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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wealth Unleashed

The ability to be financially free dwells on my mind constantly these days like a never ending daydream. Recently there has been so much talk about how our generation is the least likely to own a house and live with the comforts of past generations. The double whammy of high student loans and high unemployment has crippled people in their twenties and their ability to start their lives.

I have several thousands in school loans from my days at USC and for me it represents a significant hurtle to jump over if I ever want to own a home close by Palo Alto, one of the wealthiest place to live. It is not impossible to pay of my loans and save for a house but, doing so would require the better part of a decade, just by myself. I could marry into money and have my wife pay for it, seeing how it might actually take less time than saving it myself. But I suspect that pool of candidates just got a bit smaller with this post and definitely not the girl above. :)  For the time being, I am myself shackled in loans that I feel are like anchors to my feet while the currents are sweeping me underneath. I am paying it off as much as I can each month, while having virtually saving little. It I don't pay it off in a reasonable amount of time then I risk extending the loan and paying more interest over time.

I am one of the lucky ones that got a job relatively quickly out of school, so I can pay it off quicker, but most are not as fortunate and have to really struggle to pull together money so they can live paycheck to paycheck and pouring everything that they have into feeding themselves and their loans. How can they possibly save up for a house and a car if so much money is going to paying for their student loans? It amazes me that we are hammering the youth for every cent that they have and transferring that wealth to people that do not have lives to build. 

I for one, believe that we should protect and safeguard the young people from a money debt that is almost inescapable because as we get older our ability to drive the future economy is at stake. If everyone in the future has massive debt and an inability to pay it off, who would buy stuff anymore? Well maybe just the rich.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The unexamined life is not worth living

"The unexamined life is not worth living"
Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC - 399 BC)

I spend a lot of time reflecting upon myself and how I do things in the world. It has always helped me clear my mind by setting goals and priorities for me to achieve. By looking back upon what I did or didn't do I can find things that help me improve my overall life. For example, if I did something well and got praise from it, I would go through in my mind the event once again and visualize everything that I did well and learn from the experience, vice versa, I would also look at the things that I didn't do so well and try to remember to work on it. This kind of mental exercise has helped me to continue to grow and refine myself as I get older.

I think people on a whole nowadays do not properly have time to reflect on what they have done and how they are doing things. I see people doing things for the sake of doing them and not really knowing why. Such is the case with people working at jobs that they don't like or being pressured by friends and families to do things that to them doesn't make sense. People are very reactive to their environments and others, not many are sure of themselves and their path in life. I believe that if people took a step back and really analyzed why they do certain things in life, they would make changes and better their own lives.

I contribute a lot of my personal success in life on my ability to tune others out. By ignoring certain people and their beliefs about me, I was able to grow beyond what others saw in me. I looked inward to myself and what I had accomplished and used that information to determine who I am. People have a really nasty habit of taking one look at a person and judging them at first glance. It is as if people are writing a personal narrative of who you are as a person in their own head and the rest of the time they are trying to make you fit their story.

For example, my parents has always believe that I was this shy introverted person who loved computer games and had very little outside interests.  I achieved very average grades, so they thought that I was going to average and make somewhat of a decent living. They thought that I couldn't get a high paying job without excellent grades and a Ivy league education. Every chance that they got they tried to reaffirm their beliefs in who they thought I was. They were always telling me that I didn't like books and that I should read more, despite the fact that I did all my reading away from my parents in silence. The point is they were more than surprise with how I ended up and where I am going in my life, but it wasn't possible had I just believed what they thought I was.

I had to examining my life and understand who I was and who I wanted to be, myself. There was no consensuses on what my life should be or who am I based on my past. I determine who I am and what I do with my life, not others. It is empowering to be in control of your own destiny, regardless of what others say. Let's all try and ignore the naysayers in our lives and people who try and fit you into their story of who you are. Write your own story.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Great Entertainer

I always wanted to be an entertainer, early on as a child I was very comfortable being on stage and performing. Whether it was through singing or acting, it was a place that I felt safe and most comfortable and natural. I never pursued it seriously because, my drive to be an engineer was greater than a performer of the arts, but I never forgot the feel and rush on stage. As much as I wanted to be in both worlds it was incredibly hard to split time and effort into both realms. I chose engineering because I felt that I had a higher chance at making a successful career out it. Now that I have a relatively secure job, I am starting to yearn for the stage more and more.

I am always amazed entertainers and how they can mesmerize countless people with their talents and skills. It is like an invisible power that can capture the hearts and minds of others. I want it. I want the applause and adoration of a roaring audience as they celebrate my talents and skills. I think the need to be accepted in society is a big driver for me to do what I do. We all want to be accepted for who we are, and some are more showy about it than others. I derive a lot of pleasure from the process and going through the hard work to put on a great show.

I don't think that I will every quit my day job to go work on Broadway, but I think it is important enough to me that I want to pursue it as a serious hobby. Now is the time for me to go out there and show people that I am more than a engineer, I am also a great entertainer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poverty Sucks

Recently, I have been watching a lot of documentaries on the poverty and the poor people of the world. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the world and how we all live on this planet and how many of us are suffering from life's basic needs. Not having to confront this daily, it is too easy for me to just ignore the problems that are plaguing the rest of the world and take shelter in a wealthy enclave. 

I moved to very wealthy area of SF, and as such, I am living comfortably and relatively removed from having to fight for my basic needs. My life is nothing less than royalty comparatively, with basic needs met I usually have abundant time to focus on other things that further my creative and intellectual pursuits. One of those pursuits is to study who we are as humanity, mainly why are there so many unfortunate people in the world and how can others help them.

So watching these documentaries is incredibility sad and heartbreaking. These people who were born disadvantaged usually stay disadvantaged for the rest of their lives. If you were born into a life of an African farmer, chances are high that you would likely stay there and not have the ability to get a good education and gain upward social mobility. One example is of a rural chinese family, whom barely has enough to survive on and was struggling to get their daughter to a private university. Tuition cost easily ran several multiples of the family's income, but they did it anyways to ensure that their child had a proper education. What the family didn't know was that the university was a scam, made to get the parents to open up their wallets and send their child to get a useless degree from uncertified school. I can't say that I am surprised to see that people taking advantage of others to try to get themselves out of poverty, but is this the only way?

If I was born in another country or my parents had stayed in China, what would I be doing now? I am so grateful that I was born a US citizen and that I never had to suffer through the worst kind of poverty. I was privileged that I had the ability to make something of myself and not have to worry about starving and find a place to sleep. I am thankful for the ability to focus on studying and being able to work at a job with great benefits. My parents never had that and they always hope that my life was better than theirs, it was their sacrifices and hard work that has taught me grit and persistence so that I would never be poor.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows the true horrors of poverty and its consequences. There are those whom have never seen how bad it can really get, they never understand the fear of having nothing. We cling to our 1st world problems and wear it with a badge of honor, never knowing there are those in the world that both envy and despise what we have. I see too much selfishness and ignorance in the world around me.

I know how hard it is to raise oneself up from the ground. I see the struggles that my parents have to go through everyday and I vow to do better. I will work as hard as can to ensure that I am as far away from poverty as I can, because poverty sucks.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Love and other drugs

I've always wondered if there was one person for each of us in this world. Out of 7 billion people, you would think that there statistical would be an ideal match that would "perfect." I believe it to be true, although the likelihood of you meeting them is next to impossible throughout a lifetime, never mind the fact that both people have to be available and relatively close in age.

In the past I've always kept with this attitude in meeting people, even if I knew that it would be worse than finding a needle in a haystack in the middle of America. I would always try to find better and hold out for the best person that I could, passing on those that I thought weren't what I was looking for and even to go as far as avoiding certain people that I thought weren't worth my time. By always thinking that over the next hill there will be something bigger and better, I kinda shielded myself from others and them from myself. It was a cold and shallow way of finding love. Pursuing those that were only based on looks and first impressions certainly had its allure and glamor. But for whatever reason, they rarely had anything in common with me, and soon fizzled out.

I would say I missed out on a couple of opportunities that could've been more had I been open to the idea. But the past is past. The point is, I used my past history to cloud my present and make decisions based on what I thought was just and fair. Now that I look back and think back on some of the choices that I made, I truly feel a bit foolish. It is never easy to admit that as logical and as reasonable one can be, they are not immune to the pressures of society to think and behave a certain way towards people. But I for one can say that I have committed stereotyping and shallow behavior to impress others.

The past couple of months have really been an eye opener for me and my previous beliefs. I never had to think too deeply about them or the consequences about what I believed about love and romance. I always had people to shelter me from my ideas and how I go about doing things, they were used to my way of doing things and never really questioned if they were morally correct. I guess that is one of the biggest lessons being on your own in a new place with no social network. People you don't know can call me out on my bullshit without hesitation, since there is no prior history. Seems like common sense, but it is really interesting to see it in action. Having a zero sum attitude is a one way ticket to realizing that you are a little fish in a big pond.

My good friend Ryan once told me that, "Your goal should be, go out there and meet people, and not just women." At the time I heard this I was very skeptical about his words and thought that this was inefficient. The more I think about it, I realized that it made perfect sense and it wasn't inefficient it was very efficient and practical. The more people you know the more chances of meeting more people in general and probability go up that you'll bump into your future mate. But what he was stressing was that you must show that compassion to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from. It's about karma. Ultimately, all we have in life are the people and the relationships that are formed.

Perhaps there is no perfect person for any of us. Maybe there is a bunch of close enoughs, out there that with a bit of work and persistence can be "perfect." I've always thought that, all I needed to do was to find the perfect person and they would solve all my problems and be happy in the end. If they were pretty enough or smart enough, then maybe they can mask enough of my own issues, that my problems wouldn't matter. I guess it is the simplest solution rather than look deeply into ourselves as the one that needs a fixer-upper. My problems are mine alone to fix and shouldn't be relied upon others to mediate them. Hence, this blog has allowed me to be accountable and reflect upon myself in a very personal way.

It is always a long journey to change oneself, but the deciding to take the first step is the hardest of them all. We have to accept that we ourselves are flawed and require change. Hopefully, the end result will be a warmer and fuzzier Steven for all to enjoy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The future

Every time another year ends, I look towards the future and think about then next couple of months. It is a way for me to try and reinvent myself for the new year. I see big things happening in the year 2013, that hopefully can translate into reality. Here are some goals that I'll put down that will in some way hold me accountable.

1. Start a second side job
2. Develop Growth Unleashed into a semi-popular blog with stable visitors
3. Buy a bow and go hunting in the wild
4. Learn a foreign language and go visit the country

Modest and achievable goals for the new year, I might add to the list before the year is out.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

End of the world or just beginning?

Well, its that time of the year again with another end to the calender year. This year it is a bit different though, with the end of the Mayan calender and a whole bunch of people claiming that the world is going to end and that the apocalypse is forth coming. We have just a couple of weeks left to absolve ourselves of sin and repent before all of us are doomed.

Out of context it is a great way to capture the fear in all of us that something we don't know will come in and save or kill us all. I believe that the world will not end on that day and that business as usual will persist like it always has before, which leads me to why I posted today. If the world were to suffer a massive calamity, could we as a nation, a world, rise back up?

As a person that wants to grow both intellectually and spiritually, I seek out the novel and the interesting to populate my life, whether it is through people, writing, or reading. If the world were to end, how many of us could retain life saving skills and carry the knowledge of the past to others? There are those that seek to enlighten themselves about the world and those living in it, but on a whole I see people that simply could not care less about the learning and just want to have fun. Everything that we have known throughout history have now been placed in vast digital storage for preservation, but what if the power is off, or worse records wiped out? Will we be able to keep our history through stories and writing about what we know?

I see my peers and the world that we all grew up in and it frightens me to no avail. Essential skills like hunting and foraging that has persisted for thousands of years are slowly whittling away, to only a select few that participate. Many do not know about our rights as a people to clamor for change or resolve. Fewer still can be called upon to rebuild the government if it were to collapse. Morals and ethics are, what I believe to be in decline, questionable at best within people in America today. Could we as a people build a community of kind heart-ed and helpful society or divulge into chaos and madness, like we see in post-apocalyptic movies. 

I don't have good reason to believe that the new generation will be able to handle the rigors and the stress of a massive or semi-major disaster, but maybe I am wrong. Hopefully, there are enough people in the world that care and can really make a major positive difference in the world, all the others need to get out of their way.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Just Do It

Of all the advice I have ever heard, "just do it" was the best one. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and its always the hardest one. Hesitation is the feeling that I struggle with the most on a day to day basis. There has been several times in my life that I have hesitated and I lost out on the opportunity to do something great or even experience something new. I am trying to rid myself second guessing decisions in my life that has really no consequences if I do it or not do it, but the psychological consequences are dire. I believe that most of us have been brought up in life to no do things out of the ordinary and not take chances and play it safe. Overtime that kind of thinking can control a person's life and make him or her incapable of taking chances when necessary and beneficial.

I often think about all the missed opportunities that could've been, had I not been second guessing myself. These opportunity ranges from meeting new people, going to new places, and trying new activities. I had a standing excuse of not have money or time to do something new, but in reality I was just scared of new situations that I knew nothing about and didn't really want anything participate in things that I was not good at. Looking back on those times, I could have gained more life experience and started on my transition to be a better holistic individual.

The power and confidence that grows from being able to make a decision quickly and willing to deal with the consequences is great. It allows you to think of the world very differently, from a meek follower to a strong individual with the ability to deal with any situation that comes along. My life has changed bit by bit as I have grown to fully believe in "Just do it." I certainly still have times where I doubt myself, but now it is more of a gentle whisper than a harsh yell in the echos of my mind.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Inspired Writing

Over the last two months I have made great strides in developing my writing. I have felt a great unleashing of creativity that I  never thought I could tap into. I once thought it was beyond me to consistently write everyday or every other day about a certain subject or field. It was always hard for me as a child to express myself through writing than it was through other means such as singing or through actions.

Writing itself is more nuanced than I thought, with a lot of context and sub-context that go into each piece. This can take the form of the manner in which you express yourself through words and how the article or piece can sound. For example, a blog can sound elitist or low-brow without the authors' intent and would completely ruin the blog. This kind of voice can make or break a person's writing and how others perceive them.

I have yet to figure out my style and voice that I want or would like to bring to my blog. Perhaps it will come through naturally as the time progresses and I get more confident in my writing and content produced. Having a clear voice and message, I believe will be the key for the success of this blog taking off and helping others.

Growing up, I have always been surrounded by writers but never did I think that it was something that I though I could do or want to even pick up for that matter. It was the gentle nudging of several people in my life that got me more and more interested in writing. I finally realized how rewarding it was to write and how much I could ultimately benefit from it. 

Friday, November 23, 2012


Life is a funny thing, one minute your on top of the world feeling as if there is nothing that can tear you down and the next minute your life can be upside down with no way out. I always thought that life's events were cyclical in nature and that one cannot predict what is going to happen with any certainty. There is always some unforeseen force of nature that can change a bad day into a good day and vise versa. I really believe that the only way to battle through life, and it is a battle, is to be as prepared as possible for the future. The only thing that I feel like I can rely on the most is what I have control over and what I can do about it. 

If I were to give a reason for the success I had with the events in my life, I would say that self-discipline was the key. Knowing that I have to depend on myself to get me through life has been a pervading thought in my mind ever since I was a little kid. The fact that my parents were not able to help me through school and other events that only a millennial kid understood made my learn curve extremely steep. It is both empowering and sad at the same time knowing that the hardships that I went through made me a more responsible person as a result, but it has also made me in my mind more callous.

I talk about self-discipline because I think that it is a skill that anyone can work on and the returns on investing time and energy into it is countless. It is not always easy to turn down having fun on Saturday night in order to go partying and drinking in favor of studying all night. Or having to work extra shifts to pay the bills and save money rather than buying something on impulse that hardly gets used. I still have impulse buying issues that I need to work on.

The idea is to try to take little steps and make choices that promote self-discipline everyday. One day you'll find it easier and easier to make those hard choices. I fully admit that I am not the paragon of discipline. This post is more of a intent on creating a self-fulling prophecy than telling others what to do with their life.

Stay thirsty, my friends...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Flying Away

In the last two years, I have been able to travel to more destinations and cities than previously in my life. It has been an amazing and exhilarating experience to be able to see outside the world that is California. I think that it is certainly beneficial for people that have the means and the opportunity to travel as much as they can when their young. I am a bit behind the eight ball when it comes to traveling, as I could have visited more places when I had huge chunks of free time. Now, all my trips are a lot shorter, due to having a 40 hour job. Getting time off is now only a luxury that once occurred every year with summer vacation. I often look back to my past and wonder how my ability to travel further and further grew with every life event.

When I was a kid, maybe 5-6, all I knew about travel was where my parents would take me. I knew very little of the outside world besides what was shown to me and where I lived. My apartment complex was gated, so most of the time I stuck to exploring the confines of a little barred cube. I eventurally gained access to the outside world via a bike and that only allowed me to travel about a couple of blocks outside. Still, it was more than enough to cure my hunger for curiousty at that age.

Once we moved to a suburban neighboorhood for middle school, my range was extended to a couple of miles in all directions. I was able to explore a significant part of the local city. Armed with a bigger bike and a confince of a 13 year, I was determined to explore the entire city on bike. This goal was only half met as the rigors of high school and computer games drove me inward.

The next great expansion in my world of travel was the gift the horseless carriage, or the automobile. With this great tool, I was able not only to travel outside my local city but it allowed me access to the greater Los Angeles area. It was a miraculous time as I was exploring the nooks and crannies of LA's best hot spots. But alas, it still wasn't enough to cure my wandering spirit. Even though I had a range of about 75 miles, I felt that I had too much of the culture in Los Angeles. I started to long for travel outside my bubble.

With the start of my new job, I felt as if no longer was I limited to the state but now the whole country was at my finger tips. With various business trips and fun excursions I have been to a growing number of U.S cities across the country thus far. There are still plenty of cities left on the map that I need to visit and only time will tell when that happens, but I will be ready and waiting with much enthusiasm.

Watch out world your next!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Media Mogul

A day in the life of a media mogul, I wonder what it would be like. I've always had a craving to be in front of people and grab their attention from when I was little. The thrill of the moment and the undivided attention that I received while speaking was like a boost of serotonin each second I was in front of a crowd. I've never had a problem with putting myself out there for the public to scrutinize my every word or mistake. Well, I shouldn't say never as there has been plenty of humiliating experiences that I have endured in front of people. I figured that the worse that can happen would be public shaming for a short period of time before people forget and move on with their lives. But getting back to the topic at hand, I want to take publicity another step. I want to work towards becoming good at all forms of social media.

This idea came to me as way to secure my financial future and ensure that I had other opportunities for potential career choices down the road. It is too easy to pick a narrow field and be pigeon holed into something that might end up as a dead end career. I want to be able to shift with the times and  recent moves towards a massive online world has made me believe that it will continue in the future for some time. Only by broadening my baseline skills with the ability to sell myself online, can I reach a point where if the unfortunate layoff do occur then I have the experience to move to another job in the same field or something different.

Job hunting has never been easier with social networking and the internet. With the ability to reach global jobs as opposed to working at a traditional brick and mortar shop or office jobs. Even by creating an online presence can one make money, creating unique content that people enjoy and share has made people with popular youtube channels quite rich. That is where I want to be, in the thick of the new world and creating my footprint on the internet.

I hope you'll join me in my journey to become Ashton Kutcher 2.0, or Steven Xu 1.0 which ever sounds better. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Inconvenient Blog

One of the greatest skills that a person could obtain is the ability to fully express themselves, whether this is through music, dance, or even writing. The fact that someone can be viewed completely in the lens of another through the totality of their experiences is amazing. The point of these blogs is to bring my soul to the surface and bear it to the world through my many experiences as a unique individual.

But bringing this to light is still a great challenge that I hope to conquer with each and every blog post that I write and read. The idea is to create something that is completely my own in this world, without any filters and censoring from others. The first step is to vocalize ideas that truly matter to me and how it effects my day to day life. I have to admit that I am still self-censoring a lot of what I say on this blog, not because of what others might think but because of the self doubt of my ability to convey my thoughts well on paper.

This is why I titled my blog, An Inconvenient Blog. As a blogee (trainee), I have much to learn about creating content that will drive people to view my blog with regularity. Learning through all the skills required for a successful blog has become a laboring process that I feel compelled to work through, rather than for enjoyment. There are times when I absolute have to blog to get my crazy thoughts down on paper, but in the absecence of good ideas it is harder to find the inner motivation to continue to write.

I believe that in the past couple of months that I start this blog back up, I have been able to write consistently better and faster as well. Although, spelling is still a nagging issue of mine, bless the makers of spell check. It is amazing that with constant work at something you can see the change in results little by little. For example, I shudder to think and look back at my previous posts that were ridiculously short in length and some all to obvious grammatical mistakes. It serves as a reminder of the progress that I have made.

The key to writing better as my friend said, "Always keep writing regardless of lack of ideas or content and you will get better." I would think even Shakespeare had a couple of duds early on that has never seen the light of day. I am not so fortunate as the world of the internet makes my early mistakes all to visible to anyone with a browser and time can view my writing flaws.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Next Step

What is the next step? In my continual search for meaning in life, a question that I often stumble upon is the title of this blog. For some a rudderless existence makes finding a purpose in life extra difficult as one can be taken in many different directions and they have the chance to regret. I struggle with how I want to change my life for the better and those around me, but what is the next step?

To positively influence the people around me, I believe that I need to have a certain power (possibly wealth) or sphere of influence (large social network). Both are hard to achieve in my current position as I do lack the resources. Here is where my title comes in, I can work on both but at an torrid pace or I can select one or the other to focus on and make better gains. I have a hard time deciding which one will benefit me in the long run, though I am leaning towards a greater social network. Inherent advantage would be direct exposure to highly successful people in the silicon valley area.

All of this takes time and throughout the process, I must always remind myself that I am in it for the long run. Only by small steps each day that I can hope to achieve greater dreams. I think in reality the next step is always to keep in mind of future goals in life and work towards it with due diligence.  I can only say that it is damn hard.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


There is a fire raging on and it is consuming the Earth one piece at a time. No one knows when it is going to die out and how much it will consume before it it through. That fire is within me, burning through the day and night, chomping at the bits to try and gain fuel and get brighter. I am not really sure how it started, but all I know is that it needs to be fed and controlled. Some would say that I am ambitious and likes to overreach my goals, others say that I need to take it easy and enjoy life and be more content. Which do I prefer?

Well, fire of course! A gypsy once told me that the reason that I was so driven was that in a previous life, I felt I was lazy and wanted to change. She described it as a billiard ball hit another ball and transferring the energy/feelings from one soul to the next. I am not quite sold on this yet, as I believe that my ambition and drive came from some interesting life events a couple of years ago. I won't go into details, suffice to say that it was external motivation first, which gradually became internal and fuel the fire.  

Life is about the choices that we make, I made a choice to block out certain aspects of my life and focus on others. I've always had dreams, but realistically they were always out of reach until I saw that by focusing intently on those dreams, I had made small but effective progress. That confidence allowed me to gain the strength that I needed to further block out stuff that was not important and like a positive feedback loop it created the person today. Knowing that I can conquer most challenges is very empowering and it gives me great hope that I can conquer the future as well.

So for the time being that fire will rage on and consume all the goals and challenges that are in my way.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

America the Free?

What I have noticed that this election has been the more vocal than the ones that I have seen in the past couple of elections. It seems that there is so much anger from both sides that it is no longer about finding neutral ground and coming to a solution to this fiscal crisis. I think that getting congress in a room without yelling and outright contempt is a good day.

I can't believe how far this has gone on, all of us are losers and if they can get a resolve done on an issue that is as important as the fiscal cliff then how can we solve the smaller issues? I wish that congress can magically get along with each other and move America forward finally.

I hope for the best and that these people who are in control of the +300 million people of this country can show some compassion with each other. If not, well the decent into the hell is certainly easier for all of us.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bend and Snap!

So recently I finished working backstage at a community theater's local production of Legally Blonde. I wanted to do something that was completely different from the normal day to day life. It was a very interesting experience working with people that came from different background then myself. Almost every person there was going to do this for a career and they were a mixed bag of talent at best. What really stood out to me was that energy that flowed throughout the show's production.

During a show I would get a rush of energy from everyone around me. It was an exhilarating to feel so energetic just by being around other people. The energy came from dance numbers, singers, and the music. Once the curtains were raised, even if I was tired before I started, I completely forgot about being tired and was in the moment.

I think that everyday should have a mix of seriousness/calm and fun/energetic experiences. Too much of our lives I think is spent in the former and not the latter. Of course that's coming from an engineer, if your living a balanced life then more power to you.

I might do another musical one of these days just to get that rush of energy, until then I'm bending and snapping my way through life!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Direction of Growth Unleashed

Lately, I've been trying to decide which direction I want to take my blog and how I want to spend my efforts in a broad or narrow ideas. It seems that I have been focusing on myself as opposed to creating posts that are supposed to be enlightening to others. I am hoping that a more broad focus of subjects can help me pin point what I really care about and thus what I really want to write about.

I intended this blog to touch upon several different subjects to try and give my own thoughts and opinions on each topic but it seems that, I might have more success if I split up my blogs to another website than put it all on one blog. It might even be better just to scrap the other topics for now as I just try to get a firm understanding and basic skills for blog writing.

There are a lot of ways to take my blog in this day and age, with plenty of tools online to help the struggling blogger. How do I chose which tools are the best? What is the perfect way to showcase my creativity?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Time to meetup?

Well it is about time I met up with a group of people that I have never met before, kinda like the first day of work. I have been trying to find creative ways to occupy my time in hopes of filling my weekends with meaningful stuff.

There are more than a couple of groups that are in the SF bay area that are more than willing take on a lost soul. I wonder if I should just pick a random group each week or start to target groups that I want to participate in. It really doesn't matter what the activity is because your there to meet people and do new stuff anyways. But there is always a little intimidation factor that works itself into meeting a whole new group and people, kinda like the first day of school at a new school.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, that step is the hardest one to overcome. I believe it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there for people to judge you. It takes some balls to walk into a new place and feel like you belong, yet I want to have that feel everywhere I go. It is a state of mind that one has to be able to do that all the time, if that is even possible.

People say that the best way to do something is to just dive right in and do, that has its good and bad sides to it. It is more impulsive and has the advantage of somebody more likely to go out and doing it. But, the consequence to that is that I think if you want to keep going it will take more long term commitment to follow through with these meetup activities.

The ideal would be a person that has confidence in themselves and are willing with doing new things with new people while being impulsive enough that they take on the challenge in the first place. Anything that we do in life depends on how we mentally view ourselves.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Creative Block

I have tried to make it a commitment to this blog to try and write something at least once every couple of days. Let me just say that it is a challenge to come up with new ideas to write about. I guess every writer has periods of writer's block that they struggle through. My way is to write until I think of something.... nothing yet.. maybe now? nope.

I had a conversation today that might be a starting point for a topic. It was about how people were influenced by others and that it was rare to meet a person that truly did not care what others thought about him/her. from my unscientific observation it seems that everyone grows more and more conservative as we grow older. Fewer people are willing to try new things and go experience something that are a bit cautious of. What happened to the curiousness? I guess everyone is wrapped up in their own little world and there are less opportunities for people to try new things. I believe that the key enjoying life is to always do things that are just out of your comfort zone and always try to push that boundaries farther and farther.

It does not matter how we push out our comfort zone, it is just that we do it. Only then can we see who we really are as a person. It gives us a better look into what we can accomplish only by trying. 
Stay thirsty my friends!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lazy Saturdays

Sometimes I underestimate what a relaxing weekend can do for the soul. I tend always to be in overdrive and most of times I am often struggling to catch a breath in between things that I am chaotically doing. I completely cherish my weekends with full stride. With that being the case I tend not to plan anything specifically for my weeks because I know that it is absolute necessary for me to crash to Earth and relax, whether it is sitting in cafe, sleeping in a park, or blogging.

I can almost correlate my most stressful times with full weekends packed with things that i needed to get done rather than something that I should do at my leisure. I think that for most of us, time off is a luxury that cannot be afforded at the cost of more important things that we should/need to do. I am growing more and more in opposite in this kind of thinking. I have seen people become down right neurotic and depressed with the need to be constantly doing something and unable to cope with any unexpected situations.

For example, if you pack a day completely with obligations with no wiggle room, any small delay or set back can cause stress and frustration. I have worked hard to try and remove as many things that are out of my control as possible in an effort to simplify my life. There is always the danger that I am isolating myself from others and becoming more introverted. I still have to convince myself sometimes that it is in my best interest to maintain this reflective/contemplative lifestyle.

For now I will continue to enjoy my free weekends and stare off into the sunset.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tic Toc Time

All of us could sure use more time am I right? Not just more of it but the ability to control all of it and how we want to use it. I've always hated the fact that for so many years we had to be funneled through a school system that forced us to do a lot of stuff that quite frankly was not worth the time of everyone involved. I remember days in high school English class that consisted of us playing cards and watching movies all day. Hmm maybe that is why I am trying to make up years of writing neglect with this blog. But as I grown older and wiser, I can see that in hindsight I should have done more as a child to learn as much as I can in life. Lots of countless hours were wasted in video games, that could have gone to a musical instrument or a foreign language, or even an early insight into the world of finance.

It is silly to try and think in the past, now that I have been out of school for some time and I have a lot more time to myself, I want to fill it with activities and commitments of my choosing. I love the ability to cherry pick what skills and talents I want to excel in. This life has giving me a extrodonary opportunity to really enjoy what this world has to offer and nay I must grab it by the horn. There is only one catch that I can't seem to be able to shake, time.

86,400 seconds in a day, or 86,164 for a sidereal day. That's all everybody has on this Earth and that is non-negotiable with father time. Time as I have grown to accept and understand it is very precious and very limited. I believe that each second should be respected and held in the highest esteem. Why am I crazy about time? Because life can change in an instant and we often lose sight of what is most important in our lives, either due to ignorance or neglect. I chose to live a life that tries to make the most out of my time here by enriching my life with purposeful activities, although every once in a while I throw in a hedonistic pleasure or two.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Que Sera Sera!

After a string a serious toned post, let's lighten it up!

Singing is pretty difficult, I am always amazed at the talent that performers have. Really good singers can move a person emotional by just their voice and resonance. A piece performed well can inspire the hearts and mind of others. I have always loved to sing and it has always given me a boost by listening to a good song.

I took a voice class to try to improve my singing and try to see how far I can take my skill. My goal is to be able to emotional impact and impress the hell out of people that hear me sing for the first time. Not many people think I can sing and I use that to my advantage. :) I think that in an age where it is so easy to auto-tune your voice and make it sound decent, good music gets lost. My perfect songs to sing are mostly all more than 20 years old and have really strong vocals. It is very rare to run into people who can sing now a days without being in a class for it.

Speaking of the class, we focus a lot of our time on sounding the words out rather than singing. The professor really wants to emphasize the ability to sound out vowels and consonants in our speech and singing. It is interesting to learn how to sound out words again 20 years after you learned it the first time. I found it a bit silly, saying oh, ah, eh again and again. But I guess one can say that by learning to sound out words you can be a better speaker as well.

I will sing "Can't take my eyes off you" and "Beyond the Sea," for my final and hopefully by the end of the ten weeks, I can belt it out like there is no tomorrow. I'll leave you with a song..


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The 10 year plan

I just realized that I have not set a 10 year plan for myself and where I envision being in 2022. It seems like such a long time from now, but as I have been querying other people; time moves faster than we view it. As of today, I had a rough outline of what I thought I would do in the next few years but nothing concrete and substantial. I always had the illusion that I can just "wing it" and be fine with what I had chosen. Although, that might have worked awhile back when I only had school to look forward to and plan accordingly; life planning is a bit more complex and open ended.

What brought about this "10 year plan" was meeting some SF techies that mostly knew what they wanted to do and in about when they would accomplish that goal. Some wanted to be CEO's of companies in 10 years, others wanted to take their start-ups public within a couple of years. All had a optimistic goal and vision of what their future would be like. That really got me thinking about my own plan for the next couple of years. I asked myself, what was my end goal? To be honest, I am not quite sure of what I want to do. There are a hodgepodge of things that interest me, but I can't think of how I can incorporate them into my daily life. Future planning is so murky as there are external factors that you can never account for and predict.

I can't see into the future, yet. hehe. But what I can do is try a lot of different things and maybe one of them will stick and become a part of me little by little. A lot can change in 10 years, only by consistently applying oneself can they make a plan into reality.

Below is a video from Tony Robbins about how tiny changes mean hug results.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writing for a better tomorrow

I recently have been reading up on this series in "The Atlantic" about writing skills in schools across the nation and the consensus is not good. In an effort to increase writing by various methods, including memoir exercises and creative assignment, it showed that these ways were less effective than simple writing essays and learn grammar fundamentals. Indeed, my own writing ability can be called into question on occasion, as rampant misuse of grammar and creation of my own words have defied standard writing convention. For too long have I used the excuse that because I am an engineer it is okay for me to not write as well or as concise as my English/Creative Arts brethren, but alas that is just lazy thinking.

I want to really start putting an effort into this blog as a way of keeping my skills as fresh as possible and also to gain more speed and clarity of thinking into my words and phrasing. If you look at my previous posts, they are not anywhere close to Shakespeare and it is kind of embarrassing as even in the age of spell check there are posts that lacked proper editing. It is my belief that as I write more on this blog hopefully it will engage the best parts of my creative brain and make it easier to put my thoughts down on paper and electronically.   

Some things to focus on as I write more.

1. Writing and typing faster
2. Have a set goal and thesis
3. Create concise and coherent paragraphs
4. Increase writing stamina
5. Use more descriptive words and phrases

As a future thinker, I want to be able to work without any restrictions, especially regarding my own skill sets. I need to be able to do anything that is asked of me and be able to accomplish those goals to the best of my ability.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Working hard for the money

If it was easy then it would be done already, such is the case of life. I have been thinking a lot recently about how to make some extra money on the side, hopefully it can help offset the massive student loans that I am currently trying to pay off. The search hasn't been easy at all, all of the potential things that I can do requires a lot of initial time and commitment, sounds familiar right? I am trying different ideas in the hopes that I can figure out a way to generate an extra 1k a money tax free. The goal is well defined but the way I get there is a bit murky at best.

Some crazy ideas
1. Start a small tutoring business based on time management
2. Tutor math and science at local schools
3. Blog everyday and have a huge following (this means you)
4. Write a science fiction novel and publish it on amazon or as an e-book
5. Get good at singing and be a wedding singer
6. Start an archery learning class
7. Pan-handle
8. Donate blood
9. Be a test subject for hungry graduate students
10. Take out all my savings, fly to Vegas and bet it on on red

Now, I don't know how practical any of this is especially number 9, as I know those people will do anything to get a paper out. When I start to look into it more and realize the difficultly of legitimate ways to make money, it was very discouraging. I guess that's why it took so many years for me to find a job. It all takes a effort and a willingness to accomplish the goals that I set out to do, but I ask myself is it worth the extra time and stress?


Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Growth Unleashed?

   I've been thinking a lot about growth recently and how I could sustain it in my life. I have been on a tear lately in terms of learning and doing new things with my life. I enrolled in college and have been taking a bunch of classes just for the purpose of doing something new with my life. This leads me to wonder about how I can create a system for myself that feeds upon new ideas and goals in life.

   What I want to do is give myself the gift of knowledge. I often wonder about the times that I wasted as a child and thought about what I could accomplish had I not wasted that time playing video games. It could've amounted to 10,000 hours for the entirety of my childhood, which in Malcolm Gladwell's book, defines as the time it takes to master a skill set. Well I mastered some skills but on a whole, I wished those skills included a keen financial sense and also a mastery of the written/spoken language. These soft skills have had a tremendous impact on my life not only as a way to gain new skills but also as way to move upward. I am only now starting to discover how powerful and influental it can be. For example in engineering, most of the people there have specific targeted hard skills such as a heavy math and science background, but what gets lost in translation is that most of the key essential skills to move forward or upward is the ability to present oneself.

   An engineer with an decent ability to speak and write to others is rarity, often he or she is invaluable to a company, in general, with a growth potential to lead. Here is where I come in, I have a chance to become greater than what I am and all I need to do is to prove that I have the ability to grow and can take on new challenges. I see it as the only way that I can withstand any layoffs and downturns in the economy. I must prove to myself and others that I am not a one trick pony and can only do a certain limited amount of tasks. 

  Now here is the hard part, how do I accomplish this efficiently? Well, for one I can objectively look at my weaknesses and target them one by one. Maybe after that I can create a tree graph and list out some solutions that I can carry out. The big question is, how do I find the time to do all this and maintain sanity....
Growth, I want it... now if only I can grow taller as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gypsy told me to jump off a cliff... I said sure!

Well, I went to the San Jose Renaissance Fair and I got my fortune read. I always have been interested in my future, even if it is someones interpretation of it. I've always been fascinated about whether of not they are truly bullshitting people or that they have a real gift. Maybe I am more gullible than most, so I decided to see what I could learn about myself.

Well it is as I feared, I am going to experience much work and stress throughout the next year. I will attain much success but I do risk a burnout in the near future and culminate in making a decision about my career. Not sure how to take that, but it sounds both good and bad.

She also said that the love of my life will arrive in 2-3 years...not quick enough for me. Haha, well time to have some fun right? Also a second love in my late 30s is coming, does that mean one is not enough?

I don't know I believe her, but it is fun to think about how life could be for me. Oh almost forgot that she also said that I should be writer because I have an untapped creative talent. Well I am currently 4 pages deep in my new novel, coming soon in 2015! Hey why not? I always wanted to write and now I have the motivation to do so because a gypsy told me I should. If I become rich and successful it would be all worth it.

 Someone will be my almost lover.....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Call me maybe?

The last couple of months have been one hell of a ride. I never thought that I would grow and challenge myself so much in such a short amount of time. None of this could've have been possible if I had not taken risks and let myself enjoy the ride. I have adopted a new philosophy in life, say yes to almost everything and do almost everything.  True freedom is so liberating, I'm not quite there yet but what I have experienced has been empowering. The ability to do whatever and whenever is something that everyone should have the means to accomplish.

In the past few months, I have audition for a musical, picked up Argentine tango, and started a new job. I have finally enough free time that I am venturing outside of engineering again to get back to learning something new. At my core, I am absolutely afraid of getting complacent in life and therefore I always want to learn something that I've never done before. The only problem is that it is hard to get myself to do new things without someone going with me. It still takes me considerable motivation to start something, hopefully I will eventually get over it.

I want to do everything I can before I die, I want to maximize my time. So, in the next couple of months I am going to start archery, stagecraft, and take voice lessons. I just have to make sure that I don't burn myself out.

Now for the in-flight entertainment.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The world according to me

It has been almost 11 months since I last published anything on this blog. Where has the time gone? I guess when life is busy it has a tendency to discard the lesser stuff on the side, while the big events take place. A month from now I will have started a new chapter in my life, I see it as an opportunity to take me places that I could only dream. I will finally work in something that can be described as a career in aerospace company.

As I count down the days before I leave LA, it saddens me a little that I will say goodbye to the a city that has raised me up. I do wonder what it is like to start from the ground up in a place that is unfamiliar.
More to come, hopefully not 11 months from now