Tag Archive: life


For the last two weeks, I have tackled issues, and I’m still tackling new ones.

(Have a look at my past posts to know what I’m writing about).

Needless to say: it is exhausting.

I always find myself awake at 4:30 am, super energetic (it is usually my energy peak) , and I hate wasting energy.

So, I grab my iPad and read books nobody will. at least I think so.  Would you be interested in reading a book called “Inside Apple“? Unless your are a fanboi computer geek which is interested in HR and temperaments/personalities and their pros and cons, I bet you wouldn’t.

Not a safe bet.

My health has never been great, and I don’t want it to deteriorate.

There are a few tricks that I do before giving in (and I gave in once in my life: I had a lung infection and spent a few days in the coma. OK, I digress, but bear that in mind)!

Taking a shower after having triggered my mind with an insanely intricate computer science lecture, or an inspiring TED talk, is what I usually do.

Solutions and ideas appear when you least expect them. It is common sense.

The next Joe would say the same, but I’m not the next Joe.

When you let purposely your mind wander, it will certainly bring you where it wouldn’t if you were hyper-active and focused obsessed.

My weapon of choice is a simple shower, or a bath.

I soak my hands in warm water before playing keyboards or cello. Any tension disappears, and I can warm-up, then play confidently knowing that I prepared myself.

See… This is a borrowed parallel paradigm (a term I coined a few blog posts ago and didn’t use in a blog post)!

I use a “model” totally unrelated to the task at hand to solve it. I transpose it (sorry for the musical pun).

Well, it’s time for a new TED talk and to catch up on my Stanford lectures (I have a strong disgust for the C language, and we are comparing Objective-C and ANSI C. I want to move on to the next step, yet I know that my teacher is doing what we’ll need ten lectures later).

Oh, one last thing: nothing beats a cup of Yunnan tea.

One more thing: this is the post where my 666th tag will appear. I’m an unabashed metal freak, but in no way Satanist. I just find that ending my post with something less serious could release some tension!

Which are your strategies to kick out stress and burn-outs from tearing you apart?

Do you let your mind wander to find solutions, or do you keep working until you run out of gas?

 

 

 

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Everything that goes through any of our senses is stored in our memory as a mental picture.

It uses our occipital cortex. So, don’t scratch the top of your head if you can’t recall. It happens behind your head!

Just google “visual memory” and countless search pages will show up with miracle recipes on how to improve it.

This is totally uninteresting to me. However, I often take a quick look at all those self-help things, then discard 99% of them.

What is interesting is how our brain works, and thorough studies, serious stuff won’t appear on the first search page. Go further.

I find it fascinating that our memory transforms everything into a mental image. Vivid, exaggerated, lurid, hilarious… Unexpected ways are to be expected!

One of the most important aspects of it, is that if you aren’t actively participating in memorizing, your “file” (memory) will be lost somewhere into some random place you can’t easily recall, or can’t recall at all. Unlike computers, we have no indexing and search option available to find where our file is.

Actively participating means “abstracting” the (usually) boring stuff. You’ll need to find ways to get mnemotechnic in remembering things. It will take some time and practice, but it is worth the sweat!

If you just absorb, you are not memorizing. You are listening, watching, smelling… but not memorizing.

When memorizing, don’t lay on a couch and repeat ad nauseam the same thing, hoping it will get into your memory. You have to add emotion to it to work properly.
Being on a couch is not what I call an emotional trigger (unless you get laid, but that’s another story).

Stand up. Read aloud. Repeat each syllable many times. Let the music come.

Don’t worry, your music will anyway be associated with a mental image. Not a mere image, but a mental one. Those are discrete things!

I hope that by now, you start figuring out why I called this post “our memory is a GUI”. Yes, it is a graphical user interface. Touch this icon / click on it, and it will react.
An icon is an object which has properties. Exactly like our memory.

I am still studying this overlooked aspect of our memorizing process, so expect an update or another post as soon as I have new and relevant content.

Meanwhile, know that nobody has a bad memory. If you want to have a really hard time remembering faces, events, sounds, etc, keep saying to yourself that your memory is poor, or bad, or that you suck.

I encourage you to do your own search. I want us to discuss and debate around this topic.

Well. I’m going to find ways to memorize five high-level programming languages. I’ll focus primarily on Objective-C.

The meaning, the syntax, the words or signs used all have some potential for visual memorizing. What can I do with @synthesize ? Split it into syllables and repeat them until I find a way to relate what is on my screen to what it means. Make music out of it (“synth” could already be “synthesizer”. Or maybe should I try to merge “sin”, “in”, “the”, “size and visualize a huge cock)?

I told you that the more exaggerated, gory or porn, the better and easier to remember. Summarize it into a vivid mental image (not an image like a photo) and link it to its meaning (meanings aren’t obvious in programming). That is why Stanford has a “programming abstractions” course, in my opinion.

Again, don’t merely absorb, but stand up (to stay alert) and actively participate in memorizing.

In those big “memory contests”, they give you energizing beverages. It is not a coincidence, is it?

 

Long due update!

Well, here I am again.

Eventually, I managed to gain traction and some powerful momentum in arenas I thought beyond dead and deeply buried.

I can’t tell you more about my endeavours, my soul searching and psyche wrecking. Sorry.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I agree. Now can you tell me how much pictures is a song worth?

How much pictures is a symphony worth?

We’re all so similar in our differences. No matter what you think about music and pictures, I know we’re thinking the same. We’re asking ourselves.

I really wish I can share my newly acquired knowledge, understanding and above everything, “self-acceptance”. Not now.

I admit that I’m a bit reluctant to give for free what I hardly earned.

Usually, I’m more than happy to share, but now is too early. Things are just getting started again, and I know that the more I’ll talk about it all, the more I’ll keep telling and give up on doing.

Time to do what matters.

I have found a way to make use of Seth Godin’s sound advice. That’s a huge step forward.

I’ll do my best to update this blog with digestible and compelling content, useful food for thought and other usual musings.

However, don’t expect any 2011-like blogging with pledges and topics borrowed from WP’s Daily Post.

Right now, I’m going to sleep. A simple thing, a necessary thing.

I’m just happy to still be there. Grateful, too.

Where do you find strength?

Where do you find strength?.

In the depths that I created.

In vain, echoes fade.

I have absolutely no idea about where and how I find strength.

Wait. This question is vague.
Which strength?

There is no such thing as one and universal strength embodying all aspects of life, and by extension, being a resource shared by all human beings.

Or is it?

For the time being, I can tell you that any kind of strength I use is… A dream. An illusion. A will and determination that lives more and more as I vanish into sleep, induced by the noise of life’s mysteries.

Would you rather…

Would you rather….

No amount of money could afford absolute power, health, knowledge, love, and countless other coveted things.

However, 50 years more living and doing my own thing (that is, learning and loving) seems great, comparing to bucks.

Bucks… It’s insane to cut trees to make such kind of paper.

That’s all for tonight. I just wanted to write, uh, something. You know I love writing, yeah?

Clenching The Fists Of Dissent

I took two short naps today. In each one, I was witnessing and living my own life, and I had absolute power over what happens in the dream.

This is not uncommon to me, and not uncommon in general. Lucid dreams have been around for as long as we have a neocortex…

What’s special about those repeated dreams of mine, is that it seems to be that two forces are fighting against each other until Death.

Today, it was the daily grind and the mighty boredom who were on the checkered board. In fact, it was me.

Yet I was also sitting at the table, behind the board, and I grabbed two handfuls of events, clenched my fists until blood poured from my hands.

Then I woke up…

Nothing had changed.
Nothing but… what is about to change.

In my previous post, I ranted about talkers. I told we don’t need them.

We need things to be done. We need doers.

So, why am I still typing?

Explain your strategy for life (here’s mine)

Explain your strategy for life.

Ha?

Hahahaha!

Look at THIS:

20111201-192804.jpg

Write about the one that got away

Write about the one that got away.

My first and only thought is for Steven Paul Jobs.

I know it isn’t original, and I really don’t care about being original right now.

He left us, yet not enough to be considered as leaving us. Apple is his baby and a pretty damn huge legacy.

Here’s my favourite quote from Steve:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards?

The ultimate answer to this lies in Steve Jobs speech at Stanford in 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Topic #273: Do we live life forwards, but examine it backwards? This is something the philosopher Kierkegaard pointed out long ago. Do you agree? If you do, isn’t this odd? It seems we’re likely to make many mistakes in basing our future, which is forward thinking, entirely on the past, which is looking backwards. … Read More

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Should everything be done in moderation?

As far as I’m concerned, I think that commitment doesn’t mean sacrifice or burnout, so moderation could be used if you want to stay active long-term. If you’re having a burning desire and kick ass (because you put time and effort enough in your calling), moderate yourself moderately.
Now about life and time… Consider health. That is where moderation matters most. I used to spend 16 hours per day with my computer. I now spend 20 minutes a day with it and I focus on what matters truly. I’m far more productive, even after such a dramatic cut in my computer time.
My take is that there are planes of moderation, and they all depend on your lifestyle, on a contextual scheme.

Topic #267: They say “do everything in moderation” when it comes to decisions about how to spend your time and your life – do you agree? Or are there some things that should be done at the extremes, or perhaps that are truly are all or nothing propositions? … Read More

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