Archive for » August, 2012 «

This is in reply to the ‘Why ‘follow your passion’ is bad advice’.

Dear Cal,

I recently noticed your site and your ideas stuck to me like a water lily leaf after summer jump in the pond.

I am not completely familiar with your work, but from what I have read so far, I’m getting the impression that there is something very gracious and primitive at the same time.

Let me explain.

There is nothing wrong with gracious, nor with primitive: both are merely a representation of the current state of our mentality as individuals and as a group, and there is nothing better to do than to start looking for ways of improving.

‘Job’ is a funny word. It defines (for most people) the boundaries of survival or in some cases even the comfort of living. And as an addition to the word ‘job’, we are taught to think that there is always the opposite: play, relaxation, fun, whatever we want to call it.

You see how this is flawed, right?

I grew up in Eastern Europe, and as flawed as the environment there was/is, I must say that it taught me a great deal about perception angles and considerations. Later on this Eastern European context helped me to better appreciate the western world and its quirks.

The fact that we were taught since birth that ‘there is time for work and there is time for play’ did not really help to develop myself as a great professional as fast as I could. The distinction itself is flawed, and by basic instincts we consider one as fun/pleasant/desired and the other as not-so-much-fun/pleasant/desired. (the choice is left to us, so this is how we mostly end up with having either suicidal workaholics or with bummed-out lazy people; the only thing in common is their lack of imagination, of course, in either case )

My personal solution at the time (my school years) was to say ‘yep, there is time for questioning’. And I refused to go by the classification ‘either work or play’.

I was questioning teachers, parents, and everything that was to be questioned: even my toys were questioned by being disassembled and assembled again. :) (Some teachers preferred me to be exempt than for them to be questioned, which freed plenty of time for me anyway, which I filled with what I considered fun at the time – reading books, talking to strangers and of course, drinking coffee at the age of 14.)

Once again: the distinction of work vs. play is flawed, because it immediately alters our attitude towards one vs. the other.

And this is how we get into trivial problems like ‘why do I not like my job’, ‘where is my motivation’, ‘am I or am I not the best at my work’ and so on.

Nowadays I do not consider my work as a job. Yes, I am on a payroll at one of the biggest companies in the country, and yes, I do consider myself successful, but I do not see it as a job. I see it more like something that it would be a pity if I didn’t do.

I wake up in the morning and I realize that I have 18 hours to go, which I fill in with interesting things: ideas which I want to implement, self-improvement, broadening the horizons and so on. Again, I do not see it as a job, I see it as a play and endless set of opportunities to get satisfaction by improving at anything I do.

See, I did have a JOB when I was in college; I was working at a coffee shop and there was nothing exciting about it. From my point of view that was JUST a JOB, no prospects and just a necessity in order to survive. And despite the overabundance of free bagels, I knew that I can do better and that I can find a way to NOT FEEL LIKE I AM WORKING.

What I am suggesting is, that  instead of looking into ways to like our job, or even to get along with it, we should reconsider the entire work philosophy.

I am not saying it is easy, or even possible. In the current state of the development of the humanity (and the current state of the economical rules) there is a severe need of someone somewhere doing their menial work in order for us to get our coffee and a bagel in the morning.

I am just saying that it is about time to stop distinguishing actively between work and not-work.

Hence, the question of ‘following or not following passions and how exactly to do it’ will be deemed unnecessary as soon as we stop making the distinction between work and fun.

 

I am on the opinion that your writings (as far as I am familiar with them) are, at best, just a representation of the current primitive state of perceiving the surrounding world, and not really suggesting any long term solutions.

Correct me if I am wrong.

I just think that we should not aim at ‘loving what we do for a living’, but instead we should go a step further and ‘love the way we are living’, otherwise it just feels like a lot of hard work. Which, on it’s turn, leads to disappointments if it does not pay off eventually.

Think about it.

Once again, please do not take this as an attack towards your work, nor as a personal attack towards yourself. I am sure that someone somewhere is really glad about finding your work useful.

All I am suggesting is that, in my very humble opinion, we need to change an entire perception in order to be more successful as individuals and as a society.

Good luck with that.

If you have comments, send me a message from here.

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It has been a few days already since we changed the look of the toilet – now it is uplifted to the level of the Mediterranean.

I realized that in the past few days the following has changed:

  • I am much calmer
  • I am more efficient at work by 2%
  • I smile more
  • I feel like I have more positive attitude
  • I respect more what I eat

I did not even guess that a simple change as buying a new toilet seat can make such a difference.

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In general people have the perception that the wind has a direction and speed, and that it is a simple one-sided occurrence.

Imagine, though, the idea that when ‘there is no wind’, there actually is wind which is equally strong from all directions. And this is why it feel like there is no wind.

And when there is wind from South, let’s say, then there is actually a weaker wind from North, which makes us have the feeling that the wind is coming from South.

How is this for a perception?

 

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A day in the city, nice weather and some zoomed pics.

Here are some people close to the water – no idea what this sport is called. Board balancing, maybe.

And here is what could be in the water.

Some random picture of people walking… all of them seemed preoccupied with their thoughts… or concerned about something.

And some people running.

And some oranges.

And some people from the 80’s.

And then some people from the 90’s.

And a helicopter, monitoring the race.

And the race itself – don’t really know what is at stake, but the racers seem unhappy. Or maybe they are happy, just not very good at showing it. :)

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Yesterday we bought a new toilet seat, and I shared some thoughts about it here.

Today it is already installed and tested – it works!

Now it seems the toilet is like the Mediterranean – it has the clear blue waters, the sand and the shells…

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I have always considered my connection to nature as something sacred and as vital as the morning coffee.

After all, I do take a lot from Nature, and I have to give most of it back.

The process of giving back stinks (some times more than others, of course, depending on what and how much I have taken), but on the other hand, the fact that I am contributing something fills me up with great joy, most of the time.

It is like a ritual. It has it’s stated but unwritten laws which have to be obeyed. It can be even considered as a ceremony of worship.

Today we got a new doorway to the greatness of nature. Have not tested it yet, but it will happen soon.

Here are some pictures of it:

Sometimes I wonder, though: wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow use our own contribution to nature as a source of energy? It would be cool to just take whatever there is every morning and somehow use it to fuel our vehicles which take us to work.

I think this would radically change our perception of energy and ecology. :)

 

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I think I won another battle yesterday.

To be honest, I have had beef with the drying machine since we ever got it.

We did not choose is, it was in the apartment when we moved in. It turned out that logically, the builders chose the cheapest appliances they could get on the market. And why would not they.

The machine is an Electrolux, some crappy model EDC47100. Very basic at that.

But what is noticeable is the poor design.

The first very annoying thing was the beeping sound it made when the drying was done. It would rotate the clothes every 15 seconds for a few hours and with every rotation it would make some prolonged beeping sound.

Quite annoying. One day, as I was reading something and relaxing, I heard the beeping sound and went to the closet, took the tools, opened the machine and ripped off the speaker it had.

Not a beeping sound since then.

Yesterday I noticed that the clothes were not getting dried properly and decided to open the machine and see what’s going on.

Of course, I got another confirmation that the price really defines to a certain extent the innovation and the quality of ideas implemented in the appliance.

Long story short, the design itself had caused the machine to work worse. There is a very tiny valve which is just sitting there waiting to clog with lint, just because some lazy designer didn’t sleep well, or didn’t have enough fiber in their diet.

I guess, the bottom line is, that you get what you pay for.

The previous drying machine we had did not cause any problems for years.

Well, I guess, there is a real reason why this machine costs less than half the price of an average reputable brand drying machine.

Here is the crappy design, presented by the valve which gets pushed out by the water container and it has such narrow path that it gets clogged by the lint.

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It seems like piano interpretation can be defined as ‘set of musical assets that one feels as important’.

After all, the only way to distinguish one pianist from another is by the volume of importance each one puts into each expression used.

What I usually do is, I break down the piece by phrases, then I define the connection between the phrases, and then I practice the different expressions in different ‘colors’.

Later on, when I play the entire piece, I get to chose at the moment of playing which color I will use.

Note to self: practice a lot and retain only the colors you like. :)

 

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Playing piano is great. But quite hard.

The biggest problem is that even if you have some feel for music, if you hear it in your head how it should sound, it take a lot of effort to get the music out of there.

It takes technique, it takes persistence, and the worst part is that the results are not as quickly emerging so they can be too encouraging.

But it takes persistence. Here is how it works, at least for me: I know beforehand that I will not get any obvious achievement the same day. And I am OK with that. However, I still practice the exercises slowly and with precision. The next day, I practice the same exercise and then I add some twist to it (different dynamics, rhythms, accents, but nothing too fancy). This way the brain does not get bored, and the fingers gain confidence. On the third day, it just turns out that I can actually play the same exercise with 10 bpm faster and just as precise, without even thinking about it too much.

I read somewhere the following quote: “You do not have to practice every day. Only on the days you eat. ”

 

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