Problem = Opportunity

Dec 19, 2007

I know I said I’d do a podcast. But I’m having a cough and all, and my throat isn’t too good. So I’ll just write what I intended to talk about.

It’s been a really interesting past week. A lot of ups-and-downs. But one thing it has thought me is that with every problem, there’s an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new, to do something else, which might work out even better.

My Windows system had been screwing up a lot last week. And it got really annoying, so it pushed me to change to Linux. I’ve been wanting to try out Linux (Linux Mint, to be specific) for quite a while, but never got around to it, because well, Windows was doing just fine. So with Windows starting to screw up, yes it was a problem, and yes it was annoying. But it pushed me to switch. And it’s a switch that so far has proven to be really good. The response speed and boot time is a lot faster, and I’m loving it.

Another thing that went wrong is FeedReader. I’ve been using FeedReader, the desktop application, as my RSS application. Last week, something went wrong with it, and it just stopped working. So, I lost my whole RSS list. My last backup was about a month ago, though, so not all my subscriptions were lost. But it was still really frustrating. So I’ve now moved to Google Reader. It’s working alright so far, and I’m still yet to get the hang of it, but I’m confident it’ll turn out well, considering how everyone’s been saying such good things about it.

Finally, my birthday. It was on Sunday, and the friend I was supposed to go out with canceled on me on Saturday. So that really hurt. And I was really down about it. Messaged a couple of my friends to see whether they would be free, but given how last minute it was, I didn’t expect it. Turned out I was wrong. On Sunday, at about 4 in the afternoon, Cindy messaged me, and said she was. So we met at 5, had dinner and all. And yeah. it made my day. I’ve been wanting to meet Cindy for quite long anyway, so getting the chance to meet her was good in itself. And yeah, it just made my birthday really enjoyable and fun (thanks again, Cindy!). If my other friend hadn’t canceled on me, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet up with Cindy. It wasn’t how I planned it, but it turned out well in the end, and was fun.

3 problems that happened. But it also opened up 3 other opportunities. That’s always the case, isn’t it?

With every problem, there’s an opportunity. They’re two sides of the same coin. It’s just how you look at it.

Oh, and on a side note, I’m now 17 (and 3 days)! Just one year away from being able to legally drink and go clubbing and all.

Sunday Shortlist

Dec 2, 2007

To round up my new weekend schedule (following the announcements of the Friday Flip-Through and Saturday Sharing sections) is the new Sunday Shortlist – yes, I have a thing for alliterative names. In the past, people have said that I find good links, and I personally enjoy sharing the interesting things that I read. But I also don’t want to clutter this blog too much with links that I can’t add that much to. So that’s what this section is going to be about. A shortlist of the best links I’ve found over the week. Enjoy.

Soften Your Eyes and Study Ordinary Things Intently – HELLO, my name is Blog!

There’s so much we can learn from the world around, even from the ‘ordinary’ things that we normally don’t notice. Scott Ginsberg gives us 2 articles with good reasons why we should, and some tips on how to notice these ordinary things.

Children of Overbearing, High Stress Parents Hit Singles and Doubles – Ben Casnocha: The Blog

Not a statistical study by any means of imagination, but still a good article. Being an Asian, I completely agree with what he says. And that’s precisely why I don’t really fit in with the Asian culture. I don’t want to settle for just being better than average. I want to make history.

I Am Imperfect!

Interesting (some may say weird) blog, but it serves its purpose well, and has a great message. We’re all imperfect in one way or another, and Obreahny O’Brien shares and celebrates those imperfections. A great encouragement for all of us to love ourselves just how we are. Link via Boinkology.

9-year old suspended for ‘hate crime’ – The Arizona Republic

Really ridiculous situation. And really goes to show how oversensitive we’ve become. Link via Hoovaloo.

Passion lessons from an amoeba – The M.A.P Maker

Curt Rosengren encourages us to find the path that fits us, inspired by a comment about amoebas.

If you’ve come across an interesting page/site that you want to share, feel free to email me or add a comment, and I’ll be glad to include it.

Time Management

Nov 30, 2007

I recently listened to show #108 (yes I know it’s an old show) of The Engaging Brand Podcast: Thinking Outside the Clock.

In the show, Ann Rusnak talks about time management. A lot of time management articles have similar tips, such as only checking your email at scheduled times, turning off your phone at certain times, etc. Basically to remove yourself from distractions. And those were mentioned in this podcast as well. But what really struck me was how she said time management was about priorities, knowing what your priority is and living according to that (that’s a paraphrase, of course).

Thinking about it, that’s partly why I never managed to follow the standard “time management tips” that most places provide. They talk about cutting yourself from distractions. While this in itself, is a good point, very often, the distractions they mention come in the form of other people intruding when you’re doing something (email, IM, phone, etc). But personally, my phone is on (and with me) almost 24/7. I’m keep my email open as much as possible. I’m on IM as much as I can. I stay on Twitter whenever I’m online. And I let people know this. Why do I do this? Because my priority in life is relationships and the connections formed.

And that’s why I make myself available as much as possible. All the time, if possible. Especially to my friends, the people who matter to me. I want my life to be about the people I touch, the conversations I’ve been part of, the connections and friendships I’ve built. So I spend a lot of time making myself available for conversation and community-building. Things like phone calls and Twitter and IM aren’t distractions to me, they are what life is all about. Things like going traveling half an hour to buy lunch for a friend because she forgot her wallet, to me it isn’t that much a distraction or annoyance. It’s something I don’t mind doing, because it’s important.

What does this have to do with you? Well, I just wanted to show how there are no standard tips and suggestions for time management. It really all depends on your priorities. I admit that my priorities, and the extent to which I pursue them, might not be the same for everyone, but the most important point is to customize your schedule to your priorities. So don’t just blindly take the words of the experts (you shouldn’t ever do that, in any case), but think about how they apply to your life. If you’re struggling to manage your time, don’t just google “time management tips” and apply them (a tip from the first google result already suggests “For one week, for example, set a goal that you’re not going to take personal phone calls while you’re working.”). Think about what matters the most to you.

That’s the most effective form of time management. Priorities. And that’s very much a personalized thing.

Where do your priorities lie – and how much time are you putting into them?

50% Capture, 50% Processing

Nov 11, 2007

Brian Auer shows us 28 ways to interpret a photo.

Or rather, I should say that Brain Auer’s readers show us 28 ways to interpret a photo. The collection of images here are the result of a recent project he held, where he posted a raw photo he took, and invited his readers to edit the photo, and process it in whatever way they wanted.

And as you can see, even though it’s the same main photo, the results are so different. The emotions evoked by each picture are so different. Brian himself says it brilliantly, “The photographs on this page clearly show the boundless possibilities of artistic interpretation, and it all spawned from a single image.”

It all goes to prove his belief that “photography is 50% capture and 50% processing.” An awesome project, and great results. I just want to build upon it a bit.

I personally think that his belief applies to most aspects of life. In almost everything you do, the first version, the initial take, isn’t going to be complete. That’s only half of the job. Just as important is how you build on that, how you ‘process’ your initial effort. It’s similar to the point Steli Efti made in his post about Tomato Sauce.

So, in whatever you’re doing now, I just want to encourage you guys. Even if the first attempt doesn’t work out, keep working at it. How you build on it is just as important, and can affect the results greatly.

How do you ‘process’ your efforts effectively in the things that you do?

Link via – 28 Ways to Interpret a Photo