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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Instant Gratification

We live in a world completely dominated by instant gratification, especially in American culture. Everything that we ever could want, with enough money of course, can be had with a few clicks of a button. Companies have made it incredibly easy for us to feed that desire for immediate satisfaction over the years. Consequently, delayed gratification has gone down as well as our savings in the pursuit of the newest and shiniest things. Nobody is immune to this, including myself, but if we are aware of our instant gratification tendencies then we are more likely to control them in the future.

When I was a kid, I loved new things, whether or not it was a toy or a snack; I was enamored with it. I remember asking my parents all the time if they could buy new things for me, it worked about 30% of the time. Although, I knew that my chances were low, I made up for it by asking them all the time (I mean, my probability stayed the same but their willpower didn't ;) ). This has somewhat extended itself into the present in the form of technology, with me wanting to obtain the latest and greatest games and apps. But now the only thing that gets in the way of me getting what I want isn't my parents, its money. I like most people, I only have a finite amount, but the things that I can potentially get are literally infinite.

From about the start of college onwards, I really had to tighten my belt and delay gratification. There were so many things that I wanted but couldn't afford so I had to save up for it most of the time. I made a choice to put those things that I wanted in the back of my mind until I had set my finances in shape. This obviously was a lot easier to say than to put into practice. What helped me was that my peers at the time were in the same situation so it was a lot easier to control spending whenever we went out. But on a whole this was time of my life was when I really bought into the idea of delay gratification and saving for the future.

Now, it is harder than ever to delay gratification, because of the area I live in. It is really hard to save when there are people that are to the left and right of you driving luxury cars and have the latest in technology at their disposal. It brings out the competitive nature in me to try and best them, but alas it is not meant to be. I just don't have the large amounts of discretionary income that others have. I would have to purchase things I want now on credit. I also have to convince myself over a period of a couple of months that something is worth purchasing now. There are larger expense that must be taken care of before I can splurge on something that I want.

There are others like myself that are in more dire need of money, but they cannot seem to be able to control their expenses. They live paycheck to paycheck and never have enough money to be able to dig themselves out of the debt hole. Most aren't aware of the little changes that they can make to prevent them from splurging, such as never going into a store without a list and thinking about a potential purchase for a day or two before buying.But I really think that the key to delaying gratification is awareness of it in the first place, once people are aware that they are spending based on an emotional decision rather than a logical one, people can change their spending habits. Although, I have simplified this to one key reason, there might be several reasons why people spend or want instant gratification. They are mostly psychological and vary from person to person and thus depends on each individual.

Ultimately, I believe that we need to lessen our over reliance on things to make us happy. Happiness should come from internal content and not external material goods. Temporary pleasure is no substitute for long-term happiness and contentment in life.

Stay gratified my friends...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I have always wanted to live a sustainable lifestyle. I think it comes from my want or need to be able to live a simply and healthy in an otherwise polluted and chemically driven society. Also, it helps that I am destroying the Earth slightly slower than others in the process. But it is not only about using less and becoming a more morally conscientious individual, it also simplifies the many decisions that we have to make by limiting our choices.

There are a couple of goals that I want to set to make myself more eco-friendly. I am setting these goals as a way of holding myself accountable and also creating a blue print for others to start living a sustainable lifestyle. I think these are more of stepping stones rather than big leaps, really it is pretty hard for me to start collecting rain water for showers and using compost toilets overnight.

Goals for a more sustainable lifestyle.

1. Bike to work (Take more public transportation)
2. Vastly reduce my water usage
3. Do some recycling
4. Buy and cook more natural foods, reducing packaging
5. Get rid of all the non-essential stuff, donate or sell

Hmm.. It is harder than it seems to think of stuff without making some more drastic lifestyle changes. But for now I think I have a couple to keep me busy for a while.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Steven's Odyssey

Ever since, I moved to SF I have been on a continuous odyssey of self introspection and realization. I am starting to realize that, I am not the same person I was a year ago. So much has changed and slowly I have come to accept the new life that I am leading. I am a much more stronger and confident person than I thought I would be at this point in time. The experiences that I have been through has opened my eyes to what I left behind and how much things are different from who I was.

Change usually is so gradual that you don't notice it until something significant happens or it an experience is reflected upon. I have come to understand that everyone changes a bit over time and it really is not superficially noticeable. One can almost assume that we don't change much over the day to day, but if we add a couple of years, the similarity between our past and present selves look nothing alike.

I find myself looking at the world with a new clairvoyance, that I had not had before. In the past, I had a lot of trouble figuring out what I needed to do month to month, and once that month was over, I didn't know what my circumstances were. Basically, I was fretting over if I had passed a class or might had to take it over again. That led me to have a very limited outlook towards the future. I just didn't know what was going to happen next, which led me to be depressed during a majority of my time at school. I felt like I had very little control in my life.

After I graduated and started working, I started to feel more and more in control of my life. There was a weight that was lifted from my shoulders. I think the key was being able to do the things I really wanted to do, but never had the time, energy, or money to do so. Now, I am able to do and work on side projects and hobbies that really contribute to a work/life balance. In essence, I am free to explore the world and not get stuck in one aspect of it. This kind of freedom as I call it, is extremely liberating, along with complete control over what I want to do with my time.

My personal journey has been one of understanding myself and who I was/am. In doing so, I have learned that I had a pretty pessimistic view of the world and my place in it. I let my problems become bigger than I was, instead of focusing and dealing with it logically and quickly. I still have issues with this time to time, but now I am more cognizant of that and work to prevent it from happening. It is a continuing journey, I think there will be many more facets of me that I have yet to understand and grasp.

Until then I will continue sailing onward!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Simple Life

I've always wonder what a simpler life would be like. You know, just disconnect from the world of technology and lead a life that is much more grounded to Earth, almost like a hippy. I mean maybe it is because I don't want all the responsibility of an adult yet or maybe it is something else entirely. Sometimes I dream of a life of carelessness and true freedom.

I think that most of the stresses in our lives comes from all the pressures and expectations that everyone imposes on each other, which forces us to work harder to keep up with our neighbors. Sometimes we're just not able to meet peoples expectations and then inevitably we fall into a depression about where we are at. I think it is all quite crazy and maddening that technology was supposed to relieve our lives but instead, I think it has brought us closer to judge one another. 

A simpler life that I want to live, is one where all of us has freedom and time to become true individuals and discover what our purpose is, either spiritually or emotionally. I think all of us should be allowed to have complete freedom of expression, without the judging or criticisms of deviating from the normal. It takes true strength of character to be someone unique now-a-days, it is too easy for people to not what to stand out for what they believe in.

I want to be unique among my peers and be known for being bold and crazy. Maybe that is egotistical, but I don't care. Life is too short to worry about what others think, I think their either jealous or not open to new ideas. Sometimes all we want is for people to accept who we are in this world, but how can that happen if we don't know ourselves.  

I for one, wish for a simpler life, one without judgement. And yes, one with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dream a little dream of me

There are times especially this week where I have felt really unmotivated to do things. I often wonder about why I plan so many things to do and then feeling really tired during and leading up it. I guess I am just a product of the new fast paced world I in habitat. Sometimes it just seems like an endless cycle of work in both my personal and professional life. Both take so much time and effort to cultivate and grow into what I dream they would be.

I mean the day to day stuff is really boring, it is only in those rare moments that life is fun. I think life is full of these cycles where its like 90% work and 10% fun. Of course maybe that is just a reflection of my own work life balance, or lack of thereof. I find it a bit discouraging sometimes to think about what I am choosing to fill up my time and what I am giving up in the process.

And now to cheer all of us up, or just myself "dream a little dream of me."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Technology making us dumb?

I have always wondering if the world of today is better than the world of yesterday. The influx of technology has greatly influenced our lives but we live in a world that is so connected and accessible that we are losing independent thought. We have now come to rely on technology so much that I fear we starting to lose our curiousness in obtaining information.

In a certain light, I miss the old days, everything was a bit slowly than today. Maybe it is because of more responsibility and less time to have fun but back in the old days (1990's) the lifestyle was just slower. I like the fact that we had to go to the library to do research and that was one of the dominate ways to find information, unlike today where get the answer to anything with a single click, it loses some of its value. I mean if we traveled a couple of miles and dug around for an hour or two for the answer you inherently value the information more than if it was more easily accessible. We have lost value in the discovery of information but gained speed in obtaining it.

One of the great joys in life for me is figuring out how things work, whether it be mechanical, societal, or psychological. But it takes a lot of time and we need to observe it, study it, and create a hypothesis on it. That usually requires a lot of effort, an effort that we are less and less likely to go through, at least formally. The easier way is to search for it online somewhere and that is mostly likely as much effort we are likely to put in. There are many people of our generation including myself that rely on the internet way too much and use it as a crutch as if, there are no other way to do things without going online. I am not saying that we should ban the net or stop people from googling, but I think we should stop ourselves first and figure out if we can do it ourselves before consulting master google.

It really helps us in the long run if we can problem solve and figure things out independently before we go for the quick answer. It makes us value the process of obtaining that knowledge and it will help us remember it better as well. I see too many people pull out their calculators for easy calculations (I am talking about 10*30=300). People's mind just default to using a calculator when they find a math problem and don't even realize how easy it is just to do it yourself. Math is one of the easiest things to forget when you haven't done it for a while. It is a bit sad and tragic that all it takes is a minute and a pencil and paper to figure it out, we do need technology for something that simple unless you have an excel sheet size project.

While the world is easier with technology we have to be very careful with how we interact with it on a daily basis. We can too easily rely on it for everything and not understand what we are losing in the process. As a heavy tech user myself, I have to stop myself sometimes and realize that I can figure things out myself rather than just googling the answer.

Discover the wonders of your own brain and google less my friends! :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weakness Unleashed

We all have weaknesses that we try not to let others see. All of our lives we have been told that we must hide it from the world unless we want the world to laugh and ridicule us. It is often something that is painful for people to admit their short comings because of the uncertainty in others reactions. Most times we lie, cheat, or steal rather than admit our personal failures in our lives. Our weaknesses have such a huge influence over what we do that sometimes we don't even know we are covering up for them.

One of my biggest weakness was/is my feelings of inferiority compared to others. During the beginning days of college and all throughout graduate school there would always be the idea in my head that I was mediocre and didn't belong. So to compensate for a perceived lack of intelligence I would routinely put in more time and effort into what I was doing to mask the fact that I just couldn't grasp certain concepts faster than others. Even when I was doing decent work, I always had the need to appear to be more brilliant than I was. I almost burned out multiple times during school because of my incessant drive to "fix it". To try to allay this weakness, I have been working on viewing things from a proper perspective so that I can be more accepting of myself.

Another weakness has been my lack of eloquent writing and grammar skills. Even taking as many language arts and English classes throughout the school years. I have always had a limited ability to write or write consistently. As an engineering major, I hid my writing skills quite easily as there just wasn't a focus or need to expand in that area. Math was always more important than my ability to compose passages. Although as time went on, my writing skills deteriorated as atrophy set in. Hence my ability to write technical papers also took a hit. It was only recently that I have decided to put a major effort into regaining these skills as now it is more important to me than ever before.

Finally, a third major weakness has been my inability to change certain beliefs or mindsets that I have maintained throughout my college years. As much as I taut and promote growth, there was a huge part of me that has/is constantly resistant to change. It was only when I moved to SF, that my rigorous beliefs were challenged. I have a certain way that I like to do things, as everyone does, and so I falsely believed that people would be the same in SF area as they were when I was at USC. This led me to just wait for people to come to me to hangout rather than me being the initiator. Meeting people is hard when you get into the working world and I was damned if I was going to change myself for others. Now, I have slowly adapted and am starting to branch out and do Meetup groups and other outreach activities. Although, I find this weakness still the most difficult to deal with.

My point is that we all have core weaknesses that we have to deal with in our lives. It can be incredibly difficult to call out and name your weaknesses, and even harder to try and change them. I can't say that I have conquered the mountain of my own weaknesses, I fear that it will take me the rest of my life to mitigate them. But the key is to learn from your own weaknesses and understand where it comes from and how you can work with it rather than ignore it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Decisions and more decisions

I often wondering what goes into a decision, whether it is driven by logic, emotion, or chance there always seems to be an element of uncertainty. We almost always don't know what will happen in the future. Some decisions are fairly simple but others are almost insanely difficult with out a lot of analysis.

One of the biggest decision that I have been thinking about is whether or not to move out of my apartment into a place that is cheaper to live. Rent in the area has gone up and my place has gone up by $25, which is extremely lucky compared to other apartments in the area. Although my ideal rent would be closer to about $300-400 less than what I am currently paying.

I have done some looking around the surrounding area for cheaper places, but they only can offer a discount of about ~$100 compared to what I am now paying for a single bedroom. They are also all a bit farther away and not in easily accessible locations or new freeways. Many apartments are farther away from shopping malls, supermarkets, and gyms.

So I had a relatively easy question but the answer was more complicated when I dug into the cost benefit analysis of relocation to a new place. One of the stickler was that it most certainly would have to be farther away then where I am now. So first I looked at the cost of gas and realized that by moving 10 miles out, I would almost double my gas bill per month. That means to break even I need to move out to a place that would save me ~$140 per month.

Another factor was the time I would spend in traffic each day, which it is currently at ~20 minutes (round trip), but at +10 miles it would closer to about an hour each day. For someone who has driven a lot in LA traffic I can say that I am not spending anymore of my life than I have to sitting bumper to bumper in traffic. I would lose 40 minutes a day for a total of 800 min or 13.4 hours a month, I don't know about you but I can spend that time doing something more productive.

There are more factors that can add in to make it a more balanced analysis but I can already tell that it won't be the massive savings that I was thinking of. I might be better off finding a suitable roommate then moving out of my place but that presents a whole new set of issues. For now I am partly content with my decision to stay at a slightly higher cost but that might be the case a year from now when my new lease is up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A nerdy post

I'd like to think that this blog is an extension of myself and what I think about on a daily basis. It is a bit weird that there are very few posts about how nerdy I can be. As someone would likely think, an engineer should have a lot of science related things on his/her blog and is more likely to talk about it as often as they can. Which leaves me in an interesting place, why isn't this blog more science related?

Well the main answer is that this blog is about personal growth and discovery. There are things that I find very fascinating that I share on this blog like mining asteroids in the future, but by in large I focus my writing on things that I am curious about outside of my field. As someone who makes a living thinking all the time, it is hard to turn that off once I get home, my mind just needs something else to focus on.

My curiosity for multiple subjects have left me unable to process all that information, its more of a jumbled mess that needs organizing, there is just too much to learn on the internet. So one way that has helped me learn about all this growth development has been to slow my thoughts and write it down. My musings on this blog are just my interpretation of what I have learned. I find that I learn best this way, hands on approach to doing things or learn by doing.  

So very little to no nerdiness after three paragraphs, that just won't do. So what is nerdy about me that I can share? Well, I wish Star Trek was back on television and not in this new J.Abrams style, it was better before. When I got an apartment the first thing I thought of was, did it have enough space for a workbench to do little science projects. I often play video games to pass the time and I wish for a 3rd monitor so I can have more immersion in my fantasy world.There is more nerd in me, but I will save that for next time.

Happy Pi day everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Stress free or free Stress?

Everyone has gone through those days where stress is at an all time high. It could be due to one big event or many small little things, whatever the reason is, I think the key to managing it is to keep things in perspective and disconnecting from the world a bit. If your like me then you get a severe case of tunnel vision, that keeps me from taking a step back and looking at something with a fresh approach.

Lately, I've have been feeling more stressed than usual, it is not due to any one thing but a lot of little things that I can't control. So I start to think about these things all the time and that distracts me from focusing on what is more important and immediate in my life. There things that just need time to work through and reflect on, if that time is not there for me then things get a little hectic and frayed. It also usually means that I am running on little sleep and overbooking myself with too much activities. I get so into what my life is doing that I can't sense the stress building up.

One way I combat stress is to disconnect from the world, I carve out some free time for myself and then do something like hiking or going to a cafe and reading for a whole day. It's a good way for me to ground my senses to something more basic and physical. Often I get so wrapped up in being a cog in the machine, going about my day finishing endless tasks, that I forget to be a human. With a focus on simpler activity I can unwind my mind a bit.

I think that is the source of all our modern day causes of stress, which is working in an unnatural environment. Our bodies were not meant for sitting in a chair for 8 hours or other types of work that is repetitive. We were given bodies to survive and thrive in a natural environment and as such we feel more relaxed and happy when we do go outdoors or camping. I think that after this week is over I'm going on a hike and get back to where I/we belong, in nature.

How do you cope with stress?

Monday, March 11, 2013

A five year plan

I recently realized that I didn't have a solid five year plan. I had a ten year plan, but it was very vague in going about it. I have a couple of goals that I would like to achieve but nothing that warrants creating a plan for that far into the future. I believe that it is impossible to know what circumstances will be a week from now let alone five years from now. I do think that I want to have a plan just for reference to see how much I changed. So here we go!

1. Have a successful blog with tons of viewers and followers ~100,000

2. Be good enough in singing so that I can join a choir or a band. Maybe start a youtube channel based on me singing covers.

3. Start a weekly or bi-weekly vlog on youtube, it will be based on my thoughts, musings, and perhaps some comedic routines.

4. Achieve mastery at my job, with enough information and knowledge to describe a satellite inside and out.

5. Have finished at least half of my novel that currently has 10 pages. My goal is to create a trilogy.

6. Be working a successful side-gig that allows me to tap into my creative spirits

7. Achieve a good knowledge of stocks and trading to profit from boom times.

8. Do at least one new thing every month

9. Be master of time and space

The last one will take more than 5 years, maybe 7 or 8. :)

So what will you be doing in five years?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Media Blitz

A while back I posted about wanting to be a media mogul. The reason that I want to be more in tuned with social media is because of its synergistic capabilities to expand my skills and ideas to others. In this hyper-connected world, we are all networked into the "system." There are so many people in the world now-a-days, that it is incredibly difficult to for people to get an idea of who you are.

I would like to believe that by being interconnected it serves a greater purpose by allowing people from anywhere to share ideas and expand on world views. Recently I have been or a personal marketing frenzy, promoting myself across many different platforms and networking sites. It started with the need to grow this blog at first, but then after a bit of researching, I found out the huge effectiveness a large social media presence can have on a person.

People that have a big social media presence (High Klout score) have the ability to receive perks and discounts. Essential businesses look at people with high scores and see them as walking advertisement, with their ability to twitter their likes or dislikes of a business. So it's in the best interest of the business to impress and reward them primarily on how many people they can influence.  

Now perks are great but for me, it is about the advantage I would gain in the specific industry that I am working in. As you all might know, engineers in general, are not too interested in growing or developing their social media presence. Most engineers think that its an irrelevant activity that has  very little benefits and rather focus on things that are important. I know this from personal experience as well as many of my college and work peers. It isn't a priority for most of us to gain followers and/or twitter random things. Even now, I have not tweeted things random things that I find curious or interesting. (maybe I should?)

So the advantage is that I have exponentially more exposure to the "world" than others that have little to no online presence at all. This can benefit me when it comes to marketability of my skills and documentation of what I have done in the past. It also allows people to gain a sense of who I am as a person as well as my work ethic. Anybody that sees my posts and their content can instantly form a opinion about me even before they even meet me. They know a bit more about me than another engineer that has no online presence, thus giving me the ability to tailor my message to the viewer. Now of course it comes with a caveat, things that you talk about must form a positive opinion, which is a lot harder to do.

There are just not enough ways to let people know who you are as a person these days. It is harder and harder to distinguish yourself from the rest, there is simply too much competition. The only way to stand out is to find a missing critical aspect and work that angle as much as you can. Social media is my way, but it is not for the faint of heart, creating a good unique brand for yourself is incredibly difficult and requires plenty of time and energy.

So what is your Klout score?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Does money makes people happy?

As I ponder this question out loud rather than silently looking up and holding a couple of fifties in my hand, I think that all depends on your frame of reference. There are many studies that have been done to try and conclusively prove that money makes you happy or makes you unhappy. It all really depends on how you frame the question and to whom you are asking the question to in the first place.

If you give people money when they're on the street and hunger and ask them if money makes them happy, then it is a no-brainier. This also applies to any person who suddenly has a windfall in cash, like winning the lottery or getting a raise, people take the money and are happy at least for a little while. Or you could have the opposite scenario, where someone who makes a lot of money but is unable to cope with the money and eventually lose it all, like some high profile ex-NBA players. Another example could be a person who is rich but going through problems in other areas of his life. One thing is for certain, money in itself is not the reason why people are happy or not it is always how they view it in life that determines it's "power." 

I think money is a curious thing, it is completely made up so that people don't have to fight each other for food all the time. Yet it gives us great power and comfort if we have a lot of it, but we can't do anything with it by itself, we must trade it away in order to gain something that makes us feel happy.

My views on money is just what I described, a means to an end. I want to live a life that is based on living a life as freely as possible, if that requires a lot of money then so be it. If it doesn't then great, I can relax and take my foot off the gas petal of life. :) Money is not my goal, rather it is the life I want to live. I think that most people get that confused and associate happiness with lots of money. The thinking is that if I have money then I will automatically be happy, which doesn't quite work, at least most of the time.

Does money make you happy?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Inspiration for life

One thing that constantly inspires me is the hope for a better tomorrow. I think that people do what they do because they believe deep down that there will be a better future for themselves and others. I mean what kind of world would we live in if we didn't believe in working towards something grander in life. Sometimes it is big goals such as getting rid of poverty or hunger, sometimes it is smaller like starting a blog.

This blog has become a conduit of inspiration in the last couple of months. I have spent countless hours thinking and crafting about what it will this blog will become. My hope is that in the next few years it will be one of my grandest achievements in the internet age, a personal collection of my thoughts recorded in cyberspace forever. I want to have a my life in little small moments such that when I am 90 years old, I can still see what I was like as a 25 year old just starting out in life. A historical literary file of all my thoughts, ramblings, and craziness over the course of a lifetime. The pictures that are posted will long be broken links but the words I suspect, will last throughout the ages.

I would like to write a least once a day now to try and make this a habit, although I believe I have to do it at least 21 days before it sticks or maybe not. Anyways, it is a lofty goal that I will be hard pressed to accomplish as it is really tough to overcome writers block on certain days. This blog will be a small but significant way for a better tomorrow in the next couple of years.

Inspire your way to a better tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Entitlement R US

I believe in hard work. One of the greatest things that I learned from my parents is that with enough hard work you can get anything you want. They always told me that if I worked hard enough that life would be easier. I grew up knowing that working would bring me closer to being financially free. So I did. Worked my ass off in school and focused on both hard and soft skills to bring me closer to my goals. I knew that nobody was going to help me and so I did it myself. So when I meet someone that does not want to work hard and expects the whole world to give them a handout, I naturally have issues with that.

There have been many clamoring that this is the entitlement generation, where all of the Gen Y'ers are all mooches and that we have been completely spoiled by their parents. I tend to agree with that statement on a whole. Of course there are exceptions to each rule and there are a couple of outstanding individuals, but from my experience people from my generation are not as hard working as they could be. I rarely if ever hear some say "I'll just work harder next time," they just drop whatever they are doing and move on to the next thing that excites them.

I think my peers just do not value work for what it truly is and that is to make life meaningful. It is viewed as nothing more than a way to make money to do other "funnier" things. I believe that if we are dedicating our time and energy into something like a degree, it might as well provide both some enjoyment for the career you are going into. I have a twisted view when it comes to working, I like it! I mean I really like what I am doing each day, I feel a great sense of doing something for the greater good of all. I help make satellites that provide TV, radio, and internet to all that pay a fee to their subscribers, how can that be bad? It is certainly better than building weapons and bombs.

The point is, I am frustrated at those who just don't care about the work and just want to coast by. It makes people like me feel invalided because all that hard work that went into getting where I am now, is not being taken seriously by others and that is not okay. It is a tremendous chip on my shoulder to go through life working for everything only to see others get handed things that is undeserving. I've seen it all my life and I am sick of it.

There is no master conclusion or ending theme. It just is.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life as a dream

 Most of my dreams have been very vivid and detailed as far back as when I was a teen. I could remember certain small details like time on a clock or even whole cities during a flying dream. I think at an early age I started to realize that my dreams were a path or conduit into a world that never existed, if not in my own mind. Dreams I believe, when properly understood can help one understand themselves better.

I have often tried to interpret my dreams by remembering as much about the dream after I had woken up. This proved  difficult and challenging as in a foggy sleep-like state, there were very few times that I wanted to put it down on paper, opting usually to go back to sleep. But when I did remember bits and pieces of the dream, I would look it up online to see what the different meanings were.

I go to this "dream dictionary" and basically type in what I saw and it would tell me what it could mean in my waking life. It compiles the different means from a few sources and tries to put it all in one place. Now obviously it is not an exact science and there are many ways to interpret things in a dream, but in my case, I have found common themes in most of my dreams.  I have had several dreams of flying through the clouds and traveling around high skyscrapers.

In the dream dictionary, it says that flying "signifies a sense of freedom where you had initially felt restricted and limited." I find that quite amazing since moving out of LA and starting a new job has given me a greater sense of freedom in my life. It could be that moving to a new city has had a freeing effect on my mind. That is one way I could interpret what I saw in my dreams. Another would be that given my recent increase in traveling frequency, I could be dreaming that I am the plane passing over cities.

Whatever the reasoning is, I find it interesting to try and decode what occurs when I go to sleep. I really want to figure out what it means to dream and why does it even happen. I can only surmise what others have thought, which is that dreams are a way our subconscious mind tries to communicate with the conscious one. 

Keep dreaming my friends...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saving for Tomorrow

Due to some recent events, I have decided to tighten my belt with my finances. In a previous post, I talked about budgeting and how you can use tools to plan your financial outlook. In this post I will talk specifically about why I want to start saving more and how I might go about it. There are 3 reasons why I have now made saving a priority.

The first reason for my version of austerity has been the increasing amount of traveling that I have been doing the past couple of months. My new job has given me an opportunity to go places that I didn't dream of going a year ago and as such I have been addicted to flying to more and more exotic places. Upon a closer look at how much I spent, airfare and travel expenses have revealed that I tend to be a bit careless especially on food. I really need to start saving more and budgeting for travel expenses in order to continue to travel without worrying about money.

Second reason that I am going on thrifty diet is that I want to save for a house someday. I talked before about the rising cost of living in Silicon Valley. I would have to save almost +100k in order to pay just a down payment on a house. With housing prices in the +500k, I don't think I will be buying a house anytime soon, but I do want to plan for it. It is really depressing to think about how much I would have to save for the chance to pay a mortgage, just a chance. Inventory for houses in this area are very low. People are overpaying for the ability to get their kids in a great school district and competition for houses has been quite fierce.

Lastly, my parents are currently in the process of buying a new car and they want me to help them with a down payment. I have been using their car for many years without paying them and now that I have a job, it is time for me to give back to them. It’s not a problem except that I didn't really plan it in my finances to give my parents this money. It will be tough to allocate monthly payments to them presently.

Some of the ways that I have been think about how to go about saving is to cut all unnecessary expenses. I recently stopped a magazine subscription that I had for 3 years to save about a $100 bucks a year. I was rarely reading these magazines that are just sitting on coffee table and I would get one every week, they would pile up and be stuck in a corner somewhere, forever. I am also looking into sticking with my planned budget for eating out. I have always had my limit for food expenses but I would routinely go over that amount, I have to be more disciplined at following my own budget.

As a work around to saving more, I could also focus on earning more. The reality is that one can only save so much before there is no more money to save. I have been actively trying to find a part-time job that can provide me with some on the side. So far it has been rough going as there are a lot of jobs that either doesn’t fit the time constraints or the experience necessary.

I will update you guys on my saving progress as well as new ventures that I am planning for the future. If you have any ideas on saving and budgeting, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Save well my friends…

Friday, March 1, 2013

Grow Fearless

I want to take risks head on, much like the kid up above. Being fearless is more than just conquering physical challenges, but mental challenges as well. I define fearless as having the ability to stay strong and on course when doubters and criticizers try to tear you down. It is a belief that above all else you stand apart from the rest and follow your own path.

I've had many occasions where I had to defend myself against the onslaught of people that would love to see me fail. They probe, question, and attack me for doing things differently from what "Normal" people do, whatever that means. Sometimes I feel as if people are just plain mean and hate everything that they don't understand. I try to see it from others point of view but it gets difficult when I tell people about what I do and they think that I'm bullsh*ting them. I always get a "yeah right look," when I tell people I sing and blog.

One of the worst thing to go through is when people do not take your passions seriously and dismiss it, whether you do it as a full time job or a side gig. To be fearless is to stare your opposers down and stand firm on your position and not give them a chance to fill you with self-doubt. I won't let others block me on my way to accomplish what I need to in life. I will blaze my own path and be fearless along the way.

Be Fearless.