would never have dreamed of.

I expect that fear is an element of life that can hold us all back from reaching our full potential, but only if we let it.

Eventually, Eddie figures out how to maintain his newfound mental mastery without the need to take the pills, and realizes that he has the entire world at his finger-tips.  However the only thing Eddie wants to do, more than anything else, is share his abilities with the rest of the world so that everyone can experience what it feels like, to be limitless.

It should be obvious that I think Limitless is an awesome movie, and I believe many of you will enjoy it as well.

 

 

So Whats New?

Looks like the Canada Post strike is over, for now.

I don’t know if it would be wise for Canada Post to strike again.  It’s crossed my mind several times, as I’m sure it has crossed the minds of others, that we have enough technology in place, including wireless technologies and the Internet, that we could essentially do away with Canada Post and do everything digitally. It may seem like Canada Post offers a unique and relatively inexpensive service; but with them out of the picture, new solutions would start springing up in no time.

Document imaging would become a hot topic again (whatever happened to the popularity of personal document scanners?). Encryption would once again become an active topic of discussion.  Companies like Purolator and Fedex simply cost too much, and so more “do-it-yourself” type solutions would begin to flourish quickly.

I’ve been listening to some of my favorite tunes lately that I haven’t heard in a while, such as INXS, Portishead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so on.  What I’ve found very curious is that many of these great bands and their awesome songs have been songs I have been listening to ever since I was a clueless child.   Songs by Counting Crows, Seal, REM, and Evanescence were songs that really spoke to me, and validated for the most part, that this world we live in truly is a crazy place.  These songs were just the universe’s way of telling me that it totally agrees with me.

I think some of best lyrics in any song has come from Evanescence.  They were a band that was so ahead of it’s time, it isn’t even funny.   There are only a few other bands that I would place in that category, such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and  Sneaker Pimps.  Hell, I’d even put No Doubt in that list, their “Tragic Kingdom” album was absolutely freaking awesome!  But there simply aren’t that many bands today that I’d put in that category.. but maybe I just don’t listen to enough new bands to know?

What bands do you like to listen to that you’d rank up there with a title of “One of the Greatest Bands of All Time”?

Thoughts on Religion and The World Today

I’m starting to think that more and more people are falling back to religious beliefs and traditions because they begin to believe that once you become secular or atheist, that the world has no meaning, that things are as they are, and there is no mystical purpose to life or the universe, and this makes them feel uncomfortable.

I think it’s comforting to know that the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, our world, and yes, all of us are travelling down a singular path which we cannot break away from; that all events, actions, and reactions which take place in the physical world, that have taken place in history, are simply things that we must experience in order to move forward.

It is inevitable that we will all die one day, and that the generations that come after us will all make the same mistakes (not necessarily in the same way, but in the same vain). The World population is continually growing, and it is already way past Earth’s capacity to support human life without the assistance of war and fear (or so it would seem, the way our world leaders have been acting and reacting lately). These are all things people are starting to realize in this age of free information and global connectivity. The reason why the majority of the world cannot cope with this realization is that our actions are still heavily influenced by emotions, faith, and romanticism.

Although we have so much technology at our disposal, we are still not a species which allows logic and reason dictate our choices. Instead, emotions, faith, greed, and mis-information are still the primary movers of the world.

Likely we will one day become an enlightened species, and finally refer to ourselves as “the Human race” rather than as white or black, or by where we were born or raised.  Maybe one day we will become a single nation which finally takes direction from logic, reason, and innocent curiosity; but that time seems very far away, and it’s quite likely we will destroy ourselves before we ever get there.. but I guess it’s still a possibility that we will overcome all our hatred and prejudices, and finally become a peaceful and free world.   Likely you and I won’t be around to see that day, but you never know.  Have faith.

Jolicloud is of the Awesome

So if you haven’t heard of Jolicloud http://www.jolicloud.com/, then you need to download and install it now. It’s an Ubuntu based OS (a self-proclaimed “Cloud OS”) specifically designed for Netbooks, and it rocks. I have Jolicloud installed on my Samsung N110 Netbook, and I use it for everything from e-mail to games (snes9x) to work (Perl/Vim/Screen). Now what makes Jolicloud super-awesome is that it treats web applications no differently from desktop applications. Each application gets it’s own icon on the “Home screen”. It’s also socially aware – it can connect to facebook and allow you to search for applications and/or people who’ve used those applications, so that you can ask them questions and get guidance on the tools you’re trying to use.

The interface is very slick – big icons and a clean method of navigation to the lesser used functions of a standard Gnome/Ubuntu desktop. The most-awesomest part is that once you load up a terminal, you have full access to the command-line and all Ubuntu apt repositories.

Jolicloud isn’t just for netbooks! I’ve also installed it on my Acer Veriton (similar to the Acer Revo), and am using it as a media center OS. Jolicloud also comes in an “express” edition, which allows you to install it under windows, where it will come up as a secondary OS option under the windows boot-loader.

If you have a netbook, nettop, or any light-weight PC, then install Jolicloud. Highly recommended.

Recession, War, Politics, Poverty…. Software Development?

The way things are these days, you’d think that I, like I would imagine many other people in the world, would be thinking about money, the recession, the potential for war between countries who have been flirting with the bomb, my mother and the sale of her house, poverty in Africa, and the general suckage (is that a word?) in the world.

But no, I’m not thinking about those things.  What’s on my most most of the time is software development and programming.  I’m constantly thinking about what I’m good at, what I suck at, and what I need to do to get better.  Is that selfish?  Let me answer that – yes it is very selfish, but I don’t necessarily believe that selfishness is always a bad thing (part of me can relate to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Rational Self-interest).

The question though is not “is this selfish?” Rather, the question I’m putting out there is “is this normal?” There are enough things going on right now in my life, dealing with situations and people that I find simply unreasonable, that I’m finding it hard to identify what is “reasonable” any more, because what I see as unreasonable seems to be the norm for the majority.

So is it wrong to think about my career and personal development during times of stress? I feel it to be instinctive to focus on your strengths during times of uncertainty, but what do others out there think? Do you feel that in times of stress, you should cut away from what you’re used to and try something new, or go on vacation? Or do you believe that it’s the perfect time to share with others, give back to your community or family and try to increase your karma (if you believe in such things)? These courses of action are not mutually exclusive, but it helps to identify what needs focus if they’re not jumbled together.

If this post seems a little incoherent, it’s 1am, and my eye-lids have been drooping constantly since I started typing.
Have a good night all :)

I’m not crazy

At work these days, because I’m the only developer on my “team”, I’ve been in the situation where I’m extending (which includes extensive, and often times ridiculous rounds of debugging) other peoples code.  Many of the projects I’ve inherited weren’t written to be maintained by anyone other than the original developers.  I’ve long ago come to accept that most programmers are not passionate about simplicity and elegance, and therefore write endless reams of code that over-complicate simple problems.

Now at VMware, I do work around some severely intelligent people, but unfortunately they are not developers, so I don’t work with them.  Because of this I often times rant to them about the ridiculousness of a given situation; and they’re smart, so they understand the problem technically, but because they aren’t working with me it would be hard for them to empathize with my frustrations.

I love reading Paul Graham‘s essays every once in a while, because he seems to be able to understand and articulate my frustrations so well.  One in particular that I’ve been re-reading is Great Hackers which always makes me breathe a sigh of relief because he reminds me that I’m not crazy.

If you are a manager and have to manage a group of experienced programmers, I urge you to read that essay.  You just may prevent one of your developers from committing heinous acts of insanity.

Second Presidential Debate: Obama vs. McCain

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I watched the second debate last night, and I was very disappointed.

Obama kept repeating his same old attacks against McCain, and McCain likewise.

The problem I have with these debates is that they are not moderated correctly, in my opinion.

Why wasn’t Tom Brokaw controlling the debate, insisting that they answer his questions directly?  Tom should have said something to the effect of “I want you both to answer these questions without resorting to criticism of one another.  I want a debate that focuses on solutions, and on your ability to answer the questions posed by the American people, not a debate based on what you think about each other.”

Continue reading Second Presidential Debate: Obama vs. McCain

Amnesty International and Donating to an Important Cause

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Every once in a while my wife and I donate to various causes, including Breast Cancer Research, Diabetes Research, and Sick Kids Hospital, among others.  However, we’ve been talking about committing to one or more causes on a monthly basis for a long time.  Finally, one of the causes that I’ve personally decided to make a monthly commitment to, is Amnesty International.

Unless you are living with your head in the ground, you know that people are all over the world are living in chaos – fearing for their lives while being mistreated by terrorist groups and governments which operate as military dictatorships.

The media, including major “trusted” news outlets, do not cover most of the mass killings and crimes against humanity which are happening every day around the world.  It is disturbing to observe and acknowledge how many people I know who are not aware of the Genocide which took place in Rwanda in 1994, where over one million people were slaughtered, with nothing more than machetes, over a 3 month period.

I believe that everyone has the right to an Education, and the right to explore opportunities for health, wealth, and happiness the same way that I, or anyone else in North America does.

Continue reading Amnesty International and Donating to an Important Cause

Why I Woun’t Be Jumping on the “Google Chrome” Bandwagon Any Time Soon

Everyone has heard about Google’s first dive into the web browser market with their shiny new Chrome web browser. I’ve given the browser a try, and did some simple usability comparisons with it, and Mozilla’s Firefox 3. I must say that the browser does “feel” lighter, kind of like back in the day when Netscape decided to break Netscape Communicator into smaller components, separating out the e-mail client and composer application from the browser itself.. this just felt more responsive, and less bulky; this is what it feels like to use Chrome. However, this is just an illusion.

Firefox 3 is just as fast as Google Chrome in many respects (and in some cases much faster). However it still feels like good old Firefox. Why? Because the interface is almost identical to Firefox 2! Why change something that works, something that people like?

Google Chrome does have some nice features which the Mozilla guys have been working toward already, such as process independence for tabs, allowing you run each tab in it’s own isolated memory space – thus preventing one tab from crashing and taking down the rest of your web browser with it. Mozilla has had a version of Firefox available in Mozilla Labs called Prism, which does exactly the same thing. Although it’s still in development stages, it works great, and I use it every day for browsing GMail, Google Reader, etc.

The main problem I have with Google Chrome (seriously) is that.. it just isn’t Firefox. I know that may sound biased or prejudiced, but here’s my resoning.

Continue reading Why I Woun’t Be Jumping on the “Google Chrome” Bandwagon Any Time Soon

Braindump: WxWidgets, Version Control, and Firefox Bookmarks

WxWidgets GUI Programming

I’ve been thinking about creating an application using the WxWidgets GUI API.  I’ve read a lot about it, and many seem to really enjoy the results of the applications they’ve created with it.

For my own purposes, I’ve been looking for the ideal GUI API that would allow me to quickly create cross-platform desktop applications for Windows and Linux platforms (Mac would be a bonus).  I’ve looked at QT, GTK, and MingGW.. but I’ve been turned off because they don’t seem to have strong Perl and/or Python bindings (although Perl strong with Tk, I’ve heard).

I’ve tried a small test Python program with WxWidgets (GTK version), and was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of the code.  I think I’m going try some other tests, this time using Perl, as I want to note the differences in complexity between Perl and Python code.  Currently, Perl is my canvas of choice ((Being that I see programming as an art, more than anything else)).

Continue reading Braindump: WxWidgets, Version Control, and Firefox Bookmarks

Whats in a Baby Name?

My very good friend Derek and his wife Sue just had their second baby girl, born Friday August 29th at 8:23am.  Coming in at 8lbs, 49cm, I’m sure that she is a healthy happy bouncy baby.   However she has a bit of a problem.. she is nameless.

Once Derek told us that he and Sue have not picked a name yet, it was of course an opportunity for myself and Amy (another good friend) to start issuing unprompted suggestions (ok, mostly it was me) about how the baby should be named.

I’ve made many colorful suggestions, but this opens up a bigger discussion on the purpose of naming a child.  Many people who have children go with names that they are familiar with, or names that were also the names of other members of their family.

For example, the name John is probably a very common name in North America.  If you were to follow the reasoning that the purpose of naming your child is to differentiate that child from every other, then naming that child John is a contradiction.

Most people may say “well, thats what middle and last names are for”, but if your last name is “Smith”, you may want to consider re-thinking your choice.

A more personal example for me would be the name “Bobby Lopez”.  The name “Bobby Lopez” is surprisingly common, especially when you do a search on Google.  For years, I have differentiated myself by prefixing my first initial to my name, “J. Bobby Lopez”.  This makes all the difference in the world when it comes identifying who I am on the entire planet, let alone at the office, or in my city or community.

Now names like “John” or “Joe” may be very common in North America, or other predominately English speaking countries, but they are far from common in the global community.  The majority of people in countries like China and India, which hold most of the worlds population, most likely would not consider “John” as a first or second choice for their newborn.

So is it possible that names which were once used to differentiate people from each other, are now used to protect the identify of a culture?  Maybe naming a child John has nothing to do with giving the child a unique name, but everything to do with promoting that child’s origin, background, or beliefs (as would be taught by parents).

I don’t know if parents from any cultural background go through the thought process of naming a child with such depth, but it is very interesting to see the names that first come to a parents mind when they have a new child.  It’s a very exciting and emotional process, and I’m ecstatic whenever I get to be a part of it.

What Does It Take To Be A Teacher?

I’m sure that everyone at some point in their lives has had moments where they think about the goals they have accomplished, and what the future has in store for them. Taking that a step further – I’m sure many people also sit and think hard about “whats next”?

I’ve had those moments many times before, and I seem to be having one again. I am trying to figure out if IT and Programming is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I know I’m good at it, and I know that I still have moments where I’m “in the zone” – meaning that IT software development still holds an interest for me, somewhat.

Of course, having a birthday recently, and being in my late 20’s has caused me to re-evaluate the course of my life.

Of the alternatives I’ve considered to Programming, some of the more interesting ideas include teaching in a foreign country (Guyana, the birthplace of my mother and wife, came to mind). Teaching here in Canada also crossed my mind, along with Financial Planning, and helping people find jobs.

Continue reading What Does It Take To Be A Teacher?

What is a Birthday?

It’s around that time again for me, July 19th; the day the marks the end of another year of my life. Many thoughts roll around in my head on my birthday of course; some good, some not so good, some psychotic (very very few). In general though, I think it is a time for reflection on the experiences I’ve had over the past year, and (if for some reason no other time seemed right) a time to be humble and pleasant to the people and situations that surround me.

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I don’t think birthdays should be all about gifts and birthday bashes involving large groups of people you don’t know. Not that these things are bad, but they are but small and relatively unimportant parts of a birthday. I do think it should be a time where you can allow yourself to be unconditionally open to positive energy and attitudes. Negative attitudes should be brushed off like dust on an old book; a minor annoyance on the surface, but only a superficial obstacle compared to the vast meaning and knowledge held within the pages of the book itself.

To all who share a birthday around this time, I implore you to take this time as gift to yourself, and use it to show the world your capacity for kindness, tolerance, and patience.

Have a wonderful, easy-going, peaceful and happy birthday.. if only in your own mind!

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Blogspot.. How Do You Manage?

Right now my main point of communication with the rest of the world is this blog, which is just fine by me. But now and again I’m reminded by friends that these other services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, MySpace, etc., are out there, and that I should log in more often so that they can satisfy their interactivity needs by poking me, or making certain that I’m informed about what they happen to be having for dinner.

I am a proponent of building and maintaining social networks, don’t get me wrong. However I find it rather difficult (time consuming) to try and keep all these little social networks updated with my latest going’s on.

There are some solutions, such as allowing one service to update all others by providing them with your login/passwords to each of these other services (Facebook provides applications which does this). I don’t like this concept though, because I don’t like the idea of giving all my personal authentication information for all the services that I use to just one company (call me paranoid).

Therefore I’ve found small ways around this, such as including a Twitter update widget onto my WordPress blog, which doesn’t require any username/password information because it uses the Twitters “public timeline” service. It would be great if Facebook also had an application that allowed you to update Facebook’s status by reading the public timeline.

I haven’t found such a Facebook application, though I think it would be very popular. Then again, I don’t think this type of Facebook application will ever be created, because I believe that Facebook is all about driving people to log into their site to do their updates, and to prevent these updates from occurring outside of Facebook. I know that Facebook apps are mostly created by end-users, but I think there are some restrictions on what Facebook allows third-party developers to develop (just a theory), and this may be one of those restrictions.

To the other bloggers out there who are in the same boat, trying to organize and automate all your social networks – what tricks and hacks have you found that seems to be making your life easier?

Update:Trevor Mauch has a great article on the benefits and drawbacks of using Twitter vs Facebook.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Once Again Read, Once Again Loved!

Some say it is easier for humans to remember negative experiences than positive ones. I’ve found this to be true often enough, where I forget how much joy I experienced from a well prepared ethnic dish, or how good it feels to walk on the sandy shores of a beautiful beach on a sunny summer day. The same goes for simple routines, like watching a favorite television show, or reading a good book.

Don't Panic!

I had this same feeling again recently when I decided to read through The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve read the book before, and had found it to be an endlessly funny sci-fi adventure. This time however, I found the book to be so much more. Douglas Adams is so brilliant in his writing, that he puts even the most mundane of topics into a new light, and forces you to view it from such an angle that your head ends up under your armpit, which just happened to be relocated between your legs.

A movie version of this book came out a few years ago, but it does not do the book any justice. So many layers of plot, witty narration, and internal dialog of the characters is missing that the movie totally misses the depth of the book by 7 billion light years.

If you haven’t read this book, please do. And if you don’t understand it, read it again, with a dictionary by your side. It is in your best interest to fully grasp the ferocious satire and intelligent humor that only an author like Adams can bring to the table.

Ear Plugs

I’m a big fan of ear plugs. I use them while working, reading, and sleeping. When I wear them, I find it takes very little effort to concentrate on what I’m doing. Using ear plugs while sleeping helps me fall asleep faster, and allows me to get a full night’s rest while almost never waking up in the middle of the night.

Being a big fan, I’m always on the lookout for better ear plugs, such as plugs that block out more sound, are more comfortable, or even more portable. Part of my search lead me to an article (2005) by which gives a great overview of the different types of ear plugs available, and a rating as to how effective they are in comparison to each other.

If you’ve ever wanted to increase your concentration at work or at home, or have had trouble getting a full night’s sleep, you should read the article above. A simple pair of ear plugs could change your life!

How Enforceable is a Disclaimer?

After taking some time to carefully construct a disclaimer for this site from various other disclaimers I’ve found on the ‘net, I started to wonder “How Enforceable is a Disclaimer?” Can it actually protect you from being prosecuted if some individual or company deems it necessary? Has anyone had any experience with legal issues surrounding disclaimers, or seen situations where the lack of a disclaimer resulted in legal action which could have been prevented if a disclaimer was present?

Doing What You Want To Do

I just recently finished reading two articles by noted essayist Paul Graham

These two articles essentially discuss the idea of doing what you want to do in life, without feeling guilty.

I find that I can relate closely to the ideas presented in these articles, as I’m sure many people can. In many ways, these articles focus on the same idea from different angles.

There are two basic ideas outlined in these articles. The first is that your work should reflect what you like to do (what makes you truly happy) and vice versa. The second idea, is that you should not feel guilty for procrastinating, or putting off smaller or seemingly less important tasks in order to do what you really want to do.

Now I know what most of you may be thinking, that there are always things that have to be done, such as paying your bills, mowing the lawn, or taking out your garbage. What most people don’t realize, is that they have put themselves in a situation where mowing the lawn, or taking out the garbage is a bigger problem than it needs to be.

For instance, you would not have to mow your lawn if you lived in a condominium. However, many people “upgrade” their standard of living by moving to a house with a large lot, not realizing that they are essentially giving themselves more work that they don’t want to do! In the case of paying your bills, you know that the more you put it off, the worse it will get. The best way to resolve that problem is pay them right away (or automate them with pre-authorized payments :)

Usually the motivation for buying a new or bigger house, or nicer car is simply because of the prestige associated with it. Many people are quick to say things like “money isn’t everything”, or “an education is more important than anything else.” Yet, they don’t truly believe this themselves. To this type of person, education is a means to an end, and that end is simply to acquire more material wealth (more money).

However, the truth is that money never makes you happy. It is possible that what you do with your money can make you happy, but depending on what you do, that happiness may not last very long.

In any case, I don’t want to detract from the essence of these two beautiful articles, which I believe can change your life if you take the time to understand them.

Articles:
How to Do What You Love
Good and Bad Procrastination